The Team Canada roster, representing our nation in Sochi, Russia, looks good. But, like everyone else, I have my own ideas about how to make the team better.
I believe that it wouldn’t be Team Canada if they didn’t include Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews, Steven Stamkos, Patrick Sharp, and Patrice Bergeron, and I’m anxious to see them play. I believe that the front line is a powerful mix of offensive force as well as lines that have the potential to work well together. But there are a couple of changes I would make regarding forwards.
Jeff Carter of the LA Kings is a good forward, but is there someone else who would fit better? I would replace Carter with Carolina Hurricanes Eric Staal. Staal has ten goals and 25 assists so far this season in comparison to Carter who has 15 goals and 12 assists. Staal always seems to be in the plays and knows how to place himself on the ice in order to capitalize.
New York Rangers Rick Nash was a surprise for me. I like Nash – I always have – but, as a player, he just doesn’t seem to be producing as much as I’d like. He’s tallied 9 goals and 9 assists this year. With 13 goals and 16 assists, former captain of the Calgary Flames, Jarome Iginla, has hit his stride with the Boston Bruins this year. I’d substitute Iginla in for Nash because once Jarome gets on a roll, he has a snowball effect in the NHL. After being under-utilized during his short time with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Iggy is finally showing the world exactly what he’s made of in the hockey world.
As for defense, I believe this will be Team Canada’s biggest weakness. I’m content with a roster that includes Jay Bouwmeester, Duncan Keith, P.K. Subban, and Shea Weber. They’re all big, strong, skilled defensemen. Yet, something is missing. Namely, Brent Seabrook.
Chicago Blackhawks d-man, Seabrook, has netted 5 goals and gained 26 assists this season. He’s dependable as a defenseman, and he’s solid as a set-up man. With four points in his last 5 games, I would have prefered to see him on Team Canada than Dan Hamhuis (4 goals, 10 assists this year) or Marc-Edouard Vlasic (4 goals and 12 assists).
Team Canada will be up against the best of each nation represented in the 2014 Sochi Olympics. With Artem Anisimov, Paval Datsyuk, and Alexander Ovechkin headlining the Russian team, Team Canada will face a lot of talent. Niklas Kronwall, Daniel Alfredsson, and Nicklas Backstrom are only part of the skill on the Swedish team. And Team USA, the ever-expected rival of Team Canada is stacked with David Backes, Dustin Brown, Patrick Kane, and Zach Parise, just to name a few.
Each team has it’s strengths and weaknesses, which will make this year’s Olympics an interesting array of capabilities and expertise on a global stage. These are the best of the best in the entire world and I’m looking forward to watching this story play out on the ice in February!