When I was asked by Montreal Hockey Talk to choose which country I thought would bring home the Gold medal in the upcoming Olympics, Canada jumped to mind without hesitation.
While I am Canadian, this is in no way a prediction based solely on where my heart lies. The reason why Canada is known for hockey, and why not winning gold in any tournament we play in is unacceptable is simply because it is in our blood.
Hockey is Canadian culture. It’s no surprise that our country boasts the most talent when it comes to the game we hold so dear. That is not meant to disrespect any other country. This gold medal is in no way a guarantee. With the skill of Pavel Datsyuk, Evgeni Malkin and Alexander Ovechkin to name a few in Russia, the men between the pipes for Finland in Tuuka Rask, Pekka Rinne and Niklas Backstrom and the NHL stacked team the Americans will bring to Sochi, this will be no cake walk.
What Canada has that fuels my confidence however, is depth. With that said, here is the roster that wold be headed to Sochi, Russia in 2014 to compete for the gold medal if I were in charge of Team Canada.
Carey Price- Corey Crawford- Cam Ward
Price may not have backstopped his way into the “elite goaltender” category yet, but his outstanding play on a team that’s been less than mediocre for the majority of his career makes you wonder what he’s capable of on a star studded roster.
Ward has also done well on a basement team, and in 2006 he proved he can go all the way when his Conn Smyth winning performance lead his Carolina Hurricanes to a Stanley Cup championship.
Crawford is less experienced than Price and Ward and already has shown his ability to win by backstopping the Chicago Blackhawks to the Stanley Cup.
Duncan Keith – Brent Seabrook
Shea Weber – P.K. Subban
Drew Doughty – Kris Letang
Keith and Seabrook have two Stanley Cups together and an Olympic gold medal so they’re an ideal pairing. The absence of a player like Chris Pronger will definately be felt. Doughty and Weber can both play physical. Subban will chip in as well. With players like Letang, Keith, Subban and Doughty patrolling the blue line, it’s hard to imagine any other team coming close to providing as much scoring from the point as Canada will.
Rick Nash- Sidney Crosby- Patrice Bergeron
Claude Giroux- Steven Stamkos- Martin St. Louis
John Tavares- Jonathan Toews- Patrick Sharp
Mike Richards- Ryan Getzlaf- Corey Perry
Having Crosby, the world’s best player, on your roster is not a bad way to start. These lines would provide each trio with elite snipers who can put the puck in the net at any given moment. Bergeron and Toews are two of the best two way players in the game. Mike Richards plays a hard nosed style that will make the line of him sniper/pest Corey Perry and big bodied Getzlaf tough to play against.
No other country can match the depth Canada has in every position. The goaltending, while young, is stacked with three net minders who play focused hockey and have come up big in their careers for either their country or their NHL club.
Canada’s back end will be mostly made up up of offensive minded rearguards but the amount of talented two way forwards will make up for their lack of shut down defensemen.
Up front is any and every opposing goalitender’s nightmare. Having to face a team that will have multiple scoring threats on the ice shift after shift.
Canada has something to prove at Sochi. This country is proud to be heralded as the best in the world at hockey. That reputation is not something we take lightly and not something these players want to risk by coming home with anything other than gold.