Hometown hero victorious in Moscow
|By Colin MacKenzie - Stand-in editor | May 26, 2016|
Matt Duchene is coming home next week with another gold gong for his trophy wall.
The 25-year-old was a critical piece of the Canadian team that won the world hockey championships in Moscow on the weekend.
The high-scoring Canadian team used team defence to smother Finland en route to a 2-0 victory in the gold-medal game and Duchene was in the thick of things with an assist and empy-net goal.
It was deja vu for The Haliburton native who won gold at last year’s championships as well.
This year the Colorado Avalanche centreman spent most of the tournament on right wing on a line with rookie phenomenon Connor McDavid and hardnosed Boston Bruin Brad Marchand.
“We had a pretty good couple of games in the semi and the final,” said Duchene, in an interview from his home in Denver.
He ended up second on the team in scoring and was tied for sixth overall in tournament scoring with five goals and five assists in 10 games.
Switching to the wing was not at a problem, he said, describing his role as “kind of a Swiss Army knife.”
That adaptability looks likely to win Duchene a spot on the Canadian team at the World Cup of Hockey late this summer.
That was one of the reasons he accepted the invitation to play in Russia after the Avalance failed to make the NHL playoffs, he said.
“You don’t really want to stop playing in the first week of April,” he said. “And I knew the (World Cup) coaches would be giving us a look.”
Duchene has played in 42 world championship games, surprising for a 25-year-old, as against just eight NHL playoff games.
Ultimately, family and other obligations might preclude a European tournament trip every playoff-free May, but for now it’s fun, he said.
Duchene is heading home for the summer next week and is in the process of building new house on Redstone Lake.
COLIN MACKENZIE is the stand-in editor for The Highlander.