2010 Olympic Hockey Outlook: Team Mexico

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2010 Olympic Hockey Outlook: Team Mexico

Mexico comes into these Olympic games as a bit of an underdog, looking for respect on the world stage. They will have a very difficult road, as many of their star players may not be able to play.

Right Winger Rafael Marquez is completing a one-game suspension after head-butting Kazakhstan's Nik Antropov in qualifiers. Marquez later said that Antropov insulted his family. Although the zebras only gave him a two-minute minor penalty for interference, the IIHF later ruled it a suspendable action.

Enforcer Julio Cesar Chavez is still suffering from a self-inflicted minor wound after the blowout loss to Hungary. Chavez took offense to a Hungarian fan for throwing a hat on the ice, so he slammed through the glass and ran up into the stands in order to reach the offender. The referees called nothing on the play, because the whistle was blown before Chavez went through the glass.

Finally, Right Winger Giovanni dos Santos was also given a suspension after the 5-3 win over the Vatican City. Dos Santos kicked the puck into an empty net with 25 seconds remaining to put the game away and then proceeded to use a pre-paid phone as a form of celebration. He said later he wanted to call his grandma.

All of these factors make the Mexicans a very long shot to win the Olympic gold. But they still stay positive in the face of higher skilled players.

Forwards

First Line

C Cuauhtemoc Blanco, Chicago Fire

LW Emmanuel Ramirez, San Jeronimo Bears

RW Giovanni dos Santos, Tottenham Hotspur

 

Second Line

C Manuel Medina, Tecuala HC

LW Antonio Margarito, Tijuana HC

RW Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., HC Culiacan

 

Third Line

C Hector Alcatrez, Mexico City

LW Jorge Cantu, Florida Marlins

RW Rafael Marquez, Barcelona

 

Fourth Line

C Lorena Ochoa, Guadalajara HC

LW Raul Torres, Lomas Verdes Falcons

RW Guillermo Perez, Villahermosa Garrobos

 

Analysis

The Mexican offensive front has to be one of the weakest seen in many years. Blanco is the force, but he commonly breaks his sticks while shooting the puck. He is joined on the top line by complete unknown Emmanuel Ramirez and big time goal scorer Giovanni dos Santos.

The second line is one of the most feared in the Olympics, right up there with the Russian top line. The three enforcers have logged over 1,000 penalty minutes and boast 166 fighting majors in qualifying. None have registered a point to date and commonly begin a shift without gloves or sticks.

Jorge Cantu is the big name on the third line. He easily has the most scoring chances of any player on the roster, but he also completely whiffs on over 80 percent of his attempted shots. Rafael Marquez is uncertain of his status to play, but he normally devotes his whole three minutes of ice time to trash talking anyway. Nobody has a clue who Hector Alcatrez is.

The best goal scorer on the team is Lorena Ochoa, but she is extremely injury-prone. She can only take a shot if she has more than a minute and a half to shoot the puck from a stationary location. Torres and Perez are unknowns and neither have seen any ice time in qualifying.

Backup Options

None.

 

Defensemen

First Pairing

LD Jose Luis Ramirez, Team Racing

RD Jesus Cortez, Metepec Tigres

 

Second Pairing

LD Martika Ibarra, HC Playboy Magazine

RD Liliana Dominguez, Vogue HC

 

Third Pairing

LD Carlos Mencia, Comedy Central Intramural HC

RD Jose del Castillo, Cuatitlan Izcally

 

Analysis

The defense may be even more inept than the offense. The unit currently quadruples every other IIHF team put together in goals put in their own net. There are no big names or star players in this group.

The first pairing is lead by Jose Luis Ramirez, who is famous for his specially made fire-retardant jersey. He is also the only player to wear a three-digit number. Jesus Cortez claims he can walk on water, even if it is frozen. Neither have registered a shot on net.

The second pairing is by far the most effective, and has drawn comparison to the top Canadian line of Pronger and Niedermayer. Ibarra and Dominguez lead the IIHF in take-aways, probably because are experts at seduction. They also lead the IIHF in delay-of-game minors.

The third line has its heroes, too. The 41-year-old Carlos Mencia is already drawing Chris Chelios comparisons. Mencia commonly plays close to the net and has scored countless times on his own net, yelling "Dee Dee Dee!" afterwards. He will be partnered with conniption expert Jose del Castillo, who delivers an average of four Hall of Fame meltdowns per game.

Backup Options

Zero

 

Goaltending

Starter

G Gabriel Iglesias, Comedy Central Intramural HC

 

Backup

G Oswaldo Sanchez, Guadalajara

 

Analysis

Sanchez was the favorite to win the job coming in, but he kept punting the puck back to the other team. After letting in 17 goals against Uzbekistan, he was pulled in favor of Gabriel Iglesias. Despite not moving a millimeter from the cage during the game, Iglesias instantly saw better results and was named starter for good.

Backup Options

Not a chance

Coaching

Head Coach

George Lopez

Final Outcome

No medal. Defeated 124-0 by Belarus in the first Olympic game.

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