Canada is the second of an eight-part series previewing the upcoming Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Other team previews can be found here: Russia | USA | Sweden | Czech Republic | Slovakia | Finland | Mexico (Satire)
Vancouver is only the second Canadian city to host the winter Olympics, and the desire to bring home gold is more than ever. They will also bring an extraordinarily talented roster into the games.
The pressure will be at the highest possible level for the home team. And Canada has the skill to respond. A team that has many Olympic veterans will be mixed with the tremendous younger players.
This team heavily disappointed in Turin. Can anyone stop them this year?
C Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
LW Dany Heatley, Ottawa Senators
RW Jarome Iginla, Calgary Flames
C Joe Thornton, San Jose Sharks
LW Vincent Lecavalier, Tampa Bay Lightning
RW Marc Savard, Boston Bruins
C Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks
LW Rick Nash, Columbus Blue Jackets
RW Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks
C Mike Richards, Philadelphia Flyers
LW Jason Spezza, Ottawa Senators
RW Shane Doan, Phoenix Coyotes
This is a very deep roster, and there are still players out there that could easily be in the lineup. Crosby was left off the national roster in 2006 to much scrutiny, but he will center the top line alongside the goal-scoring prowess of Iginla and Heatley.
The second line has nearly as much offensive talent as the second. Joe Thornton is one of the best passing forwards in hockey, and he will have Lecavalier and Savard to dish to.
This is a sin for a third line. Getzlaf, Toews and Nash are in no way third liners, but here is where they are in a roster this deep. They are all terrific young players that will be very entertaining to watch once they take the ice.
The fourth line will combine two defensive minded forwards in Doan and Richards. Spezza will be the offensive balance to the line. Wait, this is a fourth line?
Simon Gagne, Philadelphia Flyers; Eric Staal, Carolina Hurricanes; Jeff Carter, Philadelphia Flyers; Brendan Morrow, Dallas Stars; Joe Sakic, Colorado Avalanche.
LD Scott Niedermayer, Anaheim Ducks
RD Chris Pronger, Anaheim Ducks
LD Mike Green, Washington Capitals
RD Dion Phaneuf, Calgary Flames
LD Dan Boyle, San Jose Sharks
RD Jay Bouwmeester, Florida Panthers
Every one of these guys could be a candidate for the number one defensive pairing. The top two have been forces on the Canadian blueline for some time now, and even though they are aging, they have aged like fine wine.
The second pairing is most intriguing. Mike Green is nearly a forward, and Dion Phaneuf is one of the most powerful hitting machines in the game.
The third pairing puts two more elite players together in Boyle and Bouwmeester. Boyle will bring an offensive cannon while Bouwmeester is much more comfortable playing defense. He can also shoot the puck when needed.
Shea Weber, Nashville Predators; Robin Regehr, Calgary Flames; Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks. If Niedermayer decides to hang up the skates, Regehr would be most likely to step in because of his defensive presence.
G Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils
G Roberto Luongo, Vancouver Canucks
Brodeur, despite being hurt, is the starter for Team Canada until proven otherwise. He is the only goalie with a gold medal on his resume. Luongo is also a tremendous goalie and should see some playing time, since he is at home in Vancouver.
Jean-Sebastian Giguere, Anaheim Ducks; Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins
Final Outcome: Silver Medal. Defeated by Russia 7-5 for the championship.