2010 Winter Olympics: Hockey Roster Predictions

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2010 Winter Olympics: Hockey Roster Predictions
(Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

Note: I wrote this before the USA roster for training camp was announced.  I promise.

 

Team Canada

Gagne-Crosby-Iginla
Nash-Getzlaf-Perry
Carter-Savard-Richards
Heatley-Spezza-Doan

Green-Weber
Boyle-Niedermayer|
Pronger-Phaneuf

Brodeur
Luongo
Mason

On paper, this is most likely the strongest team in the Olympics. However, we have said that many times, ultimately watching Team Canada fall short at the Olympics. As Herb Brooks always said, “All-Star teams fail because they rely solely on the individual’s talent.” Will this year be the difference?

 

Team USA

Parise-Gomez-Drury
Kessel-Modano-Kane
Brown-Kesler-Ryan
Booth-Backes-Stastny

Rafalski-Suter
Whitney-Komisarek
Johnson-Johnson

Thomas
Miller

Team USA has not had a good showing at many Olympics in years past. Other than the silver medal in 2002, the USA has not placed higher than fourth since the 1980 Miracle on Ice. With a potential all-Devils’ first line and a Vezina winner in net, the United States has the best shot they’ve had in years to win a medal. However, the competition is fierce, so coach Ron Wilson better have a few tricks up his sleeve.

 

Team Switzerland

Ryan Gardner-Romano Lemm- Roman Wick
Thomas Ziegler-Raffaele Sannitz-Martin Pluss
Thierry Paterlini-Sandy Jeannin-Thomas Deruns
Andres Ambuhl-Kevin Romy-Ivo Ruthemann

Mark Streit-Yannick Weber
Luca Sbisa-Mathias Seger
Roman Josi-Raphael Diaz

Martin Gerber
Daniel Manzato

Although not the weakest team in these Olympics, Switzerland is not sitting pretty at all. With only a few NHL players on their roster, it will have a tough time making it to the medal round. Switzerland has not finished higher than sixth place since 1952.

 

Team Norway

Ole-Kristian Tollefsen-Kristian Forsberg-Patrick Thoreson
Martin Roymark-Morten Ask-Anders Bastiansen
Marius Holtet-Mads Hansen-Peter Lorentzen
Per-Age Skroder-Andreas Martinsen-Tore Vikingstad

Jonas Holos-Lars Erik Lund
Anders Myrvold-Alexander Bonsaksen
Mats Trygg-Tommy Jakobsen

Ruben Smith
Pal Grotnes

Norway seldom qualifies for the Olympics, so simply being in Vancouver next year is a great achievement. Norway has never won a medal and has not participated in the Olympic games since the 1994 games in Atlanta. It has an unbelievably weak team with just one current NHL player (Tollefsen). Look for Norway to finish at the bottom of the standings.

 

Team Finland

M Koivu-S Koivu-Miettinen
Hagman-O Jokinen-Selanne
Peltonen-Filppula-Ruutu
J Jokinen-Nokelainen-Lehtinen

Timonen-Pitkanen
Salo-Numminen
Koistinen-Lydman

Kiprusoff
Backstrom

The silver medalists in Turin in 2006, Finland still has much of the talent they had then.  With a solid netminder in Kipper, some great defensemen and a full NHL roster, expect it to qualify for the medal round.

 

Team Sweden

D Sedin- H Sedin- Alfredsson
Holmstrom-Zetterberg-Franzen
Eriksson-Berglund-Backstrom
Huselius-Nylander-Samuelsson

Lidstrom-Kronwall
Edler-Enstrom
Oduya-Lilja

Lundqvist
Jonas Gustavsson

The reigning Olympic champions, Team Sweden has arguably the best team on ice. Sweden has two gold medals in its history, both in the last two decades. Although this lineup seems like the Detroit Red Wings and Co., the talent pool in the NHL for Sweden is endless. Imagine the Sedins and either Alfredsson or Zetterberg on a line. Serious talent. Look for Sweden to go back to the gold medal game and perhaps defend its title.

 

Team Russia

Ovechkin-Malkin-Semin
Kovalchuk-Datsyuk-Kovalev
Slava Kozlov-Viktor Kozlov-Filatov
Samsonov-Fedorov-Artyukhin

Markov-Gonchar
Grebeshkov-Tyutin
Kulikov-Kalinin

Bryzgalov
Khabibulin

Arguably the best offensive team in the Olympics, Russia lacks defense, which is often their problem in the Olympics. Long gone are the days when the USSR would dominate the Olympics. Team Russia has never won a gold medal, but perhaps this could be the year. With good goaltenders in net, the lack of defense may not prove to be a problem, but ultimately, if matched up against Canada or Sweden, it could prove to be the difference.

 

Team Latvia

Mikelis Redlihs-Janis Sprukts-Martins Karsums
Lauris Darzins-Armands Berzins-Herberts Vasijevs
Martins Cipulis-Aleksandrs Nizivijs-Girts Ankipans
Roberts Jekimovs-Guntis Dzerins-Aigars Cipruss

Karlis Skrastins-Rodrigo Lavins
Aleksandrs Jerofejevs-Kristaps Sotnieks
Guntis Galvins-Olegs Sorokins

Dmitrijs Zabotinskis
Sergejs Naumovs

Team Latvia is one of the weakest in the 2010 Olympics. With very little NHL experience on their roster and little talent, Latvia can only hope they get lucky enough to win a couple games. Look for them to finish down near the bottom of the standings.

 

Team Belarus

Salei-A Kostitsyn-S Kostitsyn
Grabovsky-Aleksandr Kulakov-Evgeny Kurilin
Andrei Mikhalev-Aleksei Ugarov-Sergei Zadelenov
Dmittry Dudik-Dmitry Meleshko-Oleg Antonenko

Andrei Bashko-Vladimir Denisov
Viktor Kostyuchenok-Aleksandr Makritsky
Oleg Leontiev-Sergei Kolosov

Vitali Koval
Dzmitry Milchakou

Although a weak team, Belarus has a glimpse of hope. With a potential first line that could do a bit of damage, Belarus could be looking at a top eight finish, something that would be very much appreciated by their country. Don’t expect Belarus to finish much higher than that, though.

 

Team Germany

Goc-Hecht-Sturm
Sturm-Philip Gogulla-Schubert
Eduard Lewandowski-Thomas Oppenheimer-Felix Shutz
John Tripp-Christoph Ullmann-Bill Trew

Ehrhoff-Seidenberg
Alexander Sulzer-Robin Breitbach
Robert Dietrich-Nikolai Goc

Thomas Greiss
Dimitrii Kotschnew

After losing Olaf Kolzig to retirement, Team Germany has not found a new goalie. It has a bit of NHL experience on the roster, but ultimately, this team does not have what it takes to win games on the international level. Look for Germany to also finish near the bottom.

 

Team Czech Republic

Elias-Krejci-Jagr
Michalek-Hudler-Hemsky
Olesz-Frolik-Havlat
Voracek-Lang-Hanzal

Spacek-Jamrlik
Kuba-Zidlicky
Kaberle-Kubina

Vokoun
Neuvirth

The Czechs are the reigning bronze medal champions and last won the gold medal in 1998 in that memorable shootout win. Nonetheless, this team is overshadowed by Canada, Sweden, Russia and the rest. The Czech Republic has the potential to return to the medal rounds, but don’t look for it to happen.

 

Team Slovakia

Demitra-Handzus-Hossa
Satan-Svatos-Gaborik
Peter Olvecky-Ladislav Nagy-Stefan Ruzicka
Marcel Hossa-Branko Radivojevic-Lubos Bartecko

Chara-Visnovsky
Sekera-Meszaros
Boris Valabik-Milan Jurcina

Halak
Budaj

In their short history since splitting from Czechoslovakia, the Slovaks have never made it to the medal round. Do not expect that trend to be turned around this year, as the team does not have the talent to succeed, especially if Marian Gaborik, its star player, is injured again.

 

Analysis

This will be the most exciting Olympics in recent memory. Especially with the possible lack of NHL players in the 2014 Olympics in Russia, players know this may be their last chance for gold medal glory for a long time.

 

The Final Four

Russia vs. Sweden
Finland vs. Canada

 

The bronze medal game

Finland vs. Russia

 

The gold medal game

Canada vs. Sweden

 

Final Results

Gold Medal: Sweden

Silver Medal: Canada

Bronze Medal: Russia

 

The rest

4. Finland
5. USA
6. Czech Republic
7. Slovakia
8. Switzerland
9. Belarus
10. Germany
11. Latvia
12. Norway

Alan Bass is a Senior Writer for Bleacher Report, the Community Leader for the NHL and Philadelphia Flyers’ section, and a writer for Prohockeynews.com,Insidehockey.com, and Hockey54.com.  You can contact him at ALN424@aol.com.

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