Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Looking At The 2014 Canadian Olympic Team

As team rosters for the 2014 Sochi Olympics are announced we'll break down the rosters for the top competitors in the tournament and list some of the notable omissions from their squads.
"Yay, we made it!"
Selecting the Team Canada Dream Team is a lot more difficult than you might think and Steve Yzerman and Co. definitely faced some tough decisions picking the Sochi 2014 team. There were plenty of locks for the team, but with the number of bubble players who made it/didn't make it there has been a national debate which should last until the Olympics are over. Ultimately, Canada has a team that will score plenty of goals and should have no trouble preventing them as well. 

With that said, here's the Canadian roster and some notable omissions:

Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Steven Stamkos
Patrick Sharp - Jonathan Toews - Rick Nash
Jamie Benn - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry
Matt Duchene - John Tavares - Jeff Carter
Patrick Marleau - Patrice Bergeron

Duncan Keith - Shea Weber
Jay Bouwmeester - Alex Pietrangelo
Drew Doughty - P.K. Subban
Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Dan Hamhuis

Carey Price
Roberto Luongo
Mike Smith


Everyone knew Canada would be stacked up front and now that the team is picked you can have fun picking line combinations. Who's playing with Crosby and Kunitz? Are Toews and Sharp going to stay together? How awesome would a Benn-Getzlaf-Perry line be? The coaching staff has some tough - but very fun - decisions to make going forward with arguably the biggest decision being who to scratch to fit the 13-7-2 Olympic game roster.

Not Returning From 2010: Dany Heatley, Jarome Iginla, Brenden Morrow, Mike Richards, Eric Staal, Joe Thornton

Notable Omissions: Eric Staal, Mike Richards, Joe Thornton, Claude Giroux, Taylor Hall, Martin St. Louis, Logan Couture

Heatley, Iginla, and Morrow not returning are pretty obvious decisions. Heatley and Morrow have seen their play fall off in recent years as they get older, while Iginla is now 36-years-old and has been passed by younger players to fill his role. Richards, Staal, and Thornton are all great centres, but Canada's strength down the middle is simply ridiculous. Richards has seen his defensive play falter, while Staal's has been dropping off the past few seasons along with his offensive play. Thornton was a surprise given he's tied for 4th in NHL scoring, has played for Canada on multiple international stages, can play the wing, and is one hell of a set-up man. There was always the chance of him scoring 4 goals against Norway however and shaming the maple leaf by celebrating too hard.

Claude Giroux is the highest scoring Canadian since 2011 so shares the same pain as Bobby Ryan being snubbed from Team USA. Taylor Hall is one of the best points-per-game Canadian left wingers in that same time span at age 22, but will have plenty of opportunities to wear the red and white at the World Championships when the Edmonton Oilers send their odyssey of players over after missing the playoffs. Marty St. Louis is the reigning Art Ross Trophy winner and has proven he can still put up points without feeding Stamkos one timers and has an impressive 38 points in 41 games this season. St. Louis' omission is even more noticeable given that his NHL GM, Steve Yzerman, was picking the team and left him off for the 2nd Olympics in a row. Logan Couture is undergoing surgery on his hand after playing through an injury the past few weeks, although that was not the reason for his omission. There must have been something in his game the Canadian braintrust didn't like or they felt he wouldn't perform as well having to play wing.


Canada's d-core is once again one of the strongest in the tournament with names like Keith, Weber, Pietrangelo, Subban and Doughty. We're curious to see where Vlasic and Hamhuis slide in on the blueline, while it's expected Bouwmeester will pair up with his St. Louis Blues teammate in Pietrangelo. With plenty of Norris candidates including two past winners, this blueline will not only be able to generate offence from the point, but shutdown some of the best opposition in the tourney.

Not Returning From 2010: Scott Niedermayer, Chris Pronger, Dan Boyle, Brent Seabrook

Notable Omissions: Dan Boyle, Brent Seabrook

Canada relied heavily on Niedermayer and Pronger in 2010 and two new defensive leaders will need to emerge as the two enjoy retirement (well, Niedermayer at least). Dan Boyle is now 37-years-old and despite playing very well in the Vancouver Olympics you have to make room for the younger and faster kids that share the same role. Brent Seabrook is a real shocker given that he is 1) a past Olympian, 2) 6th in NHL defensive scoring this season, 3) one of the best possession defencemen in the league, and 4) he and Keith are the best defence pairing in the league. Seabrook is the only real "snub" we see on this blueline.


Luongo and Price were early locks to make the team and it was really down to who would get the best seat in the house to watch the games as the 3rd goalie. Yzerman couldn't go wrong with taking the top three leading Canadian save percentage leaders since the 2010-11 season and it will be interesting to see who gets the nod to start Canada's first game and play until they lose. Given Luongo's injury and the amount of rubber Price has stopped this season, we're going with Carey Price to start February 13th against Norway.

Not Returning From 2010: Martin Brodeur, Marc-Andre Fleury

Notable Omissions: Corey Crawford, Marc-Andre Fleury

Brodeur led the team into Vancouver, but the torch was passed onto Roberto Luongo who took over the #1 spot and won gold. Brodeur is now 41-years-old and with a .906 SV% this season he'll finally get to enjoy watching the Olympic Games from his couch. Sure Fleury has the best record in the NHL at 24-10-1 and his numbers aren't too shabby with a 2.23 GAA and .919 SV%, but his big game performances of late definitely cost him a spot. Crawford earned to have his name tossed as a potential Olympian after leading the Blackhawks to the Stanley Cup last year, but injuries this year and a rather unflattering .910 SV% bumped him out of the running.

This team screams Gold Medal Winner on paper and in NHL 14 simulations, but anything can happen in the Olympics as history as shown.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...