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Olympic bound Ducks

Posted 12:43 AM ET | Comments 0
The Anaheim Ducks are sending 7 players to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Cam Fowler was chosen for Team USA, Teemu Selanne and Sami Vatanen for Team Finland, Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf for Team Canada, Jonas Hiller for Team Switzerland, and Jakob Silfverberg for Team Sweden. I've already discussed Fowler, so I'll focus this post on the Ducks other 6 Olympians and also the players who were left off who had a chance to go to Sochi and were not chosen.

Selanne was chose for his record tying 6th Olympic games. While he hasn't had a very good season (though he did pick up his 5th goal of the season against Nashville earlier tonight), he still deserves to be a part of Team Finland. He can still score (though at a lesser rate than he used to) and he is a very good leader. The Finnish team has some very young players who will be making their Olympic debut and he will be one of their leaders on and off the ice. While Vatanen hasn't been good enough to force the Ducks to keep him in the lineup every night (and had a short stint in the AHL earlier this season), he has still had an effective year. This season, he has played in 35 games and scored 4 goals to go along with 6 assists and has an even rating on the year. He is a gifted offensive defenseman and will help Finland on their powerplay in Sochi. Ever since the Olympics started letting NHL players compete, Team Finland has won 3 medals. Hopefully they can finish in the top 3 again and send Teemu out with a medal during what will be his final Olympic games.

Getzlaf and Perry will look to defend the gold that they helped Canada claim 4 years ago. This year, Getzlaf has played in 43 games and has scored 22 goals and 30 assists (2 goals and an assist against Nashville tonight) and has a +20 rating. He's 4th in points in the league and he is in the conversation for the Hart Trophy this year. Though he is far from the clear cut winner, the fact that he is in the conversation is huge for the Ducks. Perry leads the team and is 2nd in the league with 25 goals (he scored against Nashville tonight) and has 22 assists and 47 points and also has a +20 rating. He has scored in 3 straight games and has been the Ducks leading goal scorer all season. Together, these 2 make up two thirds of the Ducks top line and form a deadly duo and will look to light up the opposition in Sochi.

Jonas Hiller currently has a personal best and franchise record 12 game winning streak. He has 21 wins, tied for 4th in the league. He has a save percentage of .912 and a goals against average of 2.40. While neither of those stats are elite status, he has played exceptional of late, making the big save when the Ducks need it. 4 years ago he was sensational, especially against Canada and the US. For the Swiss to have a chance, he's going to have to be sensational again. And based upon his recent play, he just might lead the Swiss to an upset.

Silfverberg is the surprise addition from the Ducks to make an Olympic roster. It's not because he's played bad, but Silfverberg has missed over half the season with injury and he's had a slow start since coming back from injury. So far this season he has played in 21 games and scored 5 goals and 6 assists and has a +6 rating. He's got a great shot and loves to put the puck on net. He started out the season on fire but hasn't been the same since his injury. Hopefully he can find his offensive game again soon. And the Olympics will be a chance for him to help out a stacked Sweden team. Sweden won gold back in 06, and he's going to try and help Sweden get back up on top 8 years later.

The most notable Duck to not be going to Sochi is Saku Koivu. But it's not becaue he wasn't chosen, it's because he asked to be left off the roster. He missed 15 games earlier this season and wants to make sure that he is healthy for the stretch run. This is probably his last chance at the Olympics and he has gone on record as saying this is one of the toughest decisions that he has ever made in his career. After Koivu, there weren't a lot of other Ducks who were considered for the Olympics. Kyle Palmieri was invited to the US camp over the summer, but he has not had a very strong season and it's fair to say that he played his way off the team. Hampus Lindholm has been excellent for the Ducks but is still just 19 years old (he'll be 20 in 11 days). Sweden has an incredibly deep roster and there is simply no place for him on this year's team. If the NHL still participates in the Olympics in 4 years, Lindholm will probably be in the running. Francois Beauchemin has been a rock for the Ducks most of this season, but there simply isn't room for him on Team Canada's roster. But a lot of people have been including him in what they are calling Canada's B team.

The Ducks will be well represented at Sochi, and each of them will be looking to bringing home a medal for their home country. Obviously, not all of the Ducks will win a medal since so many different teams are represented. But, more importantly, hopefully none of the Ducks get injured in Sochi, or get burned out. With so many integral players going to Sochi, there is a fear that the Ducks will be tired for the stretch run of the season (which arguably happened 4 years ago). Hopefully the Ducks players all go to Sochi and have a great time and represent the Ducks and their home countries well and have a great time. And then return home and help lead the Ducks deep into the playoffs.
Filed Under:   Anaheim Ducks   Winter Olympics  
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