The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia are approaching quickly. Bitter rivalries, intensity, dedication and honour are just some of the great reasons to be excited for this tournament. I find the roster selection and the thought of all these great stars playing side by side very interesting. Does a team like Canada throw a bunch of offensive players on their roster and hope to vastly outscore their opponents? Or do they assemble a more balanced team with some great two-way players, leaving some very talented scorers off the roster? That is exactly what I'll be trying to get to the bottom of, in a series of posts covering all the contenders possible rosters and line combinations in the 2014 Winter Olympics. Enjoy.
Canada has invited 47 players to their orientation camp. There is some serious skill among those 47 players. Unfortunately only 23 will make the cut to compete for gold. Speed has to be a major emphasis for Canada given the large international ice surface in Russia and the opposing countries top end speed. They do have a tendency to select veteran players over the young guns. Canada is in a great position to start ushering in some younger talent while still having a decent amount of veterans to lead the way. Out with the old and in with the new. Take a longer look at Logan Couture, John Tavares and P.K. Subban who are quickly becoming NHL stars. Move on from Joe Thornton, Eric Staal and Dan Boyle. Tough decisions will have to be made, some great players will be left off the roster. One thing's for certain, Canada will have an amazing team that can compete with anybody in this tournament no matter who they select of those 47 invitees. Listed below is my projected Canada roster.
This was extremely tough, so many good players, not enough spots. Canada's forward depth is outstanding. A phenomenal mix of veterans and youth make up my list of projected forwards.
Gone from the 2010 Gold Medal Team are Heatley, Iginla, Marleau, Morrow, E.Staal and Thornton.
In for 2014 are Giroux, Tavares, Stamkos, St.Louis, Couture and Sharp.
Returning for Canada are veterans Crosby, Nash, Bergeron, Toews, Richards, Getzlaf and Perry.
Martin St.Louis seems ageless and has not lost a step, still showing he is one of the best in the NHL, how well he starts the 13-14 season will play a big factor if he makes this team or not.
People may say that Tavares is too slow for the international ice but that is in the past. Tavares has worked extremely hard on his skating over the last few years and last season he showed just how good of a skater he is now, we can put that notion to rest. He has incredible vision, can score and set up plays like nobody's business, that alone lands him a roster spot.
Logan Couture should get a ton of attention from the Hockey Canada brass. Couture can play in all 3 zones, his two-way game is beyond his years, he can line up against top lines, has an all-star offensive arsenal, was 3rd overall in blocked shots among forwards last season, plays with intensity every shift...you catch my drift...he's great.
The 13th forward spot was a toss-up, Hall and Eberle were intriguing but Patrick Sharp is a great character player who can be effective in whatever his role is, can score big goals and his style will go a long way in a tournament like this...oh and he knows a little something about winning.
This is a good fusion of veterans, young stars, speed, scoring and grit that will make it very difficult for any team to compete against.
LW C RW
Rick Nash Sidney Crosby Claude Giroux
John Tavares Steven Stamkos Martin St.Louis
Patrice Bergeron Jonathan Toews Logan Couture
Mike Richards Ryan Getzlaf Corey Perry
I hope you enjoyed this blog and comment. My Team Canada Roster: Defence blog will be coming shortly. Team U.S.A. will be next. Thanks.