2014 Winter Olympics: Who Will Reign As Champion?
The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi present us with the best hockey in the world, and with the final rosters released from each country participating, there has been speculation as to which country will bring home the gold medal. But what I would love to see is a rematch of the gold-medal game from the Vancouver Olympics in 2010. That would be a sight. And it’s safe to say that the U.S. and Canada have much more talent and skill than the teams from 4 years ago. That being said, lets take a closer look at these rosters and then you can decide who is the better team.
The North-American Teams:
We do see some differences in the picture I have here and the new final roster. Unfortunately, Steven Stamkos is unable to participate in Sochi because his tibia has not fully healed, so that will be a big loss to Canada. They have replaced him with Martin St. Louis, who is a great second choice. But have you seen this many great players on one continent? Each of these teams could easily win the gold medal and if they end up playing each other, you can expect it to be just as marvelous as the 2010 gold medal game in Vancouver.
Looking at Canada, you see the best of the best when it comes to NHL’s leaders in points, goals and assists. Sidney Crosby, regarded as the best player in the world, has the honor of being captain for Canada’s national team. We also see some big names on the roster like Corey Perry, Rick Nash, Jonathan Toews, Patrice Bergeron, Jamie Benn…. who are all first line players for their respective teams and in the top 10 for each stat category. And they are backed up by some of the most ruthless defensemen such as Shea Weber, Drew Doughty, Duncan Keith, M.E. Vlasic (Pickle for us Sharks fans) and Alex Pietrangelo. Goaltending is no joke either, as both Roberto Luongo and Carey Price are elite international goaltenders who will fight for the starting position. Mike Smith has really come into his own, carrying the Phoenix (soon to be Arizona) Coyotes in the Western Conference, which makes him a solid choice.
With the U.S. we see a really young team with a few returning players from the 2010 U.S. Olympic Squad. Joe Pavelski is playing very well for the Sharks right now, definitely the most consistent player on the team. T.J. Oshie and David Backes will be a power line, combining speed, power and great chemistry. Max Pacioretty, Zach Parise, who was just made captain, Patrick Kane, Ryan Kesler, and Phil Kessel. On the blue line we see more great defenseman like Ryan Suter, Ryan McDonagh, and Cam Fowler, who are all big names for their respective clubs in the NHL. In net, they are pretty stacked as well, with Stanley Cup Champion Jonathan Quick and Ryan Miller, who has been playing phenomenal behind a struggling (I’m being very euphemistic) Sabres team.
Despite the extremely stacked roster for Canada, I feel that the speed and talent of the Americans will definitely give Canada a run for their money. But enough of what I think, I want to hear from you guys! Who do you think will win the gold medal? In a match up between these two powerhouses, who will prevail? I guess we’ll find out in a few days!