All told, four of the Avalanche will represent their countries in Sochi. Please don't judge me for the inclusion of +/- in these tables. The widget thinks they're important. If you like, feel free to imagine a funny joke in their place, or a gif of a cat that thinks he's people.
USA, World's Foremost Hockey Superpower
#26 / Center / Colorado Avalanche
Dec 27, 1985
|2013 - Paul Stastny||12||18||30||7||16|
Paul is a veteran of the 2010 silver-medal team and captained the 2013 bronze-medal World Championship team. He plays an extremely complete 3-zone game, sees the ice with famously Lasik-approved vision, and has been identified by Avs brass as a leader, as evidenced by that second A on his sweater. So that's basically everything the Team USA selection committee was looking for. Stastny was considered a lock from early on in the team selection process.
His role on the team right now is a bit less certain. Stastny has been tapped for an offensive role with the USA national teams in less-talented outings (see aforementioned World Championships, when other players are still in the playoffs) and has past experience working well with Zach Parise in the Olympics and Phil Kessel in the dreams of Leafs fans. But in his professional career he has settled into more of a two-way, defense-against-the-toughs, David Backes/Ryan Kesler-lite type of role. But then a quick look around quickly reminds us that Kesler and Backes are also on this team so if Team USA is looking for that guy, they've already got one, you see?
Here's the full roster.
|David Backes||John Carlson|
|Dustin Brown||Justin Faulk|
|Ryan Callahan||Cam Fowler|
|Patrick Kane||Paul Martin|
|Ryan Kesler||Ryan McDonagh|
|TJ Oshie||Kevin Shattenkirk|
|Max Pacioretty||Ryan Suter|
|Joe Pavelski, destroyer of Avs||Goalies|
|Paul Stastny||Jimmy Howard|
|Derek Stepan||Ryan Miller|
|James van Riemsdyk||Jonathan Quick|
Unfortunately, Erik Johnson only received a role as Sir Not Appearing In This Film. Enough ink has been spilled on that here; I won't shed any more, as tempting as it is to get all ranty. This is a positive fucking post, god dammit.
Canadian Red Army
#9 / Center / Colorado Avalanche
Jan 16, 1991
|2013 - Matt Duchene||16||22||38||6||13|
Well it certainly took them long enough to shut up and make with the announcing but here we are.
Wonder no more, Matt Duchene is an Olympian (and the youngest on Team Canada's roster, as c6hor8 would like us all to know). His passing ability, his pure skating, quickness and speed, as well as his rapidly developing shot had him penciled in by many prognosticators, not just as a member of the team, but as a lock. This is for Canada, who have the talent to get away with leaving 30 goal scorers home. (Somebody wake up Bobby Ryan before he misses that nod.)
Although Duchene has certainly continued to make strides in his defensive game, Canada would be remiss to use him that way. Let him go unleash the wrister and make Holy Shit What Did He Just Do spinny passes across seams. Pundits and wonks have placed him on a multitude of lines, though--perhaps the most tantalizing opposite Stamkos, on Crosby's wing--and with the team unlikely to settle on line combinations until the end of round-robin play, we might not know what Duchene's Games will hold until they're half over.
|Jamie Benn||Jay Bouwmeester|
|Patrice Bergeron||Drew Doughty|
|Jeff Carter||Dan Hamuis|
|Sidney Crosby||Duncan Keith|
|Matt Duchene||Alex Pietrangelo|
|Ryan Getzlaf||PK Subban|
|Chris Kunitz||Marc-Eduard Vlasic|
|Patrick Marleau||Shea Weber|
|Patrick Sharp||Roberto Luongo|
|Steven Stamkos||Carey Price|
|John Tavares||Mike Smith|
Stunning many, including most of us, defenseman Jan Hejda was not named to his country's team. Hejda was a member of their 2010 Vancouver squad and is a better player than he was then. Hejda told Mike Chambers this back in December:
Avs defenseman Jan Hejda has issue with Czech Republic Olympic team coach Alois Hadamczik, and Hejda won’t represent his country in February unless he and Hadamczik have a healthy heart-to-heart conversation about what’s going to happen with the team in Sochi, Russia. The roster deadline is Jan. 6, and Hejda said he will contact Hadamczik that day if he doesn’t hear from the coach until then. Bottom line: Hejda won’t play for his former Czech coach if his style hasn’t changed (All Things Avs).
The Czech roster is a real head scratcher for other reasons as well. If the Czechs want to win on the international stage any time soon, they need to get this process sorted for 2018.
Glorious Country Host Mother Russia))))))
#1 / Goalie / Colorado Avalanche
Apr 27, 1988
|2013 - Semyon Varlamov||32||1863||19||8||73||2.35||999||926||.927||1|
His legal troubles firmly in the rear-view mirror, Varlamov has been able to focus on playing hockey. And how! Varlamov was easily the KHL's best netminder during the 2012 owner lockout, in terms of numbers, and apart from half a Vezina-worthy season last year out of Sergei Bobrovsky, has been the best Russian goalie in North America. We can reasonably expect Varlamov to play most of Russia's round robin games and all of their knockout rounds, assuming he doesn't come down with a case of the terribles or something.
You won't have heard of all of these guys, probably. The Russians currently have a pretty weak showing in the NHL. Only 25 skaters have played a game here this season. That aside though the Russian hockey federation has a bizarre political tendency to pick KHLers anyway, despite NHL players having demonstrably better competition to train against. Who knows? I've listed KHL affiliations and strange international spellings where appropriate.
|Artem (Artyom) Anisimov||Anton Belov|
|Pavel Datsyuk, the Magic Man||Andrei Markov|
|Denis Kokarev (Dynamo Moscow)||Yevgeni Medvedev (Ak Bars Kazan)|
|Ilya Kovulchuk (SKA St. Petersburg)||Nikita Nikitin|
|Nikolai Kulemin (Kulyomin)||Ilya Nikulin (Ak Bars Kazan)|
|Evgeni (Yevgeni) Malkin||Fyodor Tyutin|
|Valeri Nichushkin||Slava Voynov (Vyacheslav Voinov)|
|Alexander Ovechkin||Alexei Emelin (Yemelin)|
|Andrei Popov (Avangard Omsk)|
|Alexander Radulov (CSKA Moscow)||Goalies|
|Sergei Soin (Dynamo Moscow)||Sergei Bobrovsky|
|Vladimir Tarasenko||Semyon Varlamov|
|Alexei Tereshchenko (Ak Bars Kazan)||Alexander Yeryomenko (Dynamo Moscow)|
|VIktor Tikhonov (SKA St. Petersburg)|
#92 / Left Wing / Colorado Avalanche
Nov 23, 1992
|2013 - Gabriel Landeskog||12||19||31||8||27|
Landeskog joins what could be a seriously potent Swedish side, looking to me like a clear favorite to medal on paper (alongside Canada and behind the obviously golden US, of course). Now I can't speak to the truth of this but I have heard rumors that one reason Landeskog was invited is in the vague hopes that he does something heroic, so the Swedish government has an excuse to put that hair--oh, that hair--on a postage stamp.
Brace yourself for the boos of Leafs fans as we look at the rest of the roster.
|Daniel Alfredsson||Alexander Edler|
|Nicklas Backström||Oliver Ekman-Larsson|
|Patrik Berglund||Jonathan Ericsson|
|Jimmie Ericsson (Skellefteå AIK)||Niklas Hjalmarsson|
|Loui Eriksson||Erik Karlsson|
|Johan Franzen||Niklas Kronwall|
|Carl Hagelin||Johnny Oduya|
|Marcus Krüger||Henrik Tallinder|
|Henrik Sedin||Jhonas Endroth|
|Jakob Silfverberg||Jonas Gustavsson|
|Alexander Steen||Henrik Lundqvist|
Other interesting tidbits
- Former Lake Erie Monster Thomas Pöck will play for Austria
- Petr Nedved, who competed for Canada at Lillehammer, will play for the Czech side. He's 42 now.
- Aleksander Barkov was named to Team Finland. Obviously the Florida Panthers win the 2013 Draft.
- Jonas Holøs, now of Lokomotiv Yaroslavl and still imaginarily awesome, makes Norway's blue line.
- Peter Budaj was named to the Slovakian team again, though he will be competing with Jaroslav Halak for the net so...
- Sandis Ozolins, now of Dinamo Riga, gets the nod for Latvia
- Six of Slovakia's fourteen forwards are called Tomas. Seriously, Slovakia, let's open up the Baby Name Bible.
We'll see you guys back here on February 12, as group action kicks off. (I mean where else you gonna go, Hockey's Future boards? Come on!) Canada and the States both debut on February 13, against Norway and Slovakia, respectively.