Even though Canada won gold in the 2010 Olympic Games, they are not the perceived favourite this time around as Russia and the United States have developed better players in recent years plus Russia wants revenge on Canada after a disappointing 7-3 loss in the semi-finals four years ago. Now things are different, Russia has home ice advantage and they are raring to seize the moment and win gold for the first time since 1988 when they were the communist Soviet Union. The United States have improved immensely over the years in developing an influx of fast skating two way players such as David Backes, Ryan Kesler, Joe Pavelski, Ryan Callahan and Dustin Brown so the competition is going to be tough for Team Canada.
What’s different in Sochi from Vancouver is that the European style rinks are much larger than the North American rinks which promotes speed and creative passing plays from the perimeter so Team Canada’s management staff must choose their players wisely and according to the type of rink they play on. Players who are almost guaranteed shoe-ins like Sidney Crosby, Steven Stamkos and Jonathon Toews won’t have a problem adjusting but it’s always the last spots on the roster is what’s most difficult to decide on. There has been talks of picking players like Jay Bouwmeester, Jeff Carter, James Neal and even Taylor Hall specifically for this tournament based on their playing styles but it’s not for sure if they’ll make the team.
Canada’s front running defenceman are very well-rounded and are effective at all areas of the ice and is considered the best group out of all the contending countries. The expected top 6 group consists of Shea Weber, Duncan Keith, Kris Letang, Drew Doughty, Marc Staal and P.K. Subban. Tyler Myers, Jay Bouwmeester and Dion Phaneuf are going to receive positive consideration but they might end up as spares in the press box rather than roster starters.
The forward situation looks good as a lot of the 2010 Olympic gold medallists are returning and possible newcomers include Logan Couture, Jeff Carter, Claude Giroux, Steven Stamkos and Taylor Hall. Players like Joe Thornton and and Andrew Ladd may seem like good choices but their lack of foot speed will be their downfall and the reason why they wouldn’t make the cut.
Canada does not have the best goaltending in the upcoming Olympics but it’s still very good. If you ask me, The United States and Finland have scary good goaltending but the rest of Canada’s roster is stacked so it compensates nicely. Roberto Luongo was Canada’s go-to guy and he was good but Carey Price and Cam Ward have been great for their clubs so they might get the job to shut the door for Canada if all goes well for them. Marc Andre Fleury might be the third stringer but sometimes he doesn’t perform well in big games so he’s not the clear-cut starter.
Depth Chart Prediction
J. Staal-E. Staal-Nash
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