STOCKHOLM – Less than a week into the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, there are already a few fascinating storylines developing, not the least of which is the emergence of Switzerland and Norway.
Norway’s Anders Bastiansen has three goals and his team has won their first two games. But even with the good start by the team and as an individual, Bastiansen tempers the enthusiasm.
“I think we should calm any expectations.” He said. “There’s a lot of hockey left to play and we have some tough teams still ahead.”
Bastiansen, an Oslo native, has always been a solid performer for the Norwegian team. Since representing Norway at the World Championships, he’s been one of its perhaps underrated performers.
When thinking quickly of who are the go to guys on Norway, Patrick Thoresen and Per-Åge Skrøder come to mind. Perhaps it’s because of the upfront talent that Bastiansen has been able to fly under the radar.
He’s averaging 18:21 minutes per game and has been an active participant in his team’s efforts thus far.
At 32, Bastiansen is one of the older, experienced members of the national team. He’s been a part of the Norwegian side since 2006 in Riga, Latvia. Prior to this tournament, Bastiansen has played in 46 World Championship games, scoring 14 goals and 18 assists.
At the 2007 World Championship Bastiansen scored four goals. If he continues at his current pace, Bastiansen will break his personal best. But for Bastiansen these things are unimportant in light of what the team has to do.
“It's fun to score goals, but we’ve only played two games and there are many more left to play. I'll go out and continue to give my best effort (to score) but hockey is a team game and we are a team.”
Norway faces a challenge today against a Canadian team that is coming off an unexpected loss to Switzerland and looking to re-establish their focus in the tournament.
Despite Norway’s good start, Bastiansen still sees areas where the team could improve.
“We have to play better moving forward. We’ll watch video to see what we did wrong and try to improve.”