Hockey Canada released its roster for invitees to compete for positions for Canada’s 2014 Olympic Team. A cursory look shows that three of the Boston Bruins made the cut for Canada. That times them for third with the Los Angeles Kings and the Washington Capitals. The Chicago Blackhawks lead all teams with five representatives.
While this camp is designed to begin to weed out people in the camp down in order to establish the final roster of twenty two players and three goalies, Team Canada may not even be able to take the ice. Why? The same major problem that held up the schedule. Insurance. The cost to insure half the teams in the leagues over losing their star players is prohibitive (and borders on the astronomical).
“Insurance is a big issue,” said Bob Nicholson (president of Hockey Canada) on Friday. “We got some quotes yesterday that it would be over a million dollars to skate. So if it’s that type of dollars, it’d be very difficult for us to do that. But we’re just starting to look into that now with the agreement being done.” A million dollars for two days. With the talent listed below, a million might not be enough.
Here is the opening roster for Team Canada:
Defensemen: Karl Alzer, Jay Bouwmeester, Dan Boyle, Drew Doughty, Mike Green, Dan Hamhuis, Travis Hamonic, Duncan Keith, Kris Letang, Marc Methot, Dion Phaneuf, Alex Pietrangelo, Brent Seabrook, Marc Staal, P.K. Subban, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Shea Weber
Forwards: Patrice Bergeron, Jeff Carter, Logan Couture, Sidney Crosby, Matt Duchene, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Getzlaf, Claude Giroux, Taylor Hall, Chris Kunitz, Andrew Ladd, Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand, Rick Nash, James Neal, Corey Perry, Mike Richards, Patrick Sharp, Eric Staal, Jordan Staal,Martin St. Louis, Steven Stamkos, John Tavares, Joe Thornton, Jonathan Toews
Patrice Bergeron was the only absolute given on my list. Bergeron is the best overall player on the Bruins, and he’s not just an amazing player, he’s a proven leader that will only help make Team Canada a nightmare to compete against. He was the only player on Team Canada that got a spot on the 2010 squad that wasn’t invited to camp last time. (They won the gold in 2010.) The only thing I see that hurts him here is just the obscene level of talent that is representing Team Canada. While Bergeron could play on the top line in practically any team in the NHL, with this amount of talent, I could see Bergeron on the second or third line.
Bergeron has the ability to do everything well, and of the three Bruins selected, he’s my first choice of Boston players to make the final roster.
Milan Lucic was on my ‘should get in’ list. He had a rough regular season last year, but came on like gang busters in the playoffs. His physicality will be hard for other squads to put up with. A lot of them already know that from their time in the NHL. Once again, the talent pool is just so great (Canada could probably send two teams, and have them both in medal contention.), that Lucic would see himself on the third or fourth line for Canada.
I had Brad Marchand on my ‘outside shot’ list. I’m glad that Hockey Canada chose a player like Marchand over a Jarome Iginla. Marchand abandoned most of his chirpy, pesty antics to become the Bruins leading scorer in the regular season. While his production fell off in the playoffs, he’s still one of those players that seems to be everywhere, and he’s an excellent play maker in his own right. It would be a little weird to see him back on the fourth line, but that is where he will likely end up.
I’m pretty sure all three Bruins will make the final cut for Team Canada. I’m an American, and I love my country but this preliminary roster alone is dangerous. Some of the best players in the NHL (and likely the world) will be on the ice in Sochi. Olympic Hockey will start of February 11th 2014.