Team Canada kicks off its defence of Olympic gold today, facing Norway in what is a late night game in Sochi but an awfully early one on this side of the Atlantic.
Canada is expected to use the following line combinations against the Norwegians, though of course with a larger international roster (allowing two extra dressed skaters than an NHL roster) there will be more flexibility than normal.
- Chris Kunitz – Sidney Crosby – Jeff Carter
- Patrick Marleau – Ryan Getzlaf – Corey Perry
- Patrick Sharp – Jonathan Toews – Rick Nash
- Jamie Benn – John Tavares – Patrice Bergeron
- Martin St. Louis
- Duncan Keith – Shea Weber
- Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Drew Doughty
- Jay Bouwmeester – Alex Pietrangelo
- Dan Hamhuis
- Carey Price
- Roberto Luongo
Elsewhere in Sochi
Scores from the first two days of the tournament:
- Sweden 4 – Czech Republic 2
- Switzerland 1 – Latvia 0
- Finland 8 – Austria 4
- United States 7 – Slovakia 1
- Russia 5 – Slovenia 2
The U.S. win was decisive, but interestingly they ran up the score only against Slovakia’s bottom-six forwards and bottom-four defencemen (all of whom got regular shifts from a generous Slovak coach). Despite the score, they finished even against Slovakia’s top-four D, which means they may yet have trouble scoring in tougher matches.
I didn’t see the Russian game, but Anton Belov scored a goal there, had two shots and finished plus-one in a little over 10 minutes of ice time.
Ales Hemsky was barely used in the Czech Republic’s loss to Sweden, but looked good when he finally got on the ice in the third period. The Czechs have the talent to compete for a medal, but the management and coaching seems perfectly atrocious. From picking people like Petr Nedved and Roman Cervenka over Jiri Hudler and Radim Vrbata to giving Ladislav Smid 0:00 TOI in a game where Michal Barinka played more than 15 minutes, one would almost think that the people running the Czech team were intentionally sewering the club.
That’s tough for Hemsky and Smid, who have seen their fair share of hardship in the NHL, but great for the other medal contenders who face a critically weakened Czech squad.
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