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.
Mar 26, 2015, 11:30 PM EDT
Winnipeg grabbed a big win today, too.
Mar 26, 2015, 10:16 PM EDT
A tough win turned into a bitter OT loss.
Mar 26, 2015, 10:13 PM EDT
Will anyone else join them tonight?
Mar 26, 2015, 9:48 PM EDT
The real winners might be the Edmonton Oilers.
Mar 26, 2015, 9:12 PM EDT
Not a great night for Ottawa.
Mar 26, 2015, 8:58 PM EDT
Update your save of the year highlight packages.
Mar 26, 2015, 8:48 PM EDT
He seems OK after that tough, 2-on-1 check.
Mar 26, 2015, 8:41 PM EDT
Three goals allowed in 20 minutes by Detroit’s embattled starter.
Mar 26, 2015, 8:23 PM EDT
The Rangers forward felt encouraged by this latest step.
Mar 26, 2015, 7:03 PM EDT
He’s lining up with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron to start.
Mar 26, 2015, 6:37 PM EDT
A Vladimir Tarasenko hit shook him up on Tuesday.
Mar 26, 2015, 5:40 PM EDT
Vermont power forward was the club’s third-round pick in 2011.
Mar 26, 2015, 4:56 PM EDT
Featuring Erik Karlsson, Marc Methot and a guest appearance from Curtis Lazar.
Mar 26, 2015, 4:37 PM EDT
The 43-year-old has been a big influence on his young linemates.
Mar 26, 2015, 4:09 PM EDT
Granted, they have to make them first.
Mar 26, 2015, 3:44 PM EDT
Bruce Boudreau continues to “experiment” on defense.
Mar 26, 2015, 3:20 PM EDT
“Hopefully we realize that, come together and allow this group to stay together.”
Mar 26, 2015, 2:44 PM EDT
An interesting comment from his agent.
Mar 26, 2015, 2:14 PM EDT
News and notes from around the crease…
Mar 26, 2015, 1:57 PM EDT
“We are all thinking the same way and going the same direction.”
- Bruins can’t hold Ducks off, suffer sixth loss in a row 12
- Ticket punched: Rangers become first team to clinch 2015 playoff berth 2
- Coyotes ‘win’ against Sabres in OT 20
- Marchand: If Bruins miss playoffs, ‘this is going to be a much different group next year’ 16
- Is Lecavalier offering to retire early to facilitate trade out of Philly? 26
- Hextall insists he’s ‘on the same page’ with Snider 15
- Krejci ‘probable’ to return versus Ducks 10
- Flyers announce Simmonds, MacDonald done for the season with injuries 18
- Video: Flyers crush Blackhawks, Voracek joins league lead in points 11
- Report: Draft Lottery to be held on Apr. 18 14
- Dreger: ‘In Kessel’s case, I firmly believe he’s going to be traded’ (73)
- Red Wings beat Blues in OT, but should winning goal count? (56)
- Tank-worthy? Connor McDavid finishes OHL season with 120 points in 47 games (56)
- Report: No fine or suspension for Tyler Toffoli’s hit on Alex Burrows (51)
- Dubnyk leads Wild past Isles in SO, earns 10th straight road win (44)