March 1, 2010
Canadian Leafs happy with gold
By TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency
A part of Dion Phaneuf couldn't help but think of what might have been when Sidney Crosby scored one of the biggest goals in Canadian history on Sunday afternoon.
Phaneuf and Maple Leafs teammate Francois Beauchemin were at Canada's Olympic orientation camp last summer, but, of course, neither was in the plans of Hockey Canada when it announced the roster for the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver.
"I was very disappointed not being on that team, but saying that, you move forward," Phaneuf said after practice on Monday at the MasterCard Centre.
"It was good to see Canada come out on top. (But) the break has been long enough and it will be exciting to get out there again (Tuesday night at the Air Canada Centre against the Carolina Hurricanes)."
Phaneuf and other Canadian-born Leafs were as happy as any other hockey-loving Canadian when Crosby beat U.S. goalie Ryan Miller in overtime of the gold-medal game, a goal that gave Canada 14 golds, the most in the history of the Winter Olympics for one country.
"It's great to see we are back on top," Leafs defenceman Luke Schenn said. "(Fourteen golds) is unbelievable. It makes you proud to be a Canadian. Every person came together in Canada and supported the athletes, and topping it off with hockey, there is no better way to end it."
None of the Leafs involved with the American team -- general manager Brian Burke, coach Ron Wilson and forward Phil Kessel -- were at practice, as all are scheduled to arrive from Vancouver on Monday night.
Leafs forward Christian Hanson, who was born in New York, said the loss by his countrymen wasn't as large a disappointment as some might think.
"Going in, a lot of people did not even think they were going to medal," Hanson said. "So to have those guys go all the way to overtime against the gold medal favourite was pretty spectacular.
"Hockey is continuing to grow in the U.S. and the Olympics is the biggest stage for any sport. The performance they had, on the biggest stage in the world, means something."