December 27 2009 10:04PM
With the Olympics just under seven weeks away, Russia and Sweden have named their respective Ice Hockey rosters, while we Canadians patiently wait until Wednesday at 10:00 am (MT) for Steve Yzerman and company to announce our roster. With months of speculation behind us, we have but a few more days to come up with our own versions of Team Canada. Before I lay out my 'team of the day', let's take a look at what the Russian & Swedish teams have to offer.
After losing the bronze medal game to the Czech Republic at the 2006 Olympics in Italy, the Russians enter these Olympics as Canada's biggest threat. Made up of player's playing in the NHL and the KHL, here's what their roster will look like in Vancouver...
Maxim Afinogenov (ATL), Pavel Datsyuk (DET), Sergei Fedorov (KHL), Ilya Kovalchuk (ATL), Viktor Kozlov (KHL), Evgeni Malkin (PIT), Aleksey Morozov (KHL), Alex Ovechkin (WSH), Alexander Radulov (KHL), Alexander Semin (WSH), Danis Zaripov (KHL), Sergei Zinoviev (KHL)
Sergei Gonchar (PIT), Denis Grebeshkov (EDM), Dmitri Kalinin (KHL), Konstantin Korneyev (KHL), Andrei Markov (MTL), Ilya Nikulin (KHL), Fedor Tyutin (CBJ), Anton Volchenkov (OTT)
Ilya Bryzgalov (PHX), Evgeni Nabokov (SJ), Semyon Varlamov (WSH)
Some notable players not named to the squad... Alexei Kovalev, Alexei Yashin, Nikolai Zherdev and injured Oilers goalie Nikolai Khabibulin.
In an effort to defend their gold medal victory of 2006 in Turin, the Swedes have elected to go with a primarily veteran lineup, including 13 members off that '06 roster and 19 active NHLers. Without '06 captain Mats Sundin, this years version will be captained by Detroit defenceman Nicklas Lidstrom. Here's a look at their roster...
Daniel Alfredsson (OTT), Nicklas Backstrom (WSH), Loui Eriksson (DAL), Peter Forsberg (SEL), Tomas Holmstrom (DET), Patric Hornqvist (NSH), Fredrik Modin (CBJ), Samuel Pahlsson (CBJ), Daniel Sedin (VAN), Henrik Sedin (VAN), Mattias Weinhandl (KHL), Henrik Zetterberg (DET)
Tobias Enstrom (ATL), Magnus Johansson (SEL), Niklas Kronwall (DET), Nicklas Lidstrom (DET), Douglas Murray (SJ), Johnny Oduya (NJ), Henrik Tallinder (BUF), Mattias Ohlund (TB)
Jonas Gustavsson (TOR), Stefan Liv (SEL), Henrik Lundquist (NYR)
Without injured Detroit forward Johan Franzen, the biggest surprise to me is the exclusion of Canucks forward Mikael Samuelsson who was a part of the '06 squad, and the inclusion of oft-injured Columbus winger Fredrik Modin (although he was also a member of the '06 team).
Here in Canada, there will be no less than 3,072,634 TV networks airing the 10:00 announcement of the roster Wednesday morning. CTV, TSN, Rogers Sportsnet & NHL Network are just a few of the networks set to air the special broadcast (along with The FAN 960 in Calgary). With TSN & Sportsnet coming together for the Olympics, we'll get to see a "dream team" of experts come together as host Brian Williams will be joined by the likes of Daren Millard, Gord Miller, Pierre McGuire, Nick Kypreos, James Duthie, Bob McKenzie, Dave Hodge and I'm sure a slew of others.
With everyone and their dog picking a roster these days, I'll now take my ~esteemed~ turn.
Now I'm not so much set on the line combos/defence pairings, but that's how I feel at the moment. Of course, I reserve the right to change my mind and/or bash Hockey Canada if they lose even if they pick my exact roster. With names like Lecavalier, M. Richards, Carter, Smyth, Fisher, Bergeron, Doan, J. Staal, Stamkos, Doughty, Phaneuf & Green (just to name a few) also in the mix, Team Canada's roster could look a bit different than mine. One thing is for certain... Canada will not have a repeat performance of 2006 and finish 7th... right?
I showed you mine, now you show me yours. What does YOUR Team Canada look like?
NOW BRING ON THE GOLD!!