Rick Nash finds scoring touch after getting Team Canada nod
Rangers forward now one of the NHL's hottest players as Sochi nears
Are you happy with the Canadian men’s hockey team’s roster for the Sochi Winter Olympics? Think the group of players chosen by Steve Yzerman and company can win another gold medal?
As usual, because of the depth in Canada, there was plenty of debate leading up to the announcement of the players; there has been plenty of debate since the announcement and the debate will rage on long after the Olympics if Canada does not win the gold medal. That’s the nature of the beast.
Since Team Canada was announced Jan. 7, it's an American – Phil Kessel of the Toronto Maple Leafs – who has been the most productive NHL player. In 10 games since then, Kessel has six goals and 14 points.
After Kessel, the second most productive NHLer is Martin St. Louis of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Arguably the most controversial omission from Team Canada, given the fact he's the highest scorer in the NHL since the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver, St. Louis has been lightning it up to the tune of eight goals and 13 points in nine games.
How have the players who were chosen from Canada done since the team was named?
Well, let’s take a look:
- Roberto Luongo, G, Vancouver Canucks: Played three games since Jan. 7, winning two and losing 2-1 to Nashville.
- Carey Price, G, Montreal Canadiens: Will challenge Luongo for the starter’s role. He is 2-3 in his last five starts and played superbly in a 5-4 win over Ottawa last week.
- Mike Smith, G, Phoenix Coyotes: He's 2-5 in games he started. Barring an injury, he’ll be the No. 3 goalie in Sochi.
- Jay Bouwmeester, D, St. Louis Blues: A shutdown defender who has a goal and three points in nine games.
- Drew Doughty, D, Los Angeles Kings: His one goal and four points in nine games might be a bit concerning to Team Canada management who sees him as a point-producing defender.
- Dan Hamhuis, D, Vancouver Canucks: Just one assist in eight games, but is not counted on for production. He is a minute-muncher who played 36:12 in a game that went to a shootout against Calgary Jan. 18.
- Duncan Keith, D, Chicago Blackhawks: Three assists in seven games. In those games he played more than 24 minutes six times including 28:10 in an OT loss to Colorado Jan. 14.
- Alex Pietrangelo, D, St. Louis Blues: The solid two-way performer has a goal and eight points in nine games and had seven shots in a 2-1 loss to the Canucks Jan. 10.
- P.K. Subban, D, Montreal Canadiens: The Canadiens leading scorer has been slumping with just one goal and two points in six games. He is minus-7 in that span.
- Marc-Edouard Vlasic, D, San Jose Sharks: A depth player for Team Canada, Vlasic has one assist in eight games and routinely plays between 18-23 minutes per game.
- Shea Weber, D, Nashville Predators: Weber is a stud who will be counted on for leadership as well as solid contributions at both ends of the ice. He has three goals and seven points in nine games and played 31:41 against Philadelphia Jan. 16.
- Jamie Benn, F, Dallas Stars: Had been struggling on offence until he posted a goal (the 100th of his career) and four points in a 7-1 win over Toronto Thursday. That gives him three goals and five points in nine games.
- Patrice Bergeron, F, Boston Bruins: The checker and faceoff specialist has two goals and seven points in seven games. Likely projected to be a fourth-line centre for Team Canada.
- Jeff Carter, F, Los Angeles Kings: A threat to score every time he’s on the ice, provided he’s engaged, Carter has five goals and seven points in nine games. Had a four-game goal-scoring streak snapped Thursday.
- Sidney Crosby, F, Pittsburgh Penguins: The NHL’s leading scorer and captain of Team Canada has four goals and nine points in seven games. Only blemish on his record is a no-points, minus-3 outing in a loss to Florida Jan. 20.
- Matt Duchene, F, Colorado Avalanche: The Avalanche’s leading scorer has not produced at his usual rate since the team was announced managing just one goal and three points in seven games.
- Ryan Getzlaf, F, Anaheim Ducks: Tied for third in NHL scoring, Getzlaf has been ripping it up since the team was chosen with five goals and 11 points in eight games.
- Chris Kunitz, F, Pittsburgh Penguins: Riding shotgun for Crosby in Pittsburgh has its rewards. Kunitz, sixth in the NHL in scoring, has two goals and six points in seven games.
- Patrick Marleau, F, San Jose Sharks: The veteran left-winger has two goals and six points in eight games including a three-point outing in a wild 5-4 win over Tampa Bay Jan. 18
- Rick Nash, F, New York Rangers: Nash has caught fire after being named to the Olympic team with eight goals in nine games. Not bad considering he was a bubble player.
- Corey Perry, F, Anaheim Ducks: The NHL’s fifth leading scorer had a four-point game against Vancouver Jan. 15 and has four goals and seven points in nine games.
- Patrick Sharp, F, Chicago Blackhawks: A surprise pick for some, Sharp has a goal and six points in eight games.
- Steven Stamkos, F, Tampa Bay Lightning: Picked despite being out with a broken leg, Stamkos appears to be getting close to returning to action and hopes to play a few games before leaving for Russia.
- John Tavares, F, New York Islanders: Fourth in points since the team was announced. He has three goals and 12 points in nine games.
- Jonathan Toews, F, Chicago Blackhawks: One of the game’s best two-way performers and leaders, Toews has two goals and five points in eight games.