For puck heads, tomorrow is D-day. Decision day and dissension day. With the naming of the men’s Olympic rosters for the majority of the nations, the hockey world’s headlines will trumpeting stories on not only who made the cuts, but who didn’t. Particularly in Canada. And that’s part of the package that makes this process so compelling: the passion runs core-deep. So, in advance of the controversies and arguments about to ensue in the Great White North, we thought we’d get you started with an appetizer. Here are the top five goals in Canadian international hockey history, as selected by The Hockey News following Sidney Crosby’s gold-medal winner in Vancouver. Start the arguments…now.
1. The Golden Goal. Feb. 28, 2010. With a home-ice gold medal on the line at the Vancouver Olympics and an unprecedented number of Canadians tuned in, Sidney Crosby took a pass from Jarome Iginla and quickly slid the puck past a surprised Ryan Miller, sending the entire nation into instant party mode. While it may not have been a Picasso in terms of artistry, it grabs the No. 1 spot based on drama set against the sheer pressure of the situation.
2. Henderson Scores For Canada. Sept. 28, 1972. The Summit Series was cloaked in Cold War intrigue, a political land mine that had a nation on tenterhooks. After falling behind early to the Soviets, Canada clawed its way back in the eight-game showdown and Paul Henderson’s third consecutive game-winner sealed the comeback. And once again, Canada could breathe.
3. Lemieux from Gretzky. Sept. 15, 1987. One of the last major Soviet-Canada tilts, the teams met again in the Canada Cup final. With the series tied at one game apiece, Mario Lemieux took a feed on the rush from Wayne Gretzky and roofed the winner. It was the game’s two greatest talents, maybe of all-time, clicking to create a once-in-a-lifetime moment.
4. Sittler in Overtime. Sept. 15, 1976. In the decisive second game of the best-of-three Canada Cup, Darryl Sittler streaked down the left side of the ice in overtime an drew Czechoslovakian goaltender Vladimir Dzurilla far out of the crease with a fake shot. The Maple Leafs captain then slid the puck into an open net and helped cement his Hall-of-Fame legacy.
5. Between the Wickets. Feb. 24, 2002. Carrying a 50-year gold medal drought, the Canadians met Team USA in the final at the Salt Lake City Olympics. Canada’s first goal came on a Chris Pronger pass that Mario Lemieux let slide between his legs to an open Paul Kariya. Kariya deposited the puck past Mike Richter and helped propel Canada to ultimate glory.