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More 2010 Olympics talk

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So a few of the guys at ESPN decided to take a swing at what the rosters for Canada and the USofA might look like when it is time for the 2010 Olympics in oh, about 16 months.

Interesting stuff indeed, especially for people (like me) who love Olympic/International hockey. With that in mind, I figured I would re-post something I did during the Stanley Cup Finals. It was mostly a project cultivated out of boredom one night, but over the course of the playoffs once Washington was out I came up with my own projections for all seven of the important hockey-playing nations (and you’ll even get some line combinations as a bonus).

Putting them on here in May probably wasn’t the best timing for maximum viewership, so here is the redux. I think the Canadian and American rosters are pretty similar. The one guy that sticks out on my roster for Canada is Jordan Staal. He was GOING to be one of the league’s top shutdown centers by 2010, but now it looks like he is going to be Evgeni Malkin’s or Sidney Crosby’s sidekick since half the roster left town this summer. I’d probably just replace him with his brother Eric, who was the final cut from my team anyway. Or maybe Steven Stamkos.

So without futher ado…

A LOOK TOWARD VANCOUVER

As promised, here is an educated guess at what the rosters might look like for the 2010 Winter Olympics for the top seven countries (with a bonus eighth team at the end). Obviously there is another 1½ seasons between now and then. Players could emerge/fall apart, so there is some projection involved here. To me, there are few events in sports better than the hockey at the Olympics. If the NHL could continue some of the momentum it is creating with better TV ratings in this Cup final, I think these Olympics could be a great platform for elevating the sport. It should be a chance for guys like Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby and Patrick Kane to lead their countries with the world watching. For the record, there are eight current Washington Capitals properties on this list.

CANADA

G

Roberto Luongo

Marty Turco

Martin Brodeur

D Chris Pronger-Brian Campbell

Dion Phaneuf-Mike Green

Brent Seabrook-Jay Bouwmeester

Dan Boyle

F

Dany Heatley-Sidney Crosby-Jarome Iginla

Rick Nash-Vincent Lecavalier-Ryan Getzlaf

Brendan Morrow-Joe Thornton-Shane Doan

Jonathan Toews-Jordan Staal-Mike Richards

Jason Spezza-Brad Richards

Analysis: This is obviously like trying to pick an all-star team. There are going to be plenty of great players left out. The most controversial guy here is probably Jordan Staal instead of say, his older brother Eric or a national team regular like Ryan Smyth. This is a projection, and it says here Staal could be the top shutdown center in the league by 2010. Canada doesn’t always take the 12 most-skilled players. As always, the Canadians should be considered the favorite, especially on home ice.

RUSSIA

G

Evgeni Nabokov

Ilya Bryzgalov

Simeon Varlamov

D

Sergei Gonchar-Andrei Markov

Anton Volchenkov-Fedor Tyutin

Dmitri Kalinin-Dennis Grebeshkov

Sergei Zubov

F

Alex Ovechkin-Evgeni Malkin-Alex Kovalev

Ilya Kovalchuk-Pavel Datsyuk-Alexander Radulov

Alexander Semin-Alexei Yashin-Nikolai Zherdev

Alexander Frolov-Sergei Fedorov-Alexei Morozov

Maxim Afinogenov-Sergei Mozyakin

Analysis: Take another look at those top two lines. That is frightening. The Russians are likely to be a little light on defense (not sure if Zubov will still be playing, but this event could be the swan song for a few guys), but Nabokov and the ridiculous talent up front should help mask that. Clearly a favorite to medal and a top challenger to Canada, if not the overall favorite. Clearly the Russians have shown they can handle the Canadians on their home soil.

SWEDEN

G

Henrik Lundqvist

Johan Holmqvist

Jhonas Enroth

D

Nicklas Lidstrom-Niklas Kronwall

Niclas Havelid-Tobias Enstrom

Alex Edler-Mattias Ohlund

Viktor Hedman

F

Henrik Zetterberg-Nicklas Backstrom-Daniel Alfredsson

Daniel Sedin-Henrik Sedin-Loui Eriksson

Johan Franzen-Mats Sundin-Tomas Holmstrom

Fabian Brunnstrom-Samuel Pahlsson-Kristian Huselius

Patrik Berglund-Tony Martensson

Analysis: Sweden has had plenty of success in international tournaments recently and should be considered a favorite to medal in Vancouver. It is weird to see the differences between Sweden and the Czech Republic – the Swedes have a bountiful number of centers to choose from while the Czechs are loaded on the wing but thin up the middle. Notice those defense pairings (all three are teammates) weren’t by accident. After watching Hedman at the WJC this year, he certainly looks like the real deal.

USA

G

Rick DiPietro

Ryan Miller

Tim Thomas

D

Mike Komisarek-Erik Johnson

Ryan Whitney- Paul Martin

Tom Gilbert-Jack Johnson

John-Michael Liles

F

Zach Parise-Scott Gomez-Christopher Higgins

Peter Mueller-Patrick Kane-Dustin Brown

Ryan Malone- Paul Stastny -Jason Pominville

R.J. Umberger-Chris Drury-Phil Kessel

Erik Cole-Matt Cullen

Analysis: The recent wave of American kids in the NHL draft will start to show up on this team, but would be more prevalent in 2014 (though NHL players may not play in those games). Still, the changing of the guard that started with the past two world championships will be complete by 2010. Gone will be the names that have dominated USA hockey for more than a decade. There will be plenty of youth on this team, which hasn’t led to medals the past two years but could still make the Americans dangerous.

CZECH REPUBLIC

G

Tomas Vokoun

Ondrej Pavelec

Marek Schwarz

D

Tomas Kaberle-Michal Rozsival

Marek Zidlicky-Rostislav Klesla

Jaroslav Spacek-Zbynek Michalek

Pavel Kubina

F

Tomas Plekanec-Patrick Elias-Petr Sykora

Ales Hemsky-Martin Straka-Jaromir Jagr

Milan Hejduk-Vinny Prospal-Milan Michalek

Martin Havlat -Jiri Hudler-Martin Erat

Ales Kotalik-Jakub Voracek

Analysis: The Czechs are, much like the Americans, at a bit of a crossroads. Guys like Dominik Hasek and Jaromir Jagr have carried the country’s entries for years, but it will be time for new heroes to emerge. For this tournament, the Czechs appear to be a solid team that would probably need to spring an upset in the quarterfinals to play for a medal. As I mentioned before, they are thin at center. Voracek is a guy who could move up this depth chart pretty easily.

FINLAND

G

Mikka Kiprusoff

Niklas Backstrom

Kari Lehtonen

D

Kimmo Timonen-Joni Pitkanen

Toni Lydman-Sami Salo

Lasse Kukkonen-Sami Lepisto

Osi Vaanenen

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