It was a heady moment for Canada back in 2010 when their men’s hockey team took home the Olympic gold medal in their own backyard. Sidney Crosby provided the heroic goal in overtime of the gold medal game against Team USA, a goal that will live on in Canadian lore alongside Paul Henderson’s Summit Series winner against the Soviets in 1972.
Apropos, the Winter Olympics shift from the Canadian Rockies to the Soviet Tropics (doesn’t sound right does it?) in 2014, and Canada will be back in full force to defend the gold medal on enemy soil. The Canadian team will have many returning players from that victorious 2010 squad, led by Sidney Crosby.
Other players expected to be locks for the team include Drew Doughty, Jonathan Toews, John Tavares, Anaheim teammates Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf, Duncan Keith and Shea Weber.
The battle in goal appears to be between Carey Price and Roberto Luongo. Luongo backstopped the Canadians to their last gold medal, but is coming off a disappointing season. Price, on the other hand, has played tremendously in the past year and has played in intense game situations as a result of his playoff experiences with Montreal.
Other players that could make the Canadian squad include Matt Duchene, who’s having a great season under new Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Martin St. Louis, and P.K Subban. Much has been made of Subban’s viability for the team. The reigning Norris trophy winner’s defensive reliability has been called into question, leading some to believe he could be passed over.
One question mark remains for the Canadians in the form of Steven Stamkos, who’s been out since November with a broken tibia. It’s unclear whether Stamkos will be recovered from the injury in time to take his place on the team, which would’ve otherwise been a given.
New look jerseys draw ire of Canadians
One thing the Canadians won’t have in Sochi are impressive jerseys, at least according to the reviews of their recently unveiled hockey jerseys for the 2014 games. The jerseys, designed by Nike, have been called everything from cheap-looking, ugly, and bland, to Petro-Canada swag because of the resemblance of the Canadian maple leaf on the jerseys to the Canadian gas chain’s own leaf logo.
Having gold medals around their necks at the end of the tournament will go a long way to alleviating any fan angst over what the team wore while winning. While the jerseys do have a decidedly dull, practice jersey look to them, it’s unlikely most Canadians will be overly worried about how their team looks on the ice fashion-wise, but rather how they look hockey-wise.