October 02, 2017

Legends of Team Canada: Warren Anderson

This is defenseman Warren Anderson helping goaltender Paul Pageau in a scrum in front of the net. 

Anderson was an undersized defenseman not known to frequent the penalty box too much, and that helped keep him off of the NHL radar.

His skating ability and understanding of the European game made him a great fit on the national team. He always seemed to play well against the Soviets, and he offered this advice on how to play them back then:

"(You) have to play them physically and that's usually an indication of your level of intensity. Of course the problem with a contact game is that you have to catch them to hit them, and that's not always an easy job. They're elusive, they roll well off a hit. 

''And because their offence is not a linear one (up and down the wings) they can stop on a dime to avoid a check without stopping the attack. The attack keeps coming. 

''In playing the Soviets, we're definitely emulating their game, to make ours compatible with European hockey - the quick moves, the decoy skating, the drop passes. . . ."

Anderson was a two time Canadian Olympian, patrolling the blue line at both the 1980 and 1984 Winter games. He was the only hold over from the 1980 team, though he barely made it.

Just prior to the 1984 games Canada attempted to add four players with professional contracts to their team - Mario Gosselin in goal, Don Dietrich on defense and Mark Morrison and Dan Wood up front. To make room for them Team Canada cut Anderson and promising young forward Kevin Dineen. Both players were reinstated when Olympic officials declared Dietrich and Morrison ineligible.

Playing in back-to-back Olympics allowed Anderson to best compare the 1980 and 1984 teams.

''The Canadian team's formation has been different from that of the 1980 team. In 1980, we had very few lineup changes and we were a unit for about the last four months before the Games (in which Canada finished sixth, the worst finish in the country's history). 

''This time, new players are being brought in and there has been some juggling with the intent of making the team as strong as possible for the Olympics. It has its benefits, because everyone has to stay honest in terms of the effort they put out."

Canada placed just out of the medals in fourth place.

The former Oshawa General and University of Toronto player also played in Sweden and Switzerland in non-Olympic years. He retired following the 1984 Olympics.

No comments: