It may not be the most perfect narrative, but it certainly could have been worse. In one corner, we have Canada, a team that everybody expected to be here, with a suffocatingly high level of talent and execution of their system that has found a way to make greatness seem almost boring. In the other, we have Team Europe, a group of players who are old, wise, have never really played together, and may never play together again, looking to upset goliath on their own ice.
It’s not very likely at all, but hey, let’s make the most of the occasion.
Tonight’s game will kick off at 8:00 PM EST at the Air Canada Centre. That’s 6:00 PM in Alberta, 5:00 PM in Vancouver, and 7:00 PM in scenic Manitoba. For our east coasters, that’s 9:00 PM or 9:30 PM if you’re subjected to living in scenic Newfoundland.
Brad Marchand – Sidney Crosby – Patrice Bergeron
John Tavares – Claude Giroux – Steven Stamkos
Logan Couture – Jonathan Toews – Corey Perry
Joe Thornton – Ryan O’Reilly – Matt Duchene
Marc-Eduard Vlasic – Shea Weber
Jay Bouwmeester – Drew Doughty
Alex Pietrangelo – Brent Burns
Tomas Tatar – Anze Kopitar – Marian Hossa
Nino Niederreiter – Frans Nielsen – Mats Zuccarello
Thomas Vanek – Leon Draisaitl – Tobias Reider
Mikkel Boedker – Pierre-Edouard Bellemare – Jannik Hansen
Zdeno Chara – Andrej Sekera
Roman Josi – Dennis Seidenberg
Christian Ehrhoff – Mark Streit
Three Things Worth Noting
- Carey Price vs. Jaroslav Halak takes us back to a simpler time, where the Montreal Canadiens were a somewhat successful mess rather than a disastrously bad one, and their worst case scenario in net was just pretty good goaltending and not a draft lottery position. The fan debates between the two were legendary, and while history has concluded that sticking with Price was the right call, having a big time event where they can fight for all the marbles sounds like a lot of fun.
- Speaking of people who get a chance to exhibit some I Told You Sos, former Edmonton Oilers head coach Ralph Kreuger is behind the bench of Team Europe. Kreuger was known for his on-ice play in Germany and his off-ice work with the Swiss hockey program, before coming back to North America and bringing the Oilers to a slightly more respectable record and getting fired (over Skype!) just a single season in. Kreuger has already stated his commitment to being a chairman in the English Premier League for now, but a continued good effort could do wonders for his odds of returning to the NHL some day.
- The Europeans will be without Marian Gaborik tonight. The LA Kings forward injured his foot while blocking a shot in the first period against Sweden, and will miss the next eight weeks with an injury. Mikkel Boedker comes in as a replacement.