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Germany-Canada game a battle of NHL teammates

February 22, 2010 |  8:30 pm

One of the quirks of having NHL players represent their homelands in the Olympics is that players who are teammates and go to battle for each other will instead be battling each other here.

The latest example--and one of the most interesting, because a quarterfinal playoff berth will be at stake--is Germany's qualification playoff game against Canada Wednesday at Canada Hockey Place.

Olyblog Germany's goaltender is Thomas Greiss, the backup to Evgeni Nabokov in San Jose. Canada's most effective line so far has been the San Jose trio of Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton and Dany Heatley, and Sharks defenseman Danny Boyle often joins them on the power play.

Asked how to score on Greiss, Heatley was generous in his praise. "He's a real good positional guy. He's very good side to side," said Heatley, who was born in Germany while his father played hockey there and moved to Canada as a child. "We have to get him moving first of all, get traffic in front of him and make good shots to beat him."

Another quirk: defenseman Christian Ehrhoff of Germany, accustomed to being cheered in this arena when he plays for the hometown Vancouver Canucks, will hear boos today. But he knows that the enormous pressure on Canada could help him and his teammates.

"Hopefully that can work to our advantage," he said.

Marco Sturm of Germany and the Bruins, who will play against Boston teammate Patrice Bergeron, has a realistic view of the German team's prospects of defeating Canada.

"It would be a miracle for Germany," he said.

--Helene Elliott in Vancouver, Canada

Photo: Dany Heatley will see a familiar face in goal when Canada plays Germany. Credit: Cris Bouroncle, AFP/Getty Images.