After months of speculation and debate, we finally know who will be on Team Canada at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games next month.
Roberto Luongo and Dan Hamhuis from the Vancouver Canucks made the team. My predictions from November were spot-on for the defencemen and goaltenders, but were blown up a bit on forward.
Here are the players that Steve Yzerman and the rest of Team Canada management have selected to try to bring home the gold (and potential line combinations):
- The Vancouver Canucks play the Pittsburgh Penguins in a Tuesday night 7:00pm PST game at Rogers Arena. The game will mark the first time Sidney Crosby has played on Vancouver ice since the 2010 Olympics. The Canucks will be looking to avenge an October 19, 2013 4-3 shootout loss vs the Penguins and, more importantly, will be trying to get their game back after 3 complete stinkers.
The Czech Republic announced their Olympic roster today and there were no shortage of surprises! The show stopper was their selection of 42 year old former Canuck Petr Nedved, who is currently playing in the Czech league. After seeing that, I immediately searched the rest of the roster for Frank Kucera, Roman Cechmanek and Robert Kron. Luckily for Czech fans, they were nowhere to be found.
Here it is, the final episode of HBO 24/7 Maple Leafs/Red Wings, the Road to the Winter Classic. I haven’t seen it yet, so I can’t give you a review, nor would you really want a review anyway right? I did watch the Winter Classic and it was a really cool site to see 100,000 people watching a hockey game in the snow.
The Vancouver Canucks continue their trip through hockey hell (California) on Sunday night with a game against the Anaheim Ducks. Can the Canucks respond to a tough loss against the LA Kings less than 24 hours later? Quite frankly I’m a little scared to find out.
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Team Russia might be the most intriguing team heading into the 2014 Olympics in Sochi. They are coming off a disappointing tournament where they won their group, only to receive a cruel reward of playing the host nation (Team Canada) in the quarterfinals. Canada steamrolled the Russians in a game that wasn’t close.
As usual, Team Canada goes into the Olympic Games (with NHL participation) as the best team on paper. They have the most talent and the most depth of any country in the world. Of course as everyone knows, that doesn’t guarantee anything.
If you’re like me (we are all Rob The Hockey Guy?), then you’re probably going to join a hockey pool or two for the 2014 Olympic hockey tournament. We don’t know who will play on which line, who will get all of the power play time or who will mesh with who, so what do you do?
Much like playoff pools, you want to pick players that are likely to play the most games, although it isn’t as crucial as the Stanley Cup playoffs because they play fewer games. Also remember that the teams that finish in third and fourth get to play the same amount of games as the teams that play in the gold medal game (unlike the NHL, there is a bronze medal game). You also want players that will receive a boatload of ice time per game.
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The Olympic ice hockey tournament has proven to be a bit of an unpredictable tournament since NHL players began participating in 1998. Three different teams have won the last four tournaments, with Canada the only nation to win more than one medal. Finland, of all teams, is the only country to win a medal on three separate occasions. Canada, USA, Russia and the Czech Republic have two medals and Sweden has only earned a medal on one occasion.
- The Vancouver Canucks play the Los Angeles Kings in an important Saturday night 7:00pm PST game at the Staples Center. Both teams are fully aware how close the standings are in the Pacific Division and, frankly, both teams hate each other. What more can you ask for? As the great Casey Printers once said, “kids, get your popcorn ready. Get your chips and cakes ready…”