Odds have been released for the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games, pitting Team Canada as a 23/10 favourite to take home Gold in Men’s Hockey. Click to the web site.
The long-term injury to Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos (broken leg) is one of a few injury concerns for Canada’s team. Forward Rick Nash of the New York Rangers has been sidelined indefinitely with a concussion issue. Both were considered locks for the Sochi roster. A bubble option in forward Jeff Carter also is on the shelf with a lower-body injury. Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward has been banged up in the early season and the injury may have derailed his hopes of representing Canada at the Games.
There are no Toronto Maple Leafs who are likely to represent Canada in Sochi, but there are a few outside shots depending on injury or performance in the months leading up to the Games. Dion Phaneuf is an option on defence, while in net, where Canada’s biggest question mark resides, both Jonathan Bernier and James Reimer’s numbers have been good enough to warrant consideration. Toronto’s tandem represented Team Canada in the World Championships in 2012. Team Canada will bring three netminders to Sochi, with Roberto Luongo, Mike Smith and Carey Price considered among the current favourites.
The dynamic winger duo of James van Riemsdyk and Phil Kessel are sure bets for the Team USA roster, however, and will likely feature on the same line. The instant chemistry is a draw for the minds in charge of picking rosters that must gel quickly for the two-week tournament. Team Canada GM Steve Yzerman may apply the same thinking in bringing Chris Kunitz to play next to Sidney Crosby.
Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Carl Gunnarsson will likely don the Tre Kronor for Team Sweden. Toronto Marlies defenceman Korbinian Holzer, who played 22 games with the Maple Leafs last season, could represent Team Germany in the Games.
The 2014 Sochi Olympics get underway on February 7, 2014.