Hockey fans cheer on Team Canada during their game against Team Denmark during World Juniors hockey action at Rexall Place in Edmonton Alberta, Thursday Dec. 29, 2011.
Credits: DAVID BLOOM/EDMONTON SUN/QMI AGENCY
EDMONTON -- In a game that had moths versus windshield written all over it, there wasn't enough wiper fluid in all of Edmonton to clean off the goo.
But despite all the guts, there wasn't much glory to be found for Team Canada in crushing hopelessly overmatched Denmark 10-2 at the world junior championship Thursday.
This was lambs being lead to slaughter and the Canadians simply went about their business with the cold and ruthless efficiency of an executioner.
"It's a hard game to play in when you're expected to win and expected to score a lot of goals," said head coach Don Hay. "It's not easy to do. But we got through the game with no injuries and we got the win."
They had the win after the first period, in which they outshot Denmark 19-3 and built a 4-0 lead, but there were, unfortunately, two more periods to play, which can best be described as a half-interested cat pawing at a half-dead mouse.
"Maybe not our toughest competition," understated Ryan Strome. "But we have to continually strive to be better. None of the games are getting easier from here on in so we have to keep getting better ourselves."
They'd have to play corpses for the next game to be any easier, but all you can do is play who they put in front of you and the Canadians are 3-0 so far, having beaten Finland 8-1 and the Czech Republic 5-0 for a 23-2 margin of victory so far.
Three straight blowouts might not be the best way to prepare for the biggest games of their lives, but what can you do?
"People can look at it however they want, but we've been tested," said Brett Connolly. "The Finns were a great team, the Czechs gave us a good battle, too. We're a good team."
After scoring more goals in the first (four) than Denmark had shots (three), Canada eased up in the second but still managed to score its fifth, sixth and seventh goals of the night.
And that was it, the other team was Dane like dinner.
"It was a tough one for Denmark, coming up from the B pool," said winger Boone Jenner. "But we just tried to keep playing our game, just play simple hockey."
"It's not like we were trying to run up the score," added forward Brendan Gallagher. "We've been on the other side of those, all of us have, and it's not a good feeling."
The Canadians spent the third period trying not to get injured and that was all the opening Denmark needed to strike back. Nicolai Meyer sniped one past Mark Visentin to break the shutout and eight minutes later Emil Kristensen added a second Danish goal.
At that point, Canada got serious again and scored its eighth and ninth and 10th.
"We knew on the bench that we had to get back to work," said Gallagher. "We were a little sluggish and they took advantage of us. They didn't stop working for the whole game. We just went back to the things that made us successful and were able to score some more goals."
So the Canadians are 3-0 so far, with one game left in the round robin -- a New Year's Eve date with the Americans that could either be for first place in the pool, or rendered entirely meaningless if the U.S. loses to the Czech Republic on Friday.
"We'll be ready to roll on New Year's Eve," said Jenner. "It should be a fun game to play in, and a competitive one."
For a change.