HELSINKI, FINLAND - It was the 1986 World Cup when France coach Henri Michel was asked about having the USSR and Canada in the same pool.
"I'd be worried if it was hockey," said the soccer coach.
The coach of France here Monday was Winnipeg native David Henderson. And it was hockey.
He watched Canada take a 4-0 first period lead and then cruise to a 7-2 win over France in a world hockey championship game before a crowd of only 2,314 fans.
Henderson did get to see his son, Brian, score a goal against Canada and Alexandre Rouleau, a native of Mont-Laurier, Que., who won a silver medal for Canada at the 2003 world junior in Halifax, get the other.
He also had a good location, although there were plenty of good seats available with a crowd of only 2,314 willing to pay five times more than a Finnish league ticket price to get a good look at 19-year-old Ryan Nugent-Hopkins going against 39-year-old netminder Fabrice L'Henry.
Calder Trophy rookie of the year candidate Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, playing on a new line and on the right wing to get him away from face-off responsibilities, had a two-goal, one-assist game, failing to score on a breakaway in the third period to get his hat trick.
"It was kind of weird to see him on another line," said Jordan Eberle, his Edmonton Oilers teammate.
"But he buried a couple from the slot," added Eberle, who scored his second goal of the tournament in a game that saw Jamie Benn also score two, and Corey Perry and Patrick Sharp get the others.
Sharp had five points on the day, playing on the same line as Nugent-Hopkins.
"It's always nice to get a few like that," said the Chicago Blackhawk. "It gets your confidence in the tournament."
That was certainly the truth for The Nuge, or Hoppy as coach Brent Sutter calls him from his Red Deer Rebel days.
"It was a good game for confidence because I hadn't been playing my best. It turned out to be a pretty big transition for me, coming overseas. I didn't want to get down on myself early in the tournament.
"It was a fun game," said RNH, who potted the first goal of the game at 1:59 of the opening period before setting up Sharp and giving Canada a 2-0 lead midway through the first frame.
He said getting a hat trick would have made it even more enjoyable.
"I just had it on the backhand and didn't get it up," said Nugent-Hopkins of his third-period breakaway.
But as was the case against the Americas Saturday night, RNH created a turnover that cost a goal.
The giveaway in front of the net cost Devan Dubnyk the shutout late in the first period, with Henderson pouncing on the puck.
"That's all right, he made it two for one on the night," said Dubnyk. "Should have been three."
The Oilers No. 1 netminder said he was happy with his first full game at the world hockey championships after playing only 13 minutes, also against France, last year.
"It was good to get into a game and move around," he said.
"That team works hard. They work really hard. It was good for a big guy like me to have had that game in Switzerland and now this one to get the angles down on the big ice over here," said the backup to Cam Ward at this tournament, who faced 19 shots in the game.
France, 6-3 winners over Kazakhstan the night before to take some early pressure off the possibility of being relegated, had earlier lost 7-2 to the United States with ex-Montreal Canadiens netminder Christobal Huet in goal.
French goaltender L'Henry faced 37 shots.
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