2014….The Countdown is On

Posted: April 12, 2012 by centennialsports in Puck

By John Spurr

The 2010 Men’s Olympic Hockey final was simultaneously one of the most stressful yet ecstatic moments of my life. It validated that sense of superiority that all Canadians carry with us, whether there’s any actual reason for this is open for debate. As we turn the page on that great game versus the damn dirty yanks, we can pretend that we’re kids again getting excited about Christmas and consider what our 2014 men’s team might look like.

Does this look like the chest of a world leader who doesn't get what he wants?.....Didn't think so

Of course we haven’t been informed whether or not the NHL players will actually get to go to the Sochi games but there are some positive rumblings. NHLPA president Donald Fehr was in Moscow in February meeting with Russian Overlord Czar Vladimir Putin. Obviously the only reason that these two would ever meet would be to discuss the viability of the NHLers participation in the marquee event during the Winter Olympics. The way I see it, on his home soil, what Putin wants, Putin gets.

Onto the speculative 2014 Canadian Men’s Olympic Hockey team. Goaltending is probably the easiest to figure out, the two best Canadian goalies are Marc-Andre Fleury and Carey Price. Fleury was the third goalie for the 2010 team but didn’t get to dress for a game. He is arguably the most athletic and technically sound goalie in the NHL. Price is a beast in net, he also possesses an extremely calm in-game demeanor, which is a trait that would serve him well in a tournament of this magnitude. The third goalie is a little more up in the air; Cam Ward would make for a solid third, as would Roberto Luongo depending on his health and mental stability from the scorns of ranting bandwagon Canucks fans.

The blue line would be significantly different from the 2010 team but shouldn’t be too surprising, with Dan Boyle probably too old and Brent Seabrook no longer possessing the speed to play on the big ice, here’s my seven defencemen. Shea Weber, Drew Doughty, Duncan Keith, Kris Letang, Alex Pietrangelo, Tyler Myers and Pernell Karl Subban. This group of D-men would give Canada a terrific blend of size, speed and playmaking ability, necessary for advancing the puck to the uber-talented forwards. Perhaps there is a young defenceman who is going to jump into the picture with an excellent year, Michael Del Zotto or Erik Gudbranson strike me as dark horses. Final point to consider with defencemen, the Sochi games will be played on international size ice so Yzerman might decide to go with a faster D, this could make one of those dark horse picks a reality.

The forwards are insane, we could make at least six lines of elite forwards but instead we will have to disappoint six or so top notch players. Our gluttony of centers is just ridiculous Sidney Crosby, Steven Stamkos, Jonathan Toews, Claude Giroux, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Ryan Getzlaf, Jordan Staal, Eric Staal, John Tavares, Jamie Benn and Jason Spezza. By no means do I think all those guys make the team, I don’t see Jordan Staal or Spezza getting in there off that initial list. Many of these traditional centers will play out on the wing as they did in Vancouver when we had seven natural centers on the team. I seriously have no idea how Yzerman will choose but I’ll pick eight; Crosby, Stamkos, Toews, Giroux, Tavares, the Nuge(yeah he’s gonna be unreal in two years), Getzlaf and Eric Staal.

On the left wing we boast current league MVP Corey Perry as well as Jeff Skinner, Matt Duchene and Taylor Hall. On the right wing we’ll have Rick Nash, Jordan Eberle, Milan Lucic and Tyler Seguin. The talent across our forward lines will be staggering but it will be interesting to see the roles that various players will be asked to play. If you remember the game against the Russians in 2010, our top checking line assigned to shutting down that ultra-skilled team down was Nash, Toews and Mike Richards. Toews will no doubt be our top-checking center as he is probably the toughest two way center in the NHL.

Yzerman builds teams with an eye for the bigger picture, players have defined roles and must simply do their part for the overall success of the 23-man team. Remember, Steve Stamkos watched the Olympics from his couch, as Yzerman selected Patrice Bergeron instead to win right side face-offs in the defensive end. This team will no doubt have a few surprise players who will have very specific tasks and specialized roles.

It’s still 22 months away from happening but when that team of f*cking studs is unveiled we are gonna see a roster that is probably superior to the team that took to the ice in Vancouver and they will methodically go about the destruction of the other hockey nations.


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