For Team Russia, they sport a top-6 that no other country can match-up with outside of Canada. Pavel Datsyuk, Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin, Evegeni Malkin, Ilya Kovalchuk, and Maxim Afinogenov is some serious fire power. Their bottom-6 is still respectable, but politics prevented more NHL players from participating. Russia’s front office wanted their professional league, the KHL, to be thoroughly represented. So their 3rd and 4th lines will be compromised of all KHL players.
Russia’s defensive unit is notoriously their Achilles Heel and it will be no different in February. After Sergei Gonchar and Andrei Markov, it’s slim pickings.
Ilya Bryzgalov and Evegeni Nabokov are the two goalies.
Not that it should be a shock to any regular readers here, but there will be no Hawks representing Team Russia. So that’s one less player to worry about.
Sweden is throwing an aged and grizzled roster to Vancouver. They’ll be anchored by goalie Henrik Lundqvist, Nicklas Lidstrom, the Sedin Twins, Henrik Zetterberg, and Nicklas Backstrom. One guy who isn’t too happy with the roster selection is Vancouver’s Mikael Samuelsson. Here’s what his descriptive reaction was when he heard he wasn’t going to be a part of the Olympic team:
“Probably going to get in trouble for this, but they can go (expletive deleted) themselves,” is what Samuelsson said, according to several reports.
So yeah, he’s a little upset.
There was a late push for Ham Sandwich to be part of Sweden’s defensive corps but just like Russia, Sweden likes to have a couple players from their professional league represented. Ex-Hawk Magnus Johansson, who currently plays for Linkopings in the Swedish Elite League, was named as the seventh defenseman. No complaints here.
On Thursday, Bobby and I will be compiling our Team USA Olympic Roster for “The Committed Indian”. Be sure to pick one up.
–Meanwhile, back in the Central division, the Columbus Blue Jackets pulled off a fairly large trade on Monday afternoon with the Washington Capitals. The Capitals have felt they needed muscle since Colorado’s David Koci used Mike Green’s face to clean the glass. They acquired that muscle in Jason Chimera. Chimera can do other things too, of course. He brings a lot of speed and can finish off a lot of the rebounds that are a result of playing with the Capitals.
In return, Columbus received Washington’s captain, Chris Clark, and defenseman Milan Jurcina.
Now, the Jackets aren’t going to threaten the Hawks for the division lead this year. But with 5 games against them still remaining, it’s worth watching to see how they react to this trade. The Jackets seem to be really missing Michael Peca’s leadership and if it’s as big of a deal as some claim, then Clark should fill that void nicely. Defensively, they’re in desperate need of players with a pulse. So Jurcina is probably an upgrade there.
It’s also worth noting that last November, the St. Louis Blues traded Lee Stempniak to the Toronto Maple Leafs in what appeared to be a trade made for the future. When they received Alex Steen and Carlo Colaiacovo in exchange, the Blues record sat at 9-9-2. They finished the year 41-31-10.
The Jackets currently sit at 15-18-7 after beating the Red Wings 1-0 in overtime on Monday night. With 37 points, they are 8 points behind the 8th playoff seed.
That doesn’t mean Columbus is set to douse the NHL in flames. Just something to keep in mind.