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Team Canada: Who Suits Up in Sochi?

It's a Canadian Game


blog-0076175001377738579.jpgAlthough it may still be about 6 months until the winter Olympics get under way in Sochi, Russia, speculation about who will be suiting up for team Canada this time has already began as Team Canada wrapped up its orientation camp Wednesday.

Looking forward it is already clear that Canada will have to make sure that they do not make the same mistake they made in 2006 in Turin, Italy. Canada made a mistake when they tried to replicate the same team that had won during the previous games in Salt Lake City. That means that Canada and fans alike, should expect a number of changes to the roster if they hope to be successful.

Looking at the roster that captured gold in 2010 in Vancouver, it seems there are already some names that are obvious additions and subtractions to the squad. In terms of additions the obvious names that stick out are Steven Stamkos, Claude Giroux, and John Tavares all of whom have grown drastically in the last four years and have become superstars of their respected NHL clubs.

In terms of subtractions from the squad names such as Scott Neidermayer and Chris Pronger are obvious since they are no longer playing in the NHL. However, names such as Dany Heatley and Brendon Morrow can also likely be added to this list because of their drop in production to their teams in the last couple years.

Now despite these obvious admissions and subtractions there are likely other changes that will be made to the team. So, here are a few more possible roster moves that could be made heading to 2014. After coming off a Norris Trophy season Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban has to be garnering much more speculation than he was prior to this season. Subban seems to have matured more as a hockey player since playing under new habs bench boss Michelle Therien and this maturity may be the thing that lands him a spot on the team, as his skill is unquestionable.

Pittsburgh dman Kris Letang is another name that might be an obvious addition to Canada’s back end especially with the omissions of Pronger and Neidermayer. Letang has become one of the most dynamite offensive dman in the league and would be a great asset to the Canadian powerplay.

Another Penguin that could garner some talk is James Neal his solid play the last few seasons along with his solid playoff numbers might be proof that he can perform under very high pressure situations. Plus having some chemistry with Sidney Crosby couldn’t hurt his chances either.

Oilers young guns Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle could both be possible additions up front as both have started to become leaders on a still very young Edmonton team. One name that is likely to not get much attention, but that I feel still should at least be in the back of the minds of those putting the roster together is Kings’ forward Jeff Carter. Though Carter only mustarded up 33 points in 48 games this season, which still isn’t terrible, 26 of those 33 points were goals. This means that Carter is a proven marksman, he can finish plays and his big frame and speed can make him hard to handle in the offensive zone.

On the goaltending front Luongo is likely still going to hold the starting job. Martin Brodeur has turned down a spot on the team and Marc-Andre Fleury’s recent failure to perform in the playoffs when his team has needed him most has left the two other positions opened. So with that in mind the door seems wide open for almost any tender to come in and take the job. It seems that Habs Carey Price could be one of the more likely names to get a shot. After coming off a Stanley Cup win and a solid playoff performance, Corey Crawford’s name has now come up. Mike Smith is the other name being mentioned for the third string position, now that he has become a wall in Phoenix. Essentially, in the end it will likely be a fight for the second and third string positions as Luongo will likely hold the reigns.

In the meantime there are also a bunch of names that might either have to play themselves back on to the team or on to it. A quick list of these players include: Brent Seabrook, Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton, Dan Boyle, Matt Duchene, Milan Lucic, Jeff Skinner, Alex Petierangelo, Mike Richards, and even possibly Jarome Iginla (who did not receive an invite to the orientation camp).

For this group it seems that age is a big factor. It will be a question if the older players will be able to keep and stay competitive playing against the best players in the world and if some of the younger players will be able to handle the pressure and experience needed. Luckily all the names above have had international experience so all could be very viable options.

One other thing I feel that Steve Yzerman and the team selection committee need to be weary about is the fact that these players will likely be able to play out of position if needed. It has been made clear that Canada has an abundance of very talented centreman. Crosby, Tavares, Toews, Getzlaf, Giroux, and Bergeron can all play the centre position, but with only four centre spots, I feel these six names are too valuable to be left off the team. Some of these players may have to play on the wing and I think it is important for Team Canada to realize this and understand that these players are among the best in the world and should be able to adapt.

TSN recently placed Pittsburgh Penguin forward on the left side alongside Sidney Crosby as they felt Crosby would need someone he was familiar with on his wing. Crosby is the most talented player in the world and will be able to play with any winger he steps on the ice with. So, with that in mind I don’t think Kunitz will make the team.

So to wrap it up here is my final roster for team Canada heading into the 2014 games, which I’m sure I will make changes to as next year starts and the Olympics grow closer. Also take into consideration that I am not necessarily making lines, these are essentially the names that I feel give Canada the best chance at repeating as Olympic Champions.


Nash Crosby Stamkos

Getzlaf Toews Perry

Tavares Giroux E. Staal

St. Louis Bergeron Richards

Ex. Neal, Carter


Doughty Weber

Keith Letang

Subban Petierangelo

Ex. Seabrook


Luongo Price Crawford

Follow me on Twitter @Craig_Hagerman


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