Canada poised for medal
Canada poised for medal
Crosby ups the expectations
But after winning gold in Moscow in 2007, and silver the next two years, the country has been out of the medals the last five years. If the offence can deliver, there’s every reason for Team Canada fans to be optimistic.
If there is a weakness on the team, it’s in goal. Mike Smith will be relied on to carry the load - certainly at first - and although he was the third goalie in Sochi his only previous experience was in 2013 when the team finished 5th. Playing on a weak Arizona team this year, he posted a 14-42-5 record in the NHL. His backup will be Martin Jones, whose only time in a Team Canada sweater came at the 2010 World Juniors. The L.A. Kings backup also played in 14 NHL games this season with an impressive 2.25 GAA.
The blue line is an impressive mix of youth and experience. Dan Hamhuis leads the way in as much as the 32-year-old won gold in Sochi and was also on that victorious 2007 team. Brent Burns, who played at the Worlds in 2008, 2009, and 2011, is also an important presence. At the other end of the spectrum is Aaron Ekblad, the 19-year-old who was the first overall draft choice of Florida last year and who had a sensational rookie season.
Any team that has a player of Sidney Crosby’s talent and abilities is a favourite. Two-time Olympic champion and NHL star for - yikes - a decade now, he brings success to the table every time he put on skates. But he is not alone. Consider the two pairings of Dallas - Tyler Seguin and Jason Spezza - and Edmonton - Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle. And Colorado’s Nathan McKinnon and Matt Duchene. And let’s not forget Claude Giroux and Brayden Schenn from Philadelphia. This is a lineup that is young, blazing fast, and full of scoring power.Continue reading
How odd for Canada’s most inexperienced person to be the coach! Yet, this is Todd McLellan’s maiden voyage to the World Championships - or international hockey, for that matter. However, he was a success with the San Jose Sharks for so long, it hardly feels like he doesn’t belong. He has the parts; he just has to get them working together and playing like a team.
It might be a slight exaggeration to say this is Canada’s gold to lose, but not by much. This team has the capability of going deep into the playoffs. If it can come together, play solid defence, and do its thing up front, a medal is a sure thing. Colour is the only debate.
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