It can’t be easy to take the goaltender that won a gold medal for your country just four years prior and tell him to watch the majority of the Olympics from the bench, but that’s what Canada head coach Mike Babcock did to Roberto Luongo. He made Carey Price the nation’s starter instead and Price never gave him a reason to question that call.
Price allowed just three goals in five Olympic games to be named the tournament’s best goaltender. He certainly played a big role in Canada repeating as gold medalists, but he knows that he didn’t do it alone.
“That was the hardest-working team I’ve ever seen,” Price said, per the Associated Press. “I really can’t say enough about that group of defensemen and that overall team in front of me. Our work ethic was what won us this championship.”
As Sidney Crosby noted, the 2014 Winter Games didn’t have the same dramatic finish as the last one and that was largely in keeping with Canada’s theme throughout this tournament. For the most part the Canadians weren’t dramatic, just solid. They would make their fans nervous at times, but they never lost a game or even trailed in a contest.
Babcock took a collection of superstars and turned them into a defensive minded squad willing to grind it out to get a win.
“It is amazing to see the guys that have the raw talent and ability commit themselves to doing all the little things right,” said two-time gold medalist and two-time Stanley Cup champion Jonathan Toews.
“We knew that’s what it was going to take in this tournament to win the championship, and guys were willing to do that.”
It’s telling that with a roster like Canada, none of the Canadian forwards made the Olympic All-Star team and none of them finished in the top-10 in Olympic scoring. What they all are though, is gold medal winners.