Moving Iginla to first line good call

By CHRIS STEVENSON, QMI Agency

VANCOUVER — One game into the Olympic hockey tournament and Team Canada coach Mike Babcock’s first move was a winner.

Babcock shuffled his lines, replacing Patrice Bergeron on a line with Sidney Crosby and Rick Nash with veteran warhorse Jarome Iginla.

The result?

A two-goal night for Iginla (he scored a third, too, but it was credited to Nash) in Canada’s 8-0 win over Norway in Canada’s first game.

“We need him to be a physical presence for us. We need him to be hard to play against,” said Babcock of Iginla. “He doesn’t have to score to help us, but when he does …”

Iginla relished the chance to play with Crosby.

“Every pass is in your wheelhouse, the sauces land,” said Iginla, who found the puck right on his stick for a powerplay goal at 2:30 of the second to get Canada rolling. “He’s a very dynamic player. The first goal he put it right in there. One fake and he gives you a wide open shot and Nash was right in front. He takes so much attention. He can shoot. He can do it all. He does it all.”

Crosby said the players are prepared to play with whoever is going over the boards.

“I don’t think it really matters what the combinations are, out there it’s a matter of creating things and I thought everyone did that better and better as the game went on,” he said.

“It’s part of playing for Team Canada,” said Iginla. “You’re excited whatever the line combinations are and you have to be ready for whatever role you’re asked (to play), whether it’s energy line, P.K., the powerplay...it’s part of it. I imagine they’ll change a lot throughout the tournament, too.”

chris.stevenson@sunmedia.ca

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