The men’s team held their first practice on Monday in Sochi, Russia. This allowed us to see the initial lines that Coach Mike Babcock has in stores for the Olympics. Below are the lines that were playing together for forwards and defense.
Coach Babcock appears to be taking advantage of players that already play together in their respective NHL clubs in order to build off of their chemistry that they already have. The top line consists of Captain Sidney Crosby centering his teammate Chris Kunitz, and Jeff Carter from the Kings. Likewise, Ryan Getzlaf and Jonathan Toews also will be centering a line that has a teammate from their NHL team.
Canada also has the depth on offense and defense that is filled with experience and youth. In fact, Canada is returning 11 players from the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, in which they won gold on home soil.
What to look for
1. Sidney Crosby scored the game-winning goal for Canada in the Vancouver Olympics in 2010. That first line will look to repeat that success, led by the leadership of Crosby.
2. Martin St. Louis, Matt Duchene, P.K. Subban, and Dan Hamhuis are currently listed as extras on the roster. It will be interesting to see where Babcock chooses to use these players.
St. Louis, who recently received the call to play for Team Canada after teammate Steven Stamkos was ruled out due to injury, is currently 12th in the NHL in terms of goals scored and points (25 goals, 31 assists, 56 points), while Duchene leads his club in points and is 24th overall for points (50 points) on a young Avalanche team. It will be difficult to not incorporate them into the game strategy, whether it be filling in a couple shifts on the third or fourth line, or killing some penalties. Likewise, Subban has had success in the NHL this season and should be expected to break into the lineup throughout the Olympics.
**Team Canada takes on Norway tomorrow morning at 10AM Mountain Time**
Who do you expect to make the biggest impact for Team Canada?
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