With all eyes on Hockey Canada‘s men’s Olympic team announcement on Tuesday, our staff contemplates who they’d like to see make it to Sochi. Here are four teams with a brief explanation.
If I were Steve Yzerman first of all I’d give myself a mental high-five for taking this shot. Then I would get out some parchment, a feather and quill pen, (because that’s how I hope these things go down), and list out Team Canada.
The centre position on Team Canada is fairly clear. The nice problem to have is that a lot of talented Canadian forwards are centres and will have to shift to wing.
I like the idea of creativity on international ice. I’d love to see Matt Duchene and Jamie Benn freewheel. Patrice Bergeron is unreal in the faceoff circle. And clutch. Just like Corey Perry. Claude Giroux is explosive. He could be amazing if he gets on a roll. Joe Thornton can be mean. As can Tavares and Couture. And put Marty St. Louis on the team. Every squad needs a grey beard. Not to mention one who can score.
Carey Price, Roberto Luongo, Mike Smith
Carey Price and Roberto Luongo, (who is day-to-day at the time of writing this), get a lot of attention. If one of those two gets injured I’d want a guy like Mike Smith in net. He’s super calm, and can shoot harder with his goal stick than most beer league skaters.
Jay Bouwmeester, Drew Doughty, Duncan Keith, Alex Pietrangelo, Brent Seabrook, Marc-Édouard Vlasic, PK Subban, Shea Weber
The most underrated assets on Canada’s defence could be Jay Bouwmeester’s talented stride and his ability to play major minutes. And…P.K. Subban’s unpredictability. Also, Shea Weber can kill a man with his shot.
Jamie Benn, Patrice Bergeron, Logan Couture, Sidney Crosby, Matt Duchene, Ryan Getzlaf, Claude Giroux, Martin St. Louis, Corey Perry, Patrick Sharp, Steven Stamkos, John Tavares, Joe Thornton, Jonathan Toews
I don’t buy the notion that PK Subban should be off the Olympic team because of his defensive play. If you only focus on the errors made by an athlete – and in Subban’s case some go to great lengths to do this – you could make a case against virtually every player. Subban is the consensus best defenceman in the NHL (has the trophy to prove it), leads his team in scoring, and those who doubt his defensive abilities should take note that he is a +13 this season. Subban needs to be on this team not only for Sochi, but looking ahead to 2018 when he will be only 28 and a team leader. The Olympic experience has to come now. … I picked Marc-André Fleury as the third goaltender because he has put up better numbers than Mike Smith, albeit on a superior team, much like this one. … I take Taylor Hall for similar reasons as Subban – experience will pay off in four years – plus he is a natural left winger on a team full of converted centres, and with his skating ability Hall could show his value on the international ice.
Carey Price, Roberto Luongo, Marc-André Fleury
Jay Bouwmeester, Drew Doughty, Dan Hamhuis, Duncan Keith, Alex Pietrangelo, Marc-Édouard Vlasic, PK Subban, Shea Weber
Jamie Benn, Patrice Bergeron, Logan Couture, Sidney Crosby, Matt Duchene, Ryan Getzlaf, Claude Giroux, Taylor Hall, Rick Nash, Corey Perry, Steven Stamkos, Martin St. Louis, John Tavares, Jonathan Toews
Since Nagano 1998, when NHL players participated in their first Olympic hockey tournament, Canada has yet to win a medal on International-sized ice. The Sochi 2014 team will be looking to change that trend by blending a mix of Olympic veterans and rookies, with the focus on good skaters that can play two ways. In net, the only goalie with experience is Roberto Luongo, but don’t be surprised if Carey Price ends up carting most of the load in Sochi. … On D, PK makes the team as the extra defenceman on the right, with Dan Hamhuis getting the extra spot on the left. … Up front, the biggest surprise is Chris Kunitz, who makes the team for his overall abilities in addition to his proven chemistry with Sid the Kid.
Corey Crawford, Roberto Luongo, Carey Price
Jay Bouwmeester, Drew Doughty, Dan Hamhuis, Duncan Keith, Alex Pietrangelo, PK Subban, Marc-Édouard Vlasic, Shea Weber
Jamie Benn, Patrice Bergeron, Logan Couture, Sidney Crosby, Matt Duchene, Ryan Getzlaf, Claude Giroux, Chris Kunitz, Corey Perry, Patrick Sharp, Martin St Louis, Steven Stamkos, John Tavares, Jonathan Toews
No matter who gets picked on to Team Canada come Tuesday, one thing’s for sure, the debates will go on. On attack, I must admit that I was on the fence regading Chris Kunitz, but in the end, I couldn’t resist the potential one-two punch he and Crosby could provide on the big ice surface. With Steve Yzerman as General Manager of both Team Canada and the Tampa Bay Lightning, Martin St. Louis should easily crack the 25 man roster. Patrick Sharp and Patrice Bergeron should provide the team with great two way play, pitching-in offensively when it matters. … On defence, it’s been reported that head coach Mike Babcock likes to pair lefties with righties. With this in mind, PK Subban is on the bottom looking up for now, but could easily work is way on the powerplay. … Between the pipes I gave the edge to Carey Price who’s having a really solid season with the Montreal Canadiens. That being said, Luongo and Crawford are nothing to sneeze at.
Corey Crawford, Roberto Luongo, Carey Price
Jay Bowmester, Drew Doughty, Duncan Keith, Alex Pietrangelo, Brent Seabrook, PK Subban, Marc-Édouard Vlasic, Shea Weber
Patrice Bergeron, Sidney Crosby, Matt Duchene, Ryan Getzlaf, Chris Kunitz, James Neal, Rick Nash, Corey Perry, Tyler Seguin, Patrick Sharp, Martin St. Louis, Steven Stamkos, John Tavares, Jonathan Toews