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Martin Erat, RW, CZECH REPUBLIC
Martin Erat has been a fixture for the Czech national team since 2006, playing in three World Championships and two Olympic Games in that span. But an era will come to an end in Sochi.
This season, Erat has played himself out of contention for the Czech Republic roster. Of course, Erat will claim that Capitals head coach Adam Oates has coached him out of contention for the Czech Republic roster, making Erat a healthy scratch three times so far this season. Those were the first three healthy scratches of Erat's 12-year career.
But the Czech national team will only see Erat's numbers, and the numbers don't lie. Erat has zero goals and seven assists in 24 games with only 17 shots on goals. His average time on ice of 13:01 is the lowest of his career since 2002-03, according to Hockey-Reference.com.
Any chance of Erat salvaging a nightmarish season by playing for his country in the Olympics seems to have slipped away.
Karl Alzner, D, CANADA
Karl Alzner is having another solid season for the Washington Capitals.
The 25-year-old BC native has five assists for five points in 27 games with a plus-five rating and 10 penalty minutes. He leads all Capitals players in plus/minus rating and is second on the team in blocked shots.
When Alzner received his invite to Canada's Olympic camp this summer, he told Cam Tucker of MetroNews.ca that “there’s no better feeling. And I’m not even on the (Olympic) team. I’m just on their radar.”
Alzner won't make the Olympic roster this time around. But he will most definitely stay on "their radar" for the next four years, especially if he continues to stay in the lineup. Alzner has yet to miss a game this season and has played every game in each of the last three seasons as well.
Braden Holtby, G, CANADA
Braden Holtby was invited to Canada's Olympic camp this summer. But even Holtby told Brian McNally of CSNWashington.com that "it’s a little weird, me being the young guy," adding that "I probably have the least amount of Hockey Canada experience out of anyone." To his point, Holtby's only appearance in the red maple leaf came in the 2007 U-18 World Junior Championships. He made one appearance.
Additionally, the 24-year-old Saskatchewan native happens to be trying out for quite possibly the deepest of any position on any team in the entire tournament.
Case in point: Dan Rosen of NHL.com projects that in addition to Holtby, Team Canada will leave goalies Mike Smith, Josh Harding, Marc-Andre Fleury, Jonathan Bernier and Martin Brodeur off of their roster. It should be a narrow decision, however. Of the nine potential goalies Dan Rosen mentions for the Canadian Team, Holtby's .925 save percentage ranks ahead of all of them except for Carey Price, Harding and Bernier. Price is the only one of those three that Rosen named to the team.
Four years from now, expect Rosen and other hockey experts to be naming Holtby to the Canadian Olympic roster.