On one squad, European hockey fans saw NHL stalwarts John Tavares (New York Islanders), Patrice Bergeron (Boston Bruins), Ryan Smyth (Edmonton Oilers), Jason Spezza (Ottawa Senators), Tyler Seguin (Boston Bruins), Matt Duchene (Colorado Avalanche) and Devan Dubnyk (Oilers) playing side by side.
On the opposing team were luminaries like Joe Thornton (San Jose Sharks), Patrick Kane (Chicago Blackhawks) and Loui Eriksson (Dallas Stars).
This was not an all-star game per se. It was the Spengler Cup championship squad, with Team Canada besting the host HC Davos squad 7-2.
Most of the players were veterans of European pro league play, but locked out NHL players spiced things up for both teams. Ultimately Canada had just too much firepower.
“We were relentless,” Smyth told reporters. “It’s an honor to put the flag in front of us, I just want to relish it. What a great feeling to be successful for my country again.”
After losing its first game in the tourney, Canada won its next three games by a combined score of 17-3.
“It’s great to be rewarded after the adversity,” said Tavares. “We scored early and put the pressure on our opponents in each of our last few games.”
Dubnyk was a major beneficiary. The young goaltender seems poised to break out this season for the loaded Oilers. This tourney gave him a chance to prepare for an abbreviated post-lockout season.