With the winter olympics in Sochi coming up in February I thought I would predict what I think the lines will be. There is so many players good enough in Canada that we could make 5 teams that could compete for a medal. But since we can only make 1, here are my picks for the 2014 canadian olympic team....
Giroux- Stamkos- St Louis
Neal - Crosby - Staal
Hall - Tavares - Eberle
Nash - Bergeron - Perry
Weber - Doughty
Pierterangelo - Subban
Kieth - Letang
Now for the interesting part: the explanations...
Giroux Stamkos St Louis
The will be a lot of people questioning this but heres my reasoning. Stamkos and St Louis are linemates in Tampa and form a terrifying 1-2 combo. Even at the olympic level. And then there's Giroux who is a highly skilled, but young presence that would benefit greatly by playing with a veteran like St Louis. Oh yah, and anyone who says St Louis too old, he just won the Art Ross. This will be his last olympics but he still has ton of skill and will give team Canada a veteran presence amougnst all the youth.
Neal - Crosby - Staal
Another questionable call I know. Most people think Neal won't make the team and that Crosby, love him or hate him, should be on the 1st line and you're proberly all right. My reasoning behind this is because of the chemistry between Crosby and Neal. I think the only way Neal gets on the roster is because he's playing on the same line as Crosby. And I don't have Crosby on the 1st line because Neal's not good enough for the 1st line. Plain and simple.
Hall Tavares Eberle
This choice isn't as far out as the other 2 but there's still a couple question marks I'ld like talk about. First off, a lot of people proberly think Tavares should be higher. But the reason I dropped him to the 3rd line is partially about inexperience, but mainly because he's in the same age range as Hall and Eberle. Think about it like this, we're training Team Canada's future 1st line so that in the future they all have good chemistry and have played together in the past.
The other question is thst some people don't have Eberle making the team. But I have him here because he has good chemistry with Hall. Yes, chemistry again. If you're asking why I keep on talking about this chemistry thing it's because once Yzerman picks the team they only have a week or 2 to get ready before the Olympics start. It's good if you already know who you're playing with and their tendencies and stuff. It just makes it a lot easier.
Nash Bergeron Perry
This is pretty much the 2 way line that can shut people down and can still score. It's the perfect 4th line for the Olympics because you don't have a big physical line of tough guys at the olympic level but you can't have 4 whole lines of speedy scorers because once the other team gets by them, you're screwed. You always need a nice 2 way line, even at the olympics.
I will say he is highly skilled and is one of the best centers in the game but he's too slow for the european sized ice surface. Everyone will just blow past him every time. But he'll still make it as the 13th forward because he just has too much skill to pass up.
What can I say? 2 of the best defense in the NHL on the same line. Terrifying. Weber with his shot and Doughty with his playmaking abilities will make a great defense pairing. I would say the best in the whole Olympics. And it also helps that Weber's huge. He'll level all those little speedy Swedish and Finnish players.
Pierterangelo - Subban
This is a underrated pairing. These 2 players are 2 of the best defense in the league and are both a good fit on team Canada as they are young and are the future of Canada's backend. I don't know why most people have Pierterangelo not making the cut. Like seriouly! He's one of the top 2 defense in the NHL. Why wouldn't he make the team? As for Subban, my only problem with him is his attitude. He has undeniable skill but he's got a mouth on him.
A lot of people don't have Letang making the team and I don't know why. He's a great defensecand one of the best offensive D-men in the game. Sure he isn't the best defensively but that's why there's players like Doughty and Weber. You can always use a little more offense. As for Kieth most people have him making the team and I don't really know why. He was one of the best defense in the NHL back in 2010 but since then he's became pretty much invisible. I'm not saying he's a average player he's still good but he's not elite anymore. But I couldn't think of anyone that was better off the top of myvhead so he's on the team.
Now we all see Canada's weakness. I'm not saying Crawford's a bad goalie or nothing, because he is a good goalie. He just lead his team to the stanley cup! But he is definatly not an olympic goalie, much less a starter. He just isn't in that skill group.
The reason I have Crawford over the likes of Luongo and Price is because I'm not a believer of all the hype surrounding Price. I think he's a good goalie, but not as good as people make him out to be. Luongo isn't the starter because with all the drama surrounding the Schneider situation he won't be in the mindset. That's if he's even playing....
Well even though I think he won't be focused and will be too caught up in the Vancouver drama I still think he gets a spot on the team. He stole the starting job from Brodeur in 2010 and led Canada to gold and he still has plenty of skill. Who knows? Maybe he steals the starting job again?
Well I thought about putting down a good young goalie like Dubnyk or Holtby here to give them Olympic experience since they're the future in net of Canada but Dubnyk wasn't invited to camp and Holtby I think is still too streaky. But if he's hot going into camp he could very well be here. The reason I have Price here is pretty much because he's on pretty much every roster prediction I see and I don't really like the other options available. I don't really believe in Price's ability but who knows? Maybe I'm wrong and he's the best goalie since Roy.
Well this is my Olympic roster, what's yours?