Canada's Net Result
Patrick Roy sidled up to Martin Brodeur at Canada's first practice in Nagano last week and asked his fellow goaltender to offer suggestions about how to play angles or when to come out to handle the puck behind the net on the international ice surface, which is 15 feet wider than NHL links. "I told him don't be afraid to share," Roy says. "He's played international hockey. I'm the rookie here."
Canada coach Marc Crawford, who's also Roy's coach on the Avalanche, said he will play Roy in every Olympic game unless disaster strikes. "In this tournament you have to have a Number 1 guy," Crawford says. True. But in choosing Roy over the Devils' Brodeur, Crawford left no doubt he was looking out for number 1: He and Roy have to coexist in Denver long after the Olympics. Roy is a high-maintenance goalie whose disposition is ill-suited to being a backup, hi contrast Brodeur is an easygoing guy who has idolized Roy since meeting him as a teenager. "Hey, I can get mad too," Brodeur says with a smile. "Of course I wish I could be the guy, but Patrick's the man now, and he deserves to be. He's been the best goalie in the NHL for a long time."
Czech Republic and Sabres goalie Dominik Hasek might demur, and Brodeur, who leads the NHL in goals-against average this season, has his backers- Sweden's Mats Sundin, who plays with the Maple Leafs, said last week he was surprised Roy was playing ahead of Brodeur—but Roy was an excellent choice. He has won three Stanley Cups, and he usually plays his best in the biggest games. (See: 10 straight overtime wins in the 1993 playoffs.) He's also charismatic, one of the rare goalies who is a team leader. As Crawford said in explaining his choice of Roy to No. 3 goalie Curtis Joseph, "It's Patrick's time."
The High Five In a Pinch
Six or seven months ago U.S. forward Tony Amonte began composing his list of the American players he would like to see in an Olympic shoot-out: Doug Weight, Brett Hull, Mike Modano, Brian Leetch and John LeClair. No Amonte? "No, I'm 0 for 2 in penalty shots, and I missed one just before I came over," the Blackhawks' Amonte said. "You know, I've been having dreams about this stuff."
In the single-elimination round, which was to begin on Wednesday, games that are tied after regulation go to a 10-minute sudden death overtime period (20 minutes in the gold medal game) and then, if necessary, to a shoot-out, in which the teams alternate in taking five penalty shots each. Sweden won the 1994 gold medal in a shoot-out when Peter Forsberg scored on an audacious move he had seen Sweden's Kent Nilsson use in the 1989 world championships. Forsberg almost went past the net before one-handing a shot past Canadian goalie Corey Hirsch. The Swedes promptly commemorated the goal with a postage stamp.
Last week U.S. coach Ron Wilson said he had drawn up a top 10 list from which he will choose his five shooters but wasn't tipping his hand. "I'm not going to give a goaltender on another team more time to prepare," he said. "I hear Patrick Roy's a real student of the game, and I don't want to give him any advantage."
The Canadians planned to rely on input from goalies Roy, Martin Brodeur and Curtis Joseph to pick their shooters. "They face our guys all the time," assistant coach Andy Murray said. "They would probably know better than anyone who's the toughest to handle on breakaways." Canada's Theo Fleury, who's 3 for 3 on penalty shots during his NHL career, has been lobbying for a spot. "I want it," he says. "Absolutely. I want to be the fifth guy. I want that pressure."
Said Russian general manager Alexei Kasatonov, "We may have a [list], but then in the tournament great players have a scorer's walk. They move like, Oh, I'm going to score. That player will be in the shoot-out for us."