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BASN’S WORLD HOCKEY CUP FACE OFF
WORLD HOCKEY CUP FACEOFF
By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief
PHILADELPHIA (BASN) After 20 years, hockey’s Cold War hostilities have a forum in which to seep from the ice once again.
Eight teams from the world’s hockey’s pool – or at least a significant portion of it – plan to throw down North of the Border in Toronto Canada to settle affairs. While a natural battleground seeing as how hockey flows through the blood of every Canadian, the compiling of the teams is a mixed bag of Old and New School…
After a significant layoff, the National Hockey League and their Player’s Association will present this every four years as a pre-season tune up for their charges. Here are the final rosters for teams before the first puck is dropped:
TEAM CANADA: So loaded is the home team that they have their Junior Division entered as a separate team (Team North America) – and there’s so much talent there, the veteran team had better watch out, ’cause they might get their ass whupped as well! Goalie Carey Price proved he was the most indispensable player in the league last year via his injury absence (ask Montreal Canadiens management) so this will be a good way to get into game – shape in a Noo Yawk minnit. Since they will be the likely favorites, let’s take a peek at this bad – ass roster:
Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks, G; Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals, G; Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens, G; Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings, D; Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks, D; Marc-Edouard Vlasic, San Jose Sharks, D; Shea Weber, Nashville Predators, D; Brent Burns, San Jose Sharks, D; Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins, F; Jeff Carter, Los Angeles Kings, F; Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins, F; Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks, F; Tyler Seguin, Dallas Stars, F; Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning, F; John Tavares, New York Islanders, F; Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks, F
Brent Burns comes in as a replacement for the Dallas Stars’ Jamie Benn - and in a paring with say, Weber would make for a pair of legitimate thumpers on the backline; but leaving Burns in tandem with teammate Vlasic would make more sense chemistry-wise. Aside from Price tuning up in goal, the forward lines are going to be amazing – Jeff Carter has always been one of those sneaky-good post-season kinda players, and I think he will do some damage in this tournament…
TEAM NORTH AMERICA: The Jackson 5 once did a B-side called “The Young Folks” – which is apropos for this bunch. The NHL has legit star power in far more markets over the past three years, making for an awesome on-air product. If I see a line with McDavid, Gaudreau and Nugent-Hopkins play well, it might grow some hair back on my head! Jack Eichel is also must-see…
Just as Team Canada can pair up a couple Sharks on the backline, Columbus’ Ryan Murray and Seth Jones will represent on defense for Blue Jack City! We know how effective Sean Couturier can be in shutting down the other team’s scorer, and I think a line of Couturier-Eichel-Scheifele could generate some sparks as well. Look for The ‘Ghost’ – Shayne Gostisbehere – to run the point on the first team power play As to who will get the lion’s share or work in net, Murray has the ring, but I’m feelin’ Winnipeg’s Connor Hellebucyk may buck tradition and get the most starts…
As the Jackson 5 sings, “you better make a way for The Young Folks!”
Sean Couturier, Philadelphia Flyers; Jonathan Drouin, Tampa Bay Lightning; Jack Eichel, Buffalo Sabres; Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary Flames; Dylan Larkin, Detroit Red Wings; Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche; Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs; Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers; J.T. Miller, New York Rangers; Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Edmonton Oilers; Brandon Saad, Columbus Blue Jackets; Mark Scheifele, Winnipeg Jets; Vincent Trocheck, Florida Panthers
Aaron Ekblad, Florida Panthers; Shayne Gostisbehere, Philadelphia Flyers; Seth Jones, Columbus Blue Jackets; Ryan Murray, Columbus Blue Jackets; Colton Parayko, St. Louis Blues; Morgan Rielly, Toronto Maple Leafs; Jacob Trouba, Winnipeg Jets
TEAM USA: The Americans are no slouches. Ryan Kesler is a professional pest, and he will shake things up if Team USA is in a rut on ice. Oshie is a threat on special teams, and a line of Kane, Derek Stepan and Max ‘The Knife’ Pacioretty could be wicked good! I can’t wait to see Dustin Byfuglien tossing players over the boards; has great offensive skills doesn’t hesitate in planting you like a turnip when the opportunity presents itself; would look particularly good with Suter as a paring on defense. Bishop may get the early starts because of his size, but ‘The Quick’ is far better in goal imho…
Justin Abdelkader, Detroit Red Wings; David Backes, Boston Bruins; Brandon Dubinsky, Columbus Blue Jackets; Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks; Ryan Kesler, Anaheim Ducks; T.J. Oshie, Washington Capitals; Max Pacioretty, Montreal Canadiens; Kyle Palmieri, New Jersey Devils; Zach Parise, Minnesota Wild; Joe Pavelski, San Jose Sharks; Derek Stepan, New York Rangers; James van Riemsdyk, Toronto Maple Leafs; Blake Wheeler, Winnipeg Jets
Dustin Byfuglien, Winnipeg Jets; John Carlson, Washington Capitals; Erik Johnson, Colorado Avalanche; Jack Johnson, Columbus Blue Jackets; Ryan McDonagh, New York Rangers; Matt Niskanen, Washington Capitals; Ryan Suter, Minnesota Wild
TEAM EUROPE: Some interesting things to peek at here. Team Euro can throwdown an Olympic – style first line of Slovakia’s Gaborik-Tatar-Hossa with some in-house chemistry courtesy of the L.A. Kings. Anze Kopitar, Austria’s Vanek and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare might be a nice combination. Bellemare has been a fourth – line everything man for the Flyers, and it would be interesting to see what he could do with some significant ice time. Defensively, the giant Chara is no longer the intimidating force he once was, but size does matter. Ehrhoff and Seidenberg make a German pairing on the back line, and Streit will work the point on the first-line power play. Halak can be murder in net when he’s on – I think this is where Team Euro will go…
Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Philadelphia Flyers (France); Mikkel Boedker, Colorado Avalanche (Denmark); Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton Oilers (Germany); Marian Gaborik, Los Angeles Kings (Slovakia); Jannik Hansen, Vancouver Canucks (Denmark); Marian Hossa, Chicago Blackhawks (Slovakia); Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles Kings (Slovenia); Nino Niederreiter, Minnesota Wild (Switzerland); Frans Nielsen, Detroit Red Wings (Denmark); Tobias Rieder, Arizona Coyotes (Germany); Tomas Tatar, Detroit Red Wings (Slovakia); Thomas Vanek, Detroit Red Wings (Austria); Mats Zuccarello, New York Rangers (Norway)
Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins (Slovakia); Christian Ehrhoff, UFA (Germany); Roman Josi, Nashville Predators (Switzerland); Luca Sbisa, Vancouver Canucks (Switzerland); Dennis Seidenberg, UFA (Germany); Andrej Sekera, Edmonton Oilers (Slovakia); Mark Streit, Philadelphia Flyers (Switzerland)
TEAM SWEDEN: If they’re not the fastest team in the competition, they’re the best overall skaters; but since this is played by NHL rules and NHL stadia instead of the bigger European ice, this may counter any advantage they may have had in that regard. Vancouver’s Sedin brothers and the very underrated Jakob Silfverberg could be their top line; and Filip Forsberg could flourish picking up a lot of ’round the net goodies from new teammate P.K. Subban (who is sitting this tournament out – and sorry, Canada – you’d better believe there are not 16 better defensemen in the world better than Subban – jus’ sayin’). The defensemen aren’t thumpers, but every one of them are excellent puck – handlers and will carry the puck out of their end with no problem. It’s King Henrik’s show, but Enroth represents the ‘home team’ – and should see some significant in net…
Mikael Backlund, Calgary Flames; Nicklas Backstrom, Washington Capitals; Loui Eriksson, Vancouver Canucks; Filip Forsberg, Nashville Predators; Carl Hagelin, Pittsburgh Penguins; Patric Hornqvist, Pittsburgh Penguins; Marcus Kruger, Chicago Blackhawks; Gabriel Landeskog, Colorado Avalanche; Patrik Berglund, St. Louis Blues; Daniel Sedin, Vancouver Canucks; Henrik Sedin, Vancouver Canucks; Jakob Silfverberg, Anaheim Ducks; Carl Soderberg, Colorado Avalanche
Mattias Ekholm, Nashville Predators; Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Arizona Coyotes; Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning; Niklas Hjalmarsson, Chicago Blackhawks; Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators; Hampus Lindholm, Anaheim Ducks; Anton Stralman, Tampa Bay Lightning
TEAM RUSSIA: Although goalie Sergei Bobrovsky has improved greatly, Russia’s problem will always be between the pipes. As in previous events, their KHL will present players not seen here, and Russia always bring a lot of offensive firepower in players like Ovechkin, Malkin and St. Loo’s ‘Bad Azz Vlad’ Tarasenko; they will have to get off early to have a shot. Markov won’t be pairing up with Subban anymore in Montreal, so the Emelin – Markov coupling could be what Russia may trot out to start on defense. My X-factor here is still one of my favorite players, my mon “Duck Soup” Pavel Datsyuk, who could be very effective in a short series like this…
Artem Anisimov, Chicago Blackhawks; Evgeny Dadonov, SKA Saint Petersburg (KHL); Pavel Datsyuk, SKA Saint Petersburg (KHL); Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning; Nikolay Kulemin, New York Islanders; Evgeny Kuznetsov, Washington Capitals; Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins; Vladislav Namestnikov, Tampa Bay Lightning; Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals; Artemi Panarin, Chicago Blackhawks; Vadim Shipachyov, SKA Saint Petersburg (KHL); Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues; Ivan Telegin, CSKA Moscow (KHL)
Alexei Emelin, Montreal Canadiens; Dmitry Kulikov, Florida Panthers; Alexey Marchenko, Detroit Red Wings; Andrei Markov, Montreal Canadiens; Dmitry Orlov, Washington Capitals; Nikita Zaitsev, Toronto Maple Leafs
TEAM CZECH REPUBLIC: If last year revealed anything to me, it would be how the hell the Islanders could let goalie Michael Neuwirth get away? Solid gold in net for Philly, he should start in net. A Voracek- Plekanec-Michalek line could cause some match up problems for the opposition. Another team with a lot of KHL talent, I will be curious to see how they get down.
Michal Birner, Traktor Chelyabinsk (KHL); Roman Cervenka, Fribourg-Gotteron (NLA), Radek Faksa, Dallas Stars; Michael Frolik, Calgary Flames; Martin Hanzal, Arizona Coyotes; Ales Hemsky, Dallas Stars; Dmitrij Jaskin, St. Louis Blues; Milan Michalek, Toronto Maple Leafs; Ondrej Palat, Tampa Bay Lightning; David Pastrnak, Boston Bruins; Tomas Plekanec, Montreal Canadiens; Vladimir Sobotka, Avangard Omsk (KHL); Jakub Voracek, Philadelphia Flyers
Michal Jordan, UFA; Michal Kempny, Chicago Blackhawks; Tomas Kundratek, HC Slovan Bratislava (KHL); Zbynek Michalek, Arizona Coyotes; Jakub Nakladal, Calgary Flames; Roman Polak, San Jose Sharks; Andrej Sustr, Tampa Bay Lightning
TEAM FINLAND :The Finns have set the standard for goalies over the past couple years, and Pekka Rinne is still one of the league’s best. Jokipakka and Ristolainen make for a young, talented pair on defense behind a potential starting line of Koivu-Granlund-Teravainen.
Sebastian Aho, Karpat (FIN); Aleksander Barkov, Florida Panthers; Joonas Donskoi, San Jose Sharks; Valtteri Filppula, Tampa Bay Lightning; Mikael Granlund, Minnesota Wild; Erik Haula, Minnesota Wild; Jussi Jokinen, Florida Panthers; Mikko Koivu, Minnesota Wild; Leo Komarov, Toronto Maple Leafs; Lauri Korpikoski, UFA; Patrik Laine, Winnipeg Jets; Jori Lehtera, St. Louis Blues; Teuvo Teravainen, Carolina Hurricanes
Jyrki Jokipakka, Calgary Flames; Sami Lepisto, Salavat Yulaev Ufa (KHL); Esa Lindell, Dallas Stars; Olli Maatta, Pittsburgh Penguins; Ville Pokka, Chicago Blackhawks; Rasmus Ristolainen, Buffalo Sabres; Sami Vatanen, Anaheim Ducks
(Editor’s Note: At the time of this writing, it was not yet reported that Dustin Byfuglien would be a healthy scratch from Team USA; whether this really has more to do with being overweight or something else may be revealed down the road; we think if anyone should be a ‘healthy scratch’ – it’s Coach Tortorella! Stay tuned…)
always outnumbered…never outgunned.
Copyright (c) 2016 Michael – Louis Ingram all rights reserved.