With just under 2 years to go until the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, ProSportsBlogging.com will run a 6-part feature that will identify the hockey players that will likely represent their respective countries at the Olympic Games. The 6 hockey super powers to be covered include Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, Sweden and USA.
Today’s featured country: Canada
2010 Result: Gold Medal
Projected returning players: 10 (7F, 3D, 0G)
TEAM CANADA’S PROJECTED 2014 OLYMPIC ROSTER
S. Stamkos – S. Crosby – C. Giroux
E. Staal – R. Getzlaf – C. Perry
M. Richards – J. Toews – R. Nash
T. Hall – R. Nugent-Hopkins – J. Eberle
FORWARDS: Canada’s chances at winning a gold medal comes down to the performance of their elite group of forwards. They need the right combination of speed, size, scoring and chemistry. Thinking back to 2010, it took Canada almost the entire preliminary round to figure out the best line combinations, so I will justify these selections by walking you through my thought process. The first line was easy; Crosby, Giroux and Stamkos are 3 of the top 5 forwards in the world. The second line has 3 guys with good international experience, a ton of size which will make them difficult to play against, good goal scorers in Staal and Perry and you have the Getzlaf-Perry chemistry. The third line consisting of Richards, Toews and Nash will be counted on to go head to head against the top lines from other teams. This is the exact same line that was put together late in the 2010 tournament and they did a phenomenal job. For the fourth line; you could make a very good case that James Neal is better than Hall; that John Tavares is better than Nugent-Hopkins; and that Tyler Seguin is better than Jordan Eberle. Having said that, Hall, RNH and Eberle formed one of the most dominant lines in the NHL this past season when they were healthy, so for that reason, I’m keeping the Baby Oil line together on Team Canada.
K. Letang – S. Weber
D. Keith – D. Doughty
M. Staal – A. Pietrangelo
DEFENSE: One thing that was made clear in 2010 was that Steve Yzerman doesn’t like erratic defensemen. Whoever is chosen will have to be able to defend well in their own zone. There are so many good choices, that rather than justify why I picked who I picked, I will go into why certain guys were left off. Tyler Myers is a good skater for his size and I am a huge fan of his, but his mobility might be exposed on international ice. Brent Seabrook would also struggle with the bigger ice surface in 2014. PK Subban falls under the 2010 Mike Green rule. Dan Boyle is left off due to age. Brent Burns is not elite enough offensively or defensively to warrant a spot. Karl Alzner should merit serious consideration, but there are just too many guys that bring more to the table than he does.
GOALIES: This was a 4 horse race between Price, Ward, Fleury and Luongo. Canada has so much depth up front and on defense, that they don’t need a goalie to stand on his head and steal them games. They just need consistency, which is why I went with these 2 over Fleury and Luongo.
About the Author
Written by Corey Krakower
I am the Director of NHL Content & Habs writer for ProSportsBlogging.com; I have spent 8 seasons behind the bench as a minor hockey coach; and I am the future GM of the Montreal Canadiens (according to my mom). I spend my days managing the Harrow Sports brand in my hometown of Montreal and I moonlight as a Hockey Advisor for Pi Athlete Management. Most importantly, I'll throw anyone under the bus for a laugh.