A day after Drew Doughty continued to be the main source of offence for the Canadian men’s hockey team at the Olympics, his defence partner Marc-Edouard Vlasic also received acclaim.

“I just told somebody this morning that Vlasic is way better than everybody knows,” Canadian head coach Mike Babcock said. “He’s a really, really good player. Doughty gets to do anything he wants and Vlasic is always in a great spot. He’s a good defender, he’s become harder.

“He used to be a thin kid. Now he’s a thick man. He’s hard, he’s smart, he skates, he moves the puck, and he’s safe.’’

Patrice Bergeron, any thoughts on 26-year-old, 6-foot-1, 205-pound San Jose Sharks defenceman?

“I think because he plays in San Jose not everyone has had a chance to see him rise so quickly in the NHL,” Bergeron said. “He’s making his way up without creating too many waves, if you will, and he does his work really well. I work out with him in the summer, so I know a bit how good of a player he is, but now playing with him you realize just how good he is.”

Montreal roots

Vlasic was raised in an athletic family on Montreal’s West Island. The story goes that his parents, Ed and Marie-Josee, put him on skates when he was 18 months old. But after a few minutes there were tears streaming down his face. He didn't enjoy it.

But Ed wasn’t about to give up. Hockey was his passion. He played defence at McGill University and earned all-conference honours in the early 1980s. By the time he was finishing school, earning a third degree in mechanical engineering, a chap named Babcock was patrolling the blue line for McGill.

After the initial skate for his son, Ed built a backyard rink and tried again. He took a three-year-old Marc-Edouard for another trial when he was three. This time he liked it. A budding star was born.