We already one great post at Olympic hopefuls for Vancouver but, as you may have seen, the SB Nation Hockey group has been running a series of previews as well, so Sean and I have to run one more least the higher-ups flog us.
We disagree on some of these too but that's the fun part. Here's our take on the Vancouver Canucks who - for the first time ever? - have the easy commute.
Pack Your Bags & Walk To Work
|2009 - Roberto Luongo||20||1124||10||9||48||2.56||531||483||.910||1|
Roberto Luongo (Canada) - Let's get the big one out of the way. The meltdown that was the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino left a bad taste in Lui's mouth. Everyone knows he's been eying these winter games in his own city like a fat kid froths at a cake from 100 yards off. Let the haters hate on him, but he's a lock and we all know it. But the starter? Probably not. Brodeur is still the pony to bet on and his November numbers were ridiculous (8-2-1, 1.67 GAA, .939 S%). Expect Luongo to pass Fleury and be Canada's #2 man between the pipes.
|2009 - Daniel Sedin||8||1||6||7||3||4||0||0||1||0||30||3.3|
Daniel Sedin (Sweden) - I don't think any other team can offer what Vancouver offers Sweden: an entire scoring line. Daniel had four points in eight games in 2006. And unlike in Vancouver, Daniel won't necessarily have to shoulder the offensive load with guys like Alfredsson, Backstrom, Eriksson, Zetterberg and Holstrom around. And I didn't even have to mention that Forsberg character either.
|2009 - Henrik Sedin||26||14||14||28||5||18||3||1||3||0||57||24.6|
Henrik Sedin (Sweden) - Yeah, see above. Same deal with points from 2006. Creepy.
Mikael Samuelsson (Sweden) - What does Sammy offer? Prior Olympic experience? You betcha: in 2006 he added four points in eight games for team Sweden. Stanley Cup experience? Check. Can sort of tell the Sedins apart? The jury's probably out on that one.
|2009 - Sami Salo||19||0||2||2||3||2||0||0||0||0||30||0.0|
Sami Salo (Finland) - Great grandma's fragile chinaset Batman...the last thing poor Sami needs is MORE icetime. Finland's blueline isn't too deep as far as the NHL goes (only Timonen, Pitkanen and Koistinen spring to mind) and they can always elect to raid the European elite leagues or the KHL for replacements (Ossi Vaananen!!!). Salo has played in 10 Olympic games and has scored one goal and added three helpers.
|2009 - Christian Ehrhoff||28||6||11||17||9||10||3||0||0||0||59||10.2|
Christian Ehrhoff (Germany) - Blastoff is one of the few shining stars for Team Germany. This will actually be his third appearance in international play: he was the second youngest player back in 2002 and had two points in five games back in 2006. He'll join Schuber and Seidenberg on the blueline and get a truck load of work since Germany is, well, awful (they haven't finished higher than sixth in damn near 20 years).
Nearly A Lock
|2009 - Ryan Kesler||28||5||21||26||2||28||2||0||1||0||72||6.9|
Ryan Kesler (USA) - Sean disagrees with me and I can certainly see why. However he wasn't a lock when the roster was first looked at this summer. He needed to go into camp, gel with the linemates and prove his worth. He's had a strong season so far and, though guys like Kane and Parise have past him on the scoresheet, Kesler has more points than both Brown and Backes so chances are he'll make it. He better too since he already went ahead and guaranteed a medal.
Work To Do
Pavol Demitra (Slovakia) - I'm sure Demo would like nothing more than to join Hossa, Gaborik and Chara representing Slovakia, but obviously he has to be able to play first. It's probable he could be replaced by someone like Nagy or Satan if he can't make it. And, even then, I'm curious how Vancouver would feel letting him go play for the Olympics when he has yet to skate for the team. Demo clearly has the most work to do of all the current roster players.
|2009 - Alexander Edler||28||3||19||22||2||12||1||0||0||0||51||5.9|
Alexander Edler (Sweden) - Edler's slow start coupled with a deep Swedish blueline (Lidstrom, Ericsson, Ohlund, Kronwall and maybe Hedman) probably nixes him from consideration.