I forget how "in" to the international ice hockey scene I really am until a day like today. At 11:00 this morning (CST), Canada announced their men's hockey team Olympic roster.
Getzlaf. Iginla. Pronger.
This is a talented bunch, folks. Hockey is essentially Canada's sport. Most of the greatest players ever to play the game have come from north of the border.
Brodeur. Toews. Nash.
Heck, the guys who were left OFF this list would make up a team talented enough to win the Stanley Cup. In a lot of cases, the guys on this roster are the best among the elite.
Crosby. Niedermayer. Luongo.
And even though they don't always win it all, it's usually a safe bet that the Canadian teams are the clear favorite going into almost every single major international tournament at any level.
Bergeron. Weber. Fleury.
Doesn't matter if it's World Juniors...
Keith. Seabrook. Morrow.
...or World Championships...
Thornton. Heatley. Marleau.
...or the Olympics.
Staal. Richards. Perry.
Oh, and have we mentioned that the Games are in Vancouver this year?
They are titans. They are prestige. There's not a weak link in the chain. The Russians may be able to match them in skill, but not in goal, on defense, or in experience. The Czechs may come close in international experience, but they don't have the same depth. As for the Americans...well, we don't know yet, because our team will be announced live on TV during the Winter Classic on Friday. My guess, though? We can't match them in star power, we can't match them in depth, and I'd guess we're not going to be able to match them in passion, either.
But oh, how I want to beat this team.
We'll be young. We'll be inexperienced. We'll be in very hostile territory. And we'll be a team made up of guys who are used to losing to the red and white leaf in WJCs, World Championships, and Hockey World Cups.
But we get one game. (Maybe two, depending on how the medal round shakes down) And if there's one thing our squad SHOULD be able to do, it's hit. We can hit them. And if Ryan Miller has one of the best nights of his life in goal...hey, man. Who knows? I mean, Belarus beat Sweden once. Anything can happen.
Plus, we got this kid.
Sunday, February 21st. At 16:40 (I'm assuming that's Pacific time). We will get it on. And may the best team win.
Actually, no, may the Americans win. ;-)