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Save the Date: Hockey Canada to name 2014 Olympic team on Jan. 7
Hard to believe it was four years ago, when we first listened in to hear who Steve Yzerman had chosen to be the cogs of his team – well, Canada's team – for Vancouver's 2010 Winter Olympics. There was so much riding on it and so much uncertainty, with sure-handed scorers like Steven Stamkos and Jeff Carter left off in favour of role players like Brendan Morrow and Mike Richards, and with Dion Phaneuf and Jay Buomeester dumped off the blueline for youngsters Brent Seabrook and Drew Doughty.
Whatever they did, it all worked out. Sidney Crosby nabbed 'The Golden Goal', which was the only fragile thing separating our victorious Canadians from the silver-lined Americans.
The pressure was huge then, because the Games were in Canada. But the pressure's always huge, and we'll all be listening in on January 7, 2014, when Yzerman and his crew once again unveils its chosen roster for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
(Yesterday, on Monday, Hockey Canada also announced its short list for the 2014 World Junior Championships. The camp's roster includes Vancouver Canucks picks Bo Horvat and Hunter Shinkaruk, as well as B.C. boys Nic Petan, Griffin and Sam Reinhart, and Curtis Lazar.)
Canada is looking to defend its medal in a hostile country, where the Russians will be favoured and where Sweden, the United States, and Finland will be pressuring. Slovakia, the Czechs, and maybe even Switzerland will be buzzing around.
There are a number of players already considered iron-clad locks to make the team – Crosby, Ryan Getzlaf, Jonathan Toews among them – and a number of maybes who have played their way into contention, like Jamie Benn, Matt Duchene, and Chris Kunitz.
What happens to the struggling Claude Giroux, and will the injured Steven Stamkos make it back in time?
And will Roberto Luongo get a chance at his second starting gold, or will one of Corey Crawford, Carey Price, or Mike Smith be chosen over him?
There are a lot of questions heading into Sochi. They'll only multiply on January 7, and they'll be answered sometime in February.