I’m really sorry I haven’t posted my thoughts on Canada’s announced roster on Tuesday, but I’ve been really busy lately what with pending exams and university application deadlines. Without further ado, here are my thoughts on Team Canada’s men’s ice hockey roster for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.
The only category where I was correct was with the goaltenders; all three of my predicted goalies, Roberto Luongo, Carey Price and Mike Smith made the team. That’s a deep pool for goalies, and goaltending won’t be a problem for Canada.
For the defensemen, my predictions of Brent Seabrook and Kris Letang didn’t make the team. To be honest, I’m not that surprised; the only reason Seabrook was considered is because of his great chemistry with Duncan Keith, who was a lock for the team. As for Letang, he’s known to be a defensive liability; he plays good offense, but Canada has enough of that. The defensement I didn’t predict to make it were Alex Pietrangelo, Dan Hamhuis and Marc-Edouard Vlasic (Jay Bouwmeester made it as well, though I had him down as an extra). Pietrangelo is a solid two-way defenseman who will play well; Hamhuis is a good stay-at-home defenseman who also knows when to join the rush, so he should be a good addition as well. I’m really surprised with the addition of Vlasic however, as I never thought him good enough to be of olympic calibre. Despite these surprises, the defensive corps is still looking very solid for Canada.
There were more surprises in the forwards category. My predictions of Martin St. Louis, Milan Lucic, Jarome Iginla, Eric Staal and Claude Giroux didn’t make the cut; taking their positions were Jamie Benn, Jeff Carter, Patrick Marleau, and Patrick Sharp. As for Lucic and Iginla, I think I knew deep down that they wouldn’t make it; they’re not fast enough for the big olympic ice. Staal isn’t having a great year, and I only predicted him as a last resort. However, the snubs of St. Louis and Giroux really came as a surprise. Steve Yzerman is the general manager of the Tampa Bay Lightening, so most people thought St. Louis would be a lock; even at an old age, he plays extremely well. I would certainly say he was one of the biggest olympics snubs this year. Giroux too is playing great this season, as he has the past three years; I was almost certain of his selection as well. I definitely think these players should have been picked over the likes of Jeff Carter and Patrick Marleau. The offense is still really solid and arguably the best of all teams present; as the saying goes, Canada could build another hockey team from the players they left off this one and still win olympic gold.
All in all, there were a few surprises in the olympic roster, but none too big. Canada definitely has a threatening team, and they’ll put forth a good fight as they seek to defend their olympic gold. As Yzerman said, Canada didn’t pick the best players, but they picked the right players. We’ll see if that is true in just over a month now; as with everyone else, I really can’t wait for the Olympics to begin, and I’m eagerly looking forward to February!