Sochi Olympic Story #1: Picking Team Canada

Will we all get to see a repeat of this in Russia next month?

Will we all get to see a repeat of this in Russia next month?

Tomorrow is going to be a big day for Hockey Canada

BY:JEFF SCHNEBERK
@GAME7OVERTIME

What better time to start working on something Olympic-related for Team Canada than the night before the official team roster is announced to the world?
According to TSN know-it-all Darren Dreger, the big announcement of Sochi Team Canada is scheduled for Tuesday (tomorrow) morning.

I have spent most of the past six months wondering what goalies are going to make the final cuts.

I can barely imagine what Team Canada executive director Steve Yzerman is going through at this very moment.

Here are a bunch of picks of who just might make this prestigious hockey team:

GOALTENDERS
Roberto Luongo (VAN): The Vancouver Canucks’ oftmaligned goaler has had a solid, if unspectacular, season. Incumbency works in his favour, being that he backstopped Canada to the gold medal in 2010.

Carey Price (MONT): Although Price and the Montreal Canadiens have struggled of late, he is an elite goaltender and he comes up big when need to, and should be an easy choice for this team.

Corey Crawford (CHI): For the third spot on this team, you have to go with the guy who has the best experience so far. Crawford has something that no other goaltender on this list has, and that is a Stanley Cup ring. He has also proven himself to be one of the more mentally tough goalies in the game. Canada won’t stumble if they had to play the Blackhawks goalie in Sochi.

DEFENCEMEN
Jay Bouwmeester (STL): The St. Louis Blues rearguard is a gifted skater and therefore a natural for the expansive international ice surface.

Drew Doughty (LA) : There is no doubt about Doughty, a Los Angeles Kings star who is brilliant with the puck.

Duncan Keith (CHI): This Chicago Blackhawks veteran is having one of his best seasons, which is saying something. Obvious pick.

Dan Boyle (SJ): On December 30, 2009, Steve Yzerman named Boyle to the 2010 Winter Olympics team as a full member.[15] On February 28, 2010, the team defeated the United States to win Canada’s eighth gold medal in Olympic men’s hockey. I see no reason why that shouldn’t happen again.

Alex Pietrangelo (STL): An emerging star and Bouwmeester’s defence partner in St. Louis. Why mess with success?

P.K. Subban (MONT): The Montreal blue liner has his detractors, but how do you leave the reigning Norris Trophy winner off an Olympic roster?

Marc-Edouard Vlasic (SJ): He often flies under the radar, but anyone who watches the San Jose Sharks with any regularity knows that he is a premier shut-down defenceman.
Shea Weber: The Nashville Predators star – yes, the Predators have a star – is another no-brainer.

FORWARDS

Patrice Bergeron (BOS): A terrific two-way pivot for the Boston Bruins, Bergeron will be able to play any number of roles for Team Canada.

Rick Nash (NYR): In events such as the Olympics you cannot make do without experience. Rick Nash has experience playing on the larger ice surface and that will be key. This will be Nash’s third Olympics. For whatever it’s worth – and admittedly, it might not be much – Nash went over and played for Davos of the Swiss League during the previous two lockouts, so he has more experience than most Canadians playing on big ice.

Sidney Crosby (PITT): Next …

Matt Duchene (COL): An amazing skater, Duchene is a treat to watch with the Colorado Avalanche. Imagine how he will look on an Olympic sized pond.

Ryan Getzlaf (ANA): The Anaheim Ducks captain is a veteran of Canada’s goldmedal-winning team from 2010. He is also an amazing passer who is enjoying a fine season.

Claude Giroux (PHL): After experiencing a horrid start with the Philadelphia Flyers, Giroux has recaptured his accustomed form and is again demonstrating why he is a top-flight talent. As a reward, he merits an all-expenses-paid winter getaway to sun-swept Sochi, Russia.

Chris Kunitz (PITT): Skating alongside Crosby is a blessing and a curse for the Regina-born left winger. It must be great fun to be a linemate of the NHL’s best player, but good luck receiving due credit for your accomplishments. Keep in mind, though, that someone does not score 23 goals in 44 games by accident.

Patrick Marleau (SJ): A third Shark? Is Drew Remenda picking this team? OK, perhaps the roster is somewhat Shark-infested, but the 34-year-old Marleau – a product of Aneroid – is an unbelievable skater, an Olympic veteran, and someone who excels at both ends of the ice.

Corey Perry(ANA): Perry is likely to score 40-plus goals while playing right wing for Anaheim this season. Automatic selection.

Martin St. Louis (TB): Yes, St. Louis is 38, but he remains a breathtaking skater – as anyone who follows the Tampa Bay Lightning can attest. St. Louis is widely portrayed as a “bubble” player by other types who wade into mock drafts, but speed should serve him (and Canada) well.

Patrick Sharp(CHI): With 25 goals heading into Sunday night’s game with San Jose, this under-rated Blackhawk is a nice fit on left wing for Team Canada.

Steven Stamkos(TB):
The Tampa Bay sniper has been sidelined with a broken right tibia since Nov. 11. Will he be ready in time for Sochi? Who knows? But he belongs on the preliminary roster, just in case he is ready to go. It is riskier not to include a player of this calibre.

John Tavares (NYI): The New York Islanders captain is one of many top-flight centres who will carry Canada’s colours in February.

Jonathan Toews(CHI): The young man who wears the “C” for Chicago has been touted as a possible captain for Canada’s Olympic team.

@Game7overtime

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