May 10, 2013, 4:14 PM EDT
With news of a working understanding that NHL players will participate in the upcoming Winter Olympics, we thought it’d be a good time to start looking at the fight for jobs in 2014.
Why four? Because the games are every four years, and I couldn’t come up with a fifth.
Who’ll be Canada’s starting netminder?
While the state of Canadian goaltending is hardly in flux, the current choices for No. 1 do come with question marks…
— Roberto Luongo, who led the country to gold in Vancouver, was resigned to a backup role with the Canucks.
— Carey Price struggled mightily for Montreal down the stretch and into the playoffs.
— Cam Ward suffered a season-ending knee injury in March.
— Martin Brodeur will be closing in on his 42nd birthday.
Who’ll be Finland’s starting netminder?
Almost the polar opposite situation from Canada’s — it could be argued Finland has the best goaltending depth in the world right now:
— Tuukka Rask, who just posted arguably the finest regular season of his career.
— Antti Niemi, who just received his first-ever Vezina nomiation.
— Pekka Rinne, who finished third in last year’s Vezina voting.
— Niklas Backstrom, who tied for the NHL lead in wins (24) this year.
— Kari Lehtonen, who posted back-to-back 3o-win seasons from 2010-12.
No shortage of quality candidates to choose from, and this list doesn’t even include Miikka Kiprusoff.
Who’ll be Team USA’s head coach?
The smart money is on Pittsburgh’s Dan Byslma who, since taking the Pens gig in 2009, has:
— Posted a 201-92-25 regular-season record (.671 winning percentage).
— Qualified for the playoffs every year, won Stanley Cup in 2009.
— Captured Jack Adams in 2011.
Despite that resume, Bylsma will have challengers for the gig.
New York’s John Tortorella and Philadelphia’s Peter Laviolette will likely be in the mix, as both have coached at the national team level in previous years.
Jack Capuano, coming off a highly-successful campaign with the Islanders, will also garner some consideration, as will Jackets bench boss Todd Richards after orchestrating a tremendous playoff push in Columbus.
Who’ll play defense for the Russians?
According to NHL.com, there were just nine Russian defensemen in the league this year — Andrei Markov, Sergei Gonchar, Slava Voynov, Fedor Tyutin, Alexei Emelin, Dmitry Kulikov, Nikita Nikitin, Anton Volchenkov and Dmitry Orlov.
It’s an odd group, age-wise:
— Gonchar (39) and Markov (35 in December) are old.
— Orlov (22), Kulikov (23) and Voynov (23) are young.
— The guys in the middle are…nothing to write home about.
There were signs of trouble on the Russian blueline during the ‘1o winter games, when the roster included three KHL defensemen (and a fourth, Edmonton’s Denis Grebeshkov, who would soon join them.)
Team Russia proceeded to allow 13 goals over four games, including seven in a quarterfinal loss to Canada.
May 25, 2015, 12:00 AM EDT
Two sides to the coin in a shutout.
May 24, 2015, 10:33 PM EDT
Bolts take a 3-2 series to Tampa Bay.
May 24, 2015, 9:36 PM EDT
The Lightning are 7-0 when scoring the first goal in the playoffs.
May 24, 2015, 9:17 PM EDT
Degree of difficulty: high.
May 24, 2015, 9:15 PM EDT
Blocking shots can be a grind, too, after all.
May 24, 2015, 8:07 PM EDT
May 24, 2015, 7:37 PM EDT
No clarification on what would qualify as “dramatic.”
May 24, 2015, 6:52 PM EDT
Who will grab a 3-2 series lead?
May 24, 2015, 5:58 PM EDT
Can Anaheim grind this series out?
May 24, 2015, 4:45 PM EDT
Things weren’t a “perfect fit” for the blue liner in Nashville.
May 24, 2015, 3:45 PM EDT
He coached Edmonton to a 17-25-9 record after Dallas Eakins was fired in December.
May 24, 2015, 2:45 PM EDT
He’s gone nine games without a point.
May 24, 2015, 1:45 PM EDT
He has not played since April 24.
May 24, 2015, 1:00 PM EDT
He’s set to become an unrestricted free agent in July.
May 24, 2015, 12:30 PM EDT
He missed Game 4 due to an undisclosed injury.
May 24, 2015, 11:41 AM EDT
He owes St. Louis one more season.
May 24, 2015, 10:46 AM EDT
He has not coached since being fired by the Penguins last June.
May 24, 2015, 2:05 AM EDT
“Finally got a bounce.”
May 24, 2015, 12:52 AM EDT
Chicago wins another long overtime game.
- Bishop bounced back in Game 5, but did the Rangers test him enough? 3
- Surging Stamkos: Lightning put Rangers on the brink 15
- Report: Blues will stick with Hitchcock ‘barring anything dramatic’ 11
- WATCH LIVE: Lightning at Rangers, Game 5 of Eastern Conference Final 0
- Kesler on wearing down Chicago: ‘No human can withstand that many hits’ 40
- Video: ‘It’s not the ideal situation,’ says OT hero Vermette of being a healthy scratch 5
- From healthy scratch to hero: Vermette scores OT winner for Blackhawks 60
- Video: Ducks score three goals in 37 seconds to take third-period lead 9
- WATCH LIVE: Ducks at Blackhawks, Western Conference Final Game 4 0
- Cooper on replacing Bishop: ‘That is asinine to me’ 25
- Reports: Sabres thought they had a deal with Babcock, aren’t happy (174)
- Leafs land Babcock with reported 8-year deal, estimated at $50 million (130)
- Russia to be punished for ‘completely out of order’ actions after Worlds final loss to Canada (91)
- Report: Sabres negotiating with Babcock (82)
- What’s wrong with Lundqvist? (70)