When Canada won gold in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, coach Mike Babcock had nothing but praise for defenseman Drew Doughty.

Granted it was weird, hyperbolic praise, but praise nonetheless.

“He’s just better and smarter than everybody else,” Babcock said in Dec. 2010 via the LA Times, months after his victory with Doughty in Vancouver. “He’s just been touched by God and he’s been given a gift and he seems to like hockey.

“What I like about him,” Babcock continued, “is when he creates offense it’s not foolish. He’s not a risk-taker, he’s a game-breaker.”

Against Norway on Thursday, in Canada’s opening game of the Sochi Olympics tournament, Doughty was a game breaker. In the sense that his third-period goal broke the will of his opponents, answering Norway’s power-play goal with a dazzling individual effort to give Canada its eventual 3-1 margin of victory.

With the lead cut to 2-1 after Norway’s power-play goal, Doughty schooled forward Per-Age Skroder near the top of the offensive zone, cut in on net and sent a backhand shot over goalie Lars Haugen’s shoulder. Norway was back in the game for exactly 1 minute and 24 seconds, before Doughty reminded them that even Canada’s defense has deadly scoring threats.

“He’s basically a forward on ‘D,’” said Patrick Marleau, who faces Doughty frequently as a member of the San Jose Sharks. “A very special talent.”