Bergeron on Cloud 9

By CHRIS STEVENSON, QMI Agency


Coach Mike Babcock speaks to Team Canada during practice at GM Place in Vancouver, B.C., on Monday, Feb. 15, 2010. (ANDRE FORGET/QMI AGENCY)


VANCOUVER — Patrice Bergeron, a guy who wasn’t invited to Team Canada’s orientation camp in August, got to the rink Monday and got a nice surprise.

He’s playing right wing on a line Tuesday with Sidney Crosby and Rick Nash.

From being on the outside to finding a spot on Canada’s top line as they open the Olympic tournament today against Norway (4:30 p.m. PST), Bergeron felt like like one of the luckiest guys in the world.

“For sure,” said the Boston Bruins forward, “(Crosby)’s such a great player and Rick Nash is an unbelievable player, as well. The two of them, having a chance to play with them is a real honour. I’m just trying to go out there and not get too nervous about playing with them.

“It seems like we find each other on the ice and seems like the chemistry has been pretty good from the get-go.”

Crosby and Bergeron played together at the 2005 world junior tournament with great success — Bergeron was in the middle then and Crosby on the left side — and at the world championships.

“Me and Berg have played together a couple of times now. Hopefully the familiarity there is going to help to adjust quicker,” said Crosby. “Nash and I played together in the summer camp and he’s a pretty straight forward guy to play with, he’s got a lot of speed and tries to use it to the outside. It shouldn’t be too hard to figure everything out.”

Team Canada coach Mike Babcock will start Robert Luongo in goal Tuesday and come back with Martin Brodeur Thursday when Canada plays Switzerland in its second of three games in the preliminary round.

Crosby said Team Canada will epitomize what Canadians have come to love about the game.

“A lot of speed and a lot of physical play, the Canadian brand we all know,” he said. “A brand I think a lot of the players on our team have played and been successful with. That’s the reason we’re all together, a fast, physical game, that’s what we want to play.”

You can expect to see the lines in Monday’s practice for the start of Tuesday’s game at least.

While defenceman Drew Doughty looked like the odd-man out Monday, Babcock said he didn’t consider the dynamic young blueliner from the Los Angeles Kings a seventh-defenceman. Nobody is going to get the minutes they enjoy with their club teams, but all the skaters will get a shot.

chris.stevenson@sunmedia.ca

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