Jeff Deslauriers couldn't believe his eyes.
As Deslauriers prepared for Canada's Spengler Cup opener against Spartak Moscow, standing at the other end of the ice was none other than his boyhood idol, former NHL star goalie Dominik Hasek.
Deslauriers admitted he was taken aback somewhat by the prospect of playing against Hasek. But the native of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu,, Que., did an effective job of containing those emotions and leading Canada to a convincing 6-1 victory Monday.
"I didn't know when I arrived here that he was playing for that team," Deslauriers said. "Growing up he was my idol so that was something special when I first saw him on the ice.
"Having a chance to play against him and against this team, that was something very special for me. But the main thing was to focus and win the game."
Martin Kariya, Yanick Lehoux and Micki Dupont took care of that, all scoring second-period goals after the two teams battled to a scoreless first. Eric Landry, Glen Metropolit and Josh Holden had the other goals in the third for Canada (1-0).
"We played a very solid game offensively and defensively," Deslauriers said. "That's why we were able to create opportunities and defensively we got a lot of help from everybody, which makes everyone's job easier."
The six-foot-three, 190-pound Deslauriers lost his shutout bid when Alexander Yunkov scored at 16:22 of the third for Spartak (1-1).
Former NHL star Mark Messier is the head coach of the Canadian squad, whose roster is mainly comprised of players currently skating in Europe.
Also on Monday, Geneve-Servette nipped Sparta Prague 4-3.
After a scoreless first period, the Canadians took control of the game in the second by beating Hasek three times.
Deslauriers said with the Spengler Cup being a very condensed tournament, getting off to a good start is always imperative.
"It's a short tournament so the start is very important," he said. "We had two, three days of practice and I think that helped a lot for the guys to know each other and now everyone can react to the game plan."
Canada faces the host Davos team Tuesday.
"That's a very important game for us," Deslauriers said. "We're going to look at what we did (versus Spartak) and see where we can improve so we can make adjustments for Davos.
"We need to be ready because they have a good team as well."