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.
Aug 30, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT
Starring Devan Dubnyk.
Aug 29, 2015, 9:00 PM EDT
He’s currently an unrestricted free agent.
Aug 29, 2015, 7:30 PM EDT
Columbus bet heavily on him this summer.
Aug 29, 2015, 6:00 PM EDT
Just making the postseason would be seen as a good season, but perhaps the Blue Jackets are in position to do more.
Aug 29, 2015, 4:30 PM EDT
Carey Price leads the pack.
Aug 29, 2015, 3:00 PM EDT
This will be his first full season as a pro.
Aug 29, 2015, 1:30 PM EDT
They’ll be paying him like one.
Aug 29, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT
“We did lose a great man.”
Aug 29, 2015, 10:30 AM EDT
The Blue Jackets have to hope for better health this season.
Aug 29, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT
Looking to bounce back after an injury-ravaged campaign.
Aug 28, 2015, 10:15 PM EDT
You know, the one injured on “that” slash from P.K. Subban.
Aug 28, 2015, 9:00 PM EDT
Which is great news for Dallas.
Aug 28, 2015, 7:45 PM EDT
The club’s top pick at this year’s draft.
Aug 28, 2015, 6:30 PM EDT
Former Avs and Habs goalie spent all of last year in the AHL.
Aug 28, 2015, 5:15 PM EDT
Yet another NHL club hiring a fancy stats guy.
Aug 28, 2015, 3:55 PM EDT
Scored a career-high 19 goals and 40 points last year.
Aug 28, 2015, 3:00 PM EDT
Former Panthers, Devils head coach takes over a team that “hit a little bit of a rut.”
Aug 28, 2015, 1:40 PM EDT
After an up-and-down rookie year, he’s looking to solidify his spot.
Aug 28, 2015, 12:19 PM EDT
Legendary Isles coach had been battling Parkinson’s and dementia.
Aug 28, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT
Bit of an issue last season, if you’ll recall.
- Hall of Famer Al Arbour passes away 20
- Poll: Who will be San Jose’s next captain? 24
- It’s San Jose Sharks Day at PHT 25
- Mike Richards charged with possession of controlled substance 95
- Gio won’t go: Flames extend Giordano for six years, $40.5M 13
- Pens’ plan for now: Crosby starts as Kessel’s center 25
- O, Dear: Russia fined $85K for skipping Canadian anthem 31
- Kings ink Ehrhoff to a one-year, $1.5 million deal 27
- Quebec City, Vegas advance to final phase of NHL expansion process 50
- Here’s the full NHL 2015 preseason schedule, starting Sept. 20 5