Hosts bring Heat

TERRY JONES, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 2:48 PM ET

HALIFAX -- Maybe it was because because none of them had read the freshly printed Team Canada media guide.

Or maybe it's because you forget this sort of stuff from year to year.

But somebody in the Team Canada booth had to call down to inform them to send Jay Bouwmeester out to collect the puck for Dany Heatley.

It was Heatley's second goal of a three-goal game to lead Canada to a tough enough 5-1 win over Slovenia to open the IIHF World Hockey Championship.

The goals were his 21st, 22nd and 23rd for Canada at the World Hockey Championship, passing Marcel Dionne, who had 21.

Heatley said while he wasn't thinking about it at the time, it's a good record to have and that it means something to him.

"I think it's something that's a result of always having had fun here," said Heatley.

"That's the key for me. I really enjoy the world championship because it's a chance to get to know different guys and play with different guys."

With four points in the game, Heatley now has 36 in his career (in 35 games), only three fewer than Team Canada G.M. Steve Yzerman, who leads that category.

Heatley drew his assist on Canada's opening goal by Dan Hamhuis. Martin St. Louis scored the other Canadian goal, with Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings, the only Slovenian in the NHL, replying on a 5-on-3 situation.

"If we keep playing like this, we're going to get a lot of chances," said Heatley, who failed to score a goal, managed only one assist and was a minus five in the Senators embarrassingly early exit in the playoffs.

"We could have had 10 goals."

Canada poured 65 shots on Slovenian goaltender Robert Kristan, who was the bigger hero of the game in the eyes of most.

"I see here it says Canada had 65 shots," said Slovenia coach Mats Waltin as he looked at the scoresheet.

"I thought it was 95.

"He's a very good goalie. I hope he will find a team somewhere else. He really deserves that."

For his own part, the new hockey hero said he'd never faced so much rubber in his life.

"It's a lot," he said. "That's the first time I'd seen that many shots. It was like a practice. I showed I can play at a high level, too."

Canada only managed to manufacture a 1-0 first-period lead on the country which only has 100 adult hockey players.

"We tried to pass too much in the first period," said Canadian coach Ken Hitchcock. "I think we have so many players who respect each other so much, they overdo it trying to give somebody else the goal."

"We asked them to change after the first period."

Heatley certainly bought in. He led Canada in shots with eight.

"The thing that really impresses me about Dany now is that he really uses his quickness in small spaces," said Hitchcock. "He's improved a lot since the 2006 Olympics and the 2004 World Cup."

There was a wild atmosphere in Halifax on the first day of the first ever world championship to be played on Canadian soil.

Drums pounded, beer was swilled by the bucketful and the wild and crazy guys of international hockey worked their over-refreshed charm.

Fans wearing Team Canada sweaters mingled, drank and sang with Latvians, Germans, Slovenians and others as the championship opened under grey skies and misting drizzle.

"It's just amazing the people you see," said Greg Currie, a Halifax resident who brought his son to the game.

"The first time here in Canada is just huge. Huge for the country and huge for us fans."


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