I've been immersed in the Winter Olympics since Friday night and if you haven't been then you're from a warm country or a horrible human being. THE glamour event (no, not one of the figure skatings) starts tonight as the pursuit of the one gold medal that Canada cannot live without begins with a matchup with Norway. While every Canadian team at every level always goes in with the pressure of expectations these Olympics will be an entirely different animal. If the Canadians are going to win a gold medal they will have to win six games in twelve days. There are other iterations that involve draws and losses but they do not exist until they have to.
As much as Steve Yzerman has tried to deflect pressure onto the Russians (# 1 ranked in the world) and Swedes (defending Olympic Champions) the truth is that a major factor in declaring these Olympics a success will be whether the men's team brings home the gold. It's just the nature of the beast. It's no surprise that the sport that brings the most pressure in this country also brings the best results in international competition. Here is Canada's full roster and as much as people talk about the Russians having a good squad I think it's hard to argue that Canada isn't better top to bottom at every position.
Wan Ihite's fanpost has some information on the lines that the team was using at its one and only practice before tonight's opener. Bob McKenzie has the powerplay units:
The Canadians will also have a secret power play weapon in one of the top two lines in the NHL: Patrick Marleau - Joe Thornton - Dany Heatley. I believe that line will have some success tonight. Tonight is about getting the kinks out and figuring out some chemistry issues. Canada will whomp the Norweigians and repay them for their curling team's disrepespect from earlier in the day.
For a spectacular preview of the Olympic hockey tournament I suggest reading the following:
Full Team Canada roster after the jump.
|No||Nom||T/C||Gr.||Pds.||Né||Ville d'origine||Équipe LNH|
|Goaltenders/Gardiens de but|
|1||Roberto Luongo||L/G||6'3"||205||04/04/79||Montreal, Que./QC||Vancouver Canucks (NHL)|
|29||Marc-André Fleury||L/G||6'2"||180||11/28/84||Sorel, Que./QC||Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL)|
|30||Martin Brodeur||L/G||6'2"||210||05/06/72||Montreal, Que./QC||New Jersey Devils (NHL)|
|2||Duncan Keith||L/G||6'1"||194||07/16/83||Penticton, B.C./C.-B.||Chicago Blackhawks (NHL)|
|6||Shea Weber||R/D||6'4"||230||08/14/85||Sicamous, B.C./C.-B.||Nashville Predators (NHL)|
|7||Brent Seabrook||R/D||6'3"||220||04/20/85||Tsawwassen, B.C./C.-B.||Chicago Blackhawks (NHL)|
|8||Drew Doughty||R/D||6'1"||203||12/08/89||London, Ont.||Los Angeles Kings (NHL)|
|20||Chris Pronger||L/G||6'6"||213||10/10/74||Dryden, Ont.||Philadelphia Flyers (NHL)|
|22||Dan Boyle||R/D||5'11"||190||07/12/76||Ottawa, Ont.||San Jose Sharks (NHL)|
|27||Scott Niedermayer||L/G||6'1"||200||08/31/73||Cranbrook, B.C./C.-B.||Anaheim Ducks (NHL)|
|10||Brenden Morrow||L/G||5'11"||205||01/16/79||Carlyle, Sask.||Dallas Stars (NHL)|
|11||Patrick Marleau||L/G||6'2"||220||09//15/79||Aneroid, Sask.||San Jose Sharks (NHL)|
|12||Jarome Iginla||R/D||6'1"||203||07/01/77||St. Albert, Alta./Alb.||Calgary Flames (NHL)|
|15||Dany Heatley||L/G||6'3"||216||01/21/81||Calgary, Alta./Alb.||San Jose Sharks (NHL)|
|16||Jonathan Toews||L/G||6'2"||209||04/29/88||Winnipeg, Man.||Chicago Blackhawks (NHL)|
|18||Michael Richards||L/G||5'11"||195||02/11/85||Kenora, Ont.||Philadelphia Flyers (NHL)|
|19||Joe Thornton||L/G||6'4"||235||07/02/79||St. Thomas, Ont.||San Jose Sharks (NHL)|
|21||Eric Staal||L/G||6'4"||205||10/29/84||Thunder Bay, Ont.||Carolina Hurricanes (NHL)|
|24||Corey Perry||R/D||6'3"||209||03/16/85||Peterborough, Ont.||Anaheim Ducks (NHL)|
|37||Patrice Bergeron||R/D||6'2"||194||07/24/85||Sillery, Que./QC||Boston Bruins (NHL)|
|51||Ryan Getzlaf||R/D||6'4"||221||05/10/85||Regina, Sask.||Anaheim Ducks (NHL)|
|61||Rick Nash||L/G||6'4"||218||06/16/84||Brampton, Ont.||Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL)|
|87||Sidney Crosby||L/G||5'11"||200||08/07/87||Cole Harbour, N.S./N.-É.||Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL)|