While some of the stars in the NHL decided to take a pass on this tournament (and true to form, Drew Doughty and Jeff Carter of the Kings declined, must have had some crazy partying in Vegas scheduled during the tournament I guess), but one who did not say no was the best player in the NHL, Sidney Crosby. It speaks volumes to his character when he answered the call for his country after others, like Doughty and Carter said no.
As far as the round robin portion goes for Canada, this one is definitely the easiest of the 4 games they'll play. After today, it's Germany Sunday, the Czech Republic Monday and then the Swedes on Wednesday. A fairly tough group, and they will not want to take even a moment off.
Lines will probably look like this:
- Crosby, Nathan MacKinnon, Jason Spezza
- Tyler Ennis, Claude Giroux, Tyler Seguin
- Taylor Hall, Matt Duchene, Jordan Eberle
- Sean Couturier, Ryan O'Reilly, Brayden Schenn
- Brent Burns, Jake Muzzin
- Aaron Ekblad, Tyson Barrie
- Dan Hamhuis, Patrick Wiercoch
In goal, it will be Mike Smith, and Martin Jones is the back up. We're gonna need to outscore teams, because this goaltending is looking like Canada's weakness. They have a decent defence, with a nice mix of experience, youth, speed and size. The forward lines are as imposing as any in the tournament, and may be the fastest team up front, with a number of legitimate world class snipers.
The Latvians meanwhile have no current NHL'ers in their lineup, but do feature former NHL'er Kaspars Daugavins, and have 11 players in total from Dynamo Riga of the KHL.
So grab a coffee and enjoy some hockey that for those of us who can't stomach the NHL once the Canucks are gone, actually means something. Go Canada Go!