Hockey

Tony Care - Tuesday Jan. 7, 2014 11:50 ET

Team Canada roster includes some surprises

Olympic men's hockey team looks to defend gold medal in Russia

  • Sidney Crosby is the leader of Team Canada
    1 gallery_of 25

    Sidney Crosby scored the golden goal in 2010, and will be counted on by Canadians for similar theatrics in Sochi. It’s also the only time everyone in the country is nice to him. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    1/25
  • Jamie Benn is having the best season of his career
    2 gallery_of 25

    Jamie Benn was left off the preliminary roster, but his play this season made him a prime write-in candidate. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

    2/25
  • Patrice Bergeron is considered a premier defensive forward
    3 gallery_of 25

    Patrice Bergeron is one of the premier face-off men in the business and is a past Selke Trophy winner. The offensive players of other countries probably won’t be too thrilled to see him in red and white again. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

    3/25
  • Jeff Carter will be making his Olympic debut
    4 gallery_of 25

    Jeff Carter will be making his 1st Olympic appearance in Sochi. (Harry How/Getty Images)

    4/25
  • Matt Duchene is the team's youngest member
    5 gallery_of 25

    Matt Duchene has had an excellent season with the Avalanche (humming along at a point-per-game clip) and his speed makes him a huge asset on the big international ice in Sochi. (Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

    5/25
  • Ryan Getzlaf is no stranger to representing his country
    6 gallery_of 25

    Ryan Getzlaf has a famous brother who plays in the CFL… but the hockey-playing Getzlaf is pretty good, too. More-than-a point-per-game-this-season type of “good.” (Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

    6/25
  • Patrick Marleau's speed should be valuable on the big ice
    7 gallery_of 25

    Patrick Marleau will be without a pair of Sharks linemates he played with in 2010, but Canada will continue to count on him to be an offensive threat. Also, at 34, he's the oldest skater on the Canadian roster. (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

    7/25
  • The chemistry between Chris Kunitz and Crosby is undeniable
    8 gallery_of 25

    Chris Kunitz is more than Sidney Crosby’s plus-one, but his chemistry with his Penguins teammate was key to his selection for the Canadian roster in Sochi. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    8/25
  • Power forward Rick Nash has a nose for the net
    9 gallery_of 25

    Rick Nash’s mix of size, speed and soft hands makes him a formidable power-forward at the Canadian’s disposal in all situations. (Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)

    9/25
  • Corey Perry leads the NHL in game-winning goals
    10 gallery_of 25

    Corey Perry is the NHL’s Mr. Clutch this season, leading the league in game-winning goals. That could be useful in a single elimination tournament, eh? (Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

    10/25
  • Sniper Patrick Sharp is scoring at an all time high
    11 gallery_of 25

    Patrick Sharp has delivered for the Blackhawks this season, and we don’t just mean that time he dressed like a mascot to surprise a fan (just Google it). He has the most goals by a Canadian in the NHL this season. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

    11/25
  • Steven Stamkos hopes to be healthy for Canada's first game
    12 gallery_of 25

    Steven Stamkos endured a bad break earlier this season… literally. His recovery from a broken leg will be closely watched by Canadians from coast-to-coast. (Alex Grimm/Getty Images)

    12/25
  • John Tavares is peaking at the right time
    13 gallery_of 25

    John Tavares is among a handful of young, talented centres that also happen to be NHL 1st overall picks. His increased speed and ability to play on the wing is also an asset for a player that is averaging more than a point-per-game. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    13/25
  • Jonathan Toews led Canada in points at Vancouver 2010
    14 gallery_of 25

    Jonathan Toews is one of the best two-way centres in hockey, and the Selke-winning ‘Captain Serious’ will log some serious time on the penalty kill… Seriously. (Harry How/Getty Images)

    14/25
  • Jay Bouwmeester hasn't missed an NHL game since 2004
    15 gallery_of 25

    Jay Bouwmeester is the reigning ironman of the NHL. Durability may not be the most prized asset in a round-robin tournament, but the steady play he brings to the table is. (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

    15/25
  • Drew Doughty should see plenty of ice time in Sochi
    16 gallery_of 25

    Drew Doughty is one of the few returning defencmean from the 2010 gold-medal winning-team. What has he done since then? Not much, other than be nominated for the Norris Trophy later that year, and lift the Stanley Cup with the Kings in 2012. (Getty Images)

    16/25
  • Dan Hamhuis will be used in a shutdown role
    17 gallery_of 25

    Dan Hamhuis rebounded after a rocky start to the season, and also features a left-handed shot, something Team Canada was looking for. (Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

    17/25
  • Duncan Keith should be valuable both defensively and offensively
    18 gallery_of 25

    Duncan Keith is a great defender, but is also more than capable with the puck on his stick, as he's among the league leaders in assists this season. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

    18/25
  • Young Alex Pietrangelo plays big minutes in the NHL
    19 gallery_of 25

    Alex Pietrangelo may be young (23) but he’s still a veteran of sorts, wearing Team Canada’s colours in both world juniors as well as the world championship teams. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

    19/25
  • PK Subban is the reigning Norris Trophy winner
    20 gallery_of 25

    P.K. Subban’s explosive skating and offensive upside will make him a formidable power play specialist. Maybe he and Price could break out their post-win celebration since it’s barred in Montreal. (Al Bello/Getty Images)

    20/25
  • Marc-Edouard Vlasic is another shutdown defenceman
    21 gallery_of 25

    Marc-Edouard Vlasic's left-handed shot helped him make the squad for Sochi, as the dependable defenceman's handed-ness factored into a group of d-man that shoot on the right side. (Getty Images)

    21/25
  • Shea Weber is physical and has a big shot
    22 gallery_of 25

    Shea Weber is a hulking presence on the Canadian blue line and has a booming shot to match. But remember, Olympic officials frown upon turnbuckling opponents like Weber did to Henrik Zetterberg in the 2012 playoffs. (Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

    22/25
  • Roberto Luongo backstopped Canada to gold in 2010
    23 gallery_of 25

    Roberto Luongo backstopped the 2010 edition of this team to gold in Vancouver. Will he get the starting job in Sochi? We should probably ask @strombone1. (Rich Lam/Getty Images)

    23/25
  • Carey Price will vie for the role of starting goaltender
    24 gallery_of 25

    Carey Price has put together a great season for the oft-offensively challenged Canadiens, and has represented Canada in international play before, scoring junior gold in 2007. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    24/25
  • Mike Smith played for Canada at the 2013 World Championships
    25 gallery_of 25

    Mike Smith was due for a bit of good news after that unfortunate bounce against the Sabres (might want to Google that, too). He’s also thrives in high-pressure games, posting a .944 save percentage in the Coyotes 2012 playoff run. (Getty Images)

    25/25
  • Sidney Crosby is the leader of Team Canada
  • Jamie Benn is having the best season of his career
  • Patrice Bergeron is considered a premier defensive forward
  • Jeff Carter will be making his Olympic debut
  • Matt Duchene is the team's youngest member
  • Ryan Getzlaf is no stranger to representing his country
  • Patrick Marleau's speed should be valuable on the big ice
  • The chemistry between Chris Kunitz and Crosby is undeniable
  • Power forward Rick Nash has a nose for the net
  • Corey Perry leads the NHL in game-winning goals
  • Sniper Patrick Sharp is scoring at an all time high
  • Steven Stamkos hopes to be healthy for Canada's first game
  • John Tavares is peaking at the right time
  • Jonathan Toews led Canada in points at Vancouver 2010
  • Jay Bouwmeester hasn't missed an NHL game since 2004
  • Drew Doughty should see plenty of ice time in Sochi
  • Dan Hamhuis will be used in a shutdown role
  • Duncan Keith should be valuable both defensively and offensively
  • Young Alex Pietrangelo plays big minutes in the NHL
  • PK Subban is the reigning Norris Trophy winner
  • Marc-Edouard Vlasic is another shutdown defenceman
  • Shea Weber is physical and has a big shot
  • Roberto Luongo backstopped Canada to gold in 2010
  • Carey Price will vie for the role of starting goaltender
  • Mike Smith played for Canada at the 2013 World Championships

The wait is finally over.

With executive director Steve Yzerman and his staff on hand to announce the 25-player Canadian men’s Olympic hockey roster Tuesday in Toronto the players selected can now turn their attention to defending the country’s gold medal.

The nation will be led by Olympic hero Sidney Crosby, whose "golden goal" at the 2010 Vancouver Games powered Canada to the gold medal in the final against the U.S.

Crosby, the Pittsburgh Penguins superstar centre, also ranks first in NHL scoring this season with 63 points.

Canada is looking to become the first country since professional hockey players were included at the 1998 Nagano Olympics to repeat as gold-medal champions.

Team Canada roster

  • Roberto Luongo, G, Vancouver Canucks
  • Carey Price, G, Montreal Canadiens
  • Mike Smith, G, Phoenix Coyotes
  • Jay Bouwmeester, D, St. Louis Blues
  • Drew Doughty, D, Los Angeles Kings
  • Dan Hamhuis, D, Vancouver Canucks
  • Duncan Keith, D, Chicago Blackhawks
  • Alex Pietrangelo, D, St. Louis Blues
  • P.K. Subban, D, Montreal Canadiens
  • Marc-Edouard Vlasic, D, San Jose Sharks
  • Shea Weber, D, Nashville Predators
  • Jamie Benn, F, Dallas Stars
  • Patrice Bergeron, F, Boston Bruins
  • Jeff Carter, F, Los Angeles Kings
  • Sidney Crosby, F, Pittsburgh Penguins
  • Matt Duchene, F, Colorado Avalanche
  • Ryan Getzlaf, F, Anaheim Ducks
  • Chris Kunitz, F, Pittsburgh Penguins
  • Patrick Marleau, F, San Jose Sharks
  • Rick Nash, F, New York Rangers
  • Corey Perry, F, Anaheim Ducks
  • Patrick Sharp, F, Chicago Blackhawks
  • Steven Stamkos, F, Tampa Bay Lightning
  • John Tavares, F, New York Islanders
  • Jonathan Toews, F, Chicago Blackhawks

Olympic experience

The team is filled with players that won gold in Vancouver. Aside form Crosby, there are returning forwards Jonathan Toews, Patrice Bergeron, Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf, among others. 

On defence, Drew Doughty, Duncan Keith and Shea Weber will man the blue-line. 

In goal, 2010 gold-medal game winner Roberto Luongo hopes to return as the starter but will battle with Montreal Canadiens' Carey Price, who makes his first Olympic team. Mike Smith of the Phoenix Coyotes will be Canada's third goaltender.

Other first-time players include high-scoring forward Steven Stamkos, speedsters John Tavares and Matt Duchene, along with Norris Trophy winner P.K. Subban.

Subban got the final right-handed spot after much debate.

"P.K. is a guy that provides a dimension - the ability to transport the puck, run a power play," said Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland. "He can make a big play to win you a game. He can be a game-breaker."

Canada also features three of the top four NHL scorers in Crosby, Tavares (51 points) and Getzlaf (48). 

"We had gone out last night for dinner and came back. We were down to a couple of names and it was a real strong, healthy debate," St. Louis Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said. "At some point we had to stop at 25. When we got to that last name, we shook hands and said we're excited about this team."

Injury concerns

There are some injury concerns. High-scoring forward Stamkos broke his leg in October, and has just recently begun skating. 

Luongo is suffering through a groin injury. Canada has until Feb. 12, or 24 hours before its first Olympic game, to replace any injured players.

Yzerman, the Tampa Bay Lightning's GM, refused to name possible candidates if Stamkos does not recover in time. 

"If he's healthy he's one of the best 25 players obviously in Canada and should be on that team," said Yzerman.

He also admitted the difficulty in selecting players from such a deep Canadian talent pool, a sentiment echoed by Hockey Night in Canada analyst Glenn Healy.

“We’re choosing between Ferraris and Lamborghinis and we’re leaving the Mercedes in the garage,” Healy said. “That’s how many good players Canada has.”

Head coach Mike Babcock told Hockey Night's Elliotte Friedman that he hasn't picked a captain to this point, although there are plenty of veterans with Olympic experience to pick from.

Chemistry with Crosby

Yzerman is also hoping Chris Kunitz can continue his natural chemistry with Crosby in Sochi.

"Chris Kunitz has been an outstanding player throughout his career, a Stanley Cup champion," said Yzerman. "He played for me at the 2008 world championship in Quebec and Halifax and was
a very good player on that team."

"He's a skilled player," Yzerman added. "Yes he plays with Sidney Crosby and he's been a great contributor not only to that line but to his team."

St. Louis snubbed again

Martin St. Louis, snubbed in 2010 by Yzerman, was cut again. Joe Thornton, Eric Staal, Claude Giroux and Dan Boyle were also considered candidates who didn't make the cut. 

"You know what - Claude Giroux, Joe Thornton - all these players, I can go on and on," Yzerman said. "I'm going to have to walk into rinks and see these players as well and I don't feel good
about not putting any of them on the team."

Yzerman said St. Louis, who plays in Tampa, was an especially hard decision.

"He's a tremendous hockey player who has played outstanding hockey for us in Tampa this year," said Yzerman, who is the general  manager of the Lightning. "Our team has a good record and he's a
big reason why our team is playing well."

In Sochi, Canada will be slotted in Group B along with Austria, Norway and Finland.

Canada's first game is on Feb. 13 against Norway. The Canadians then play Austria on Feb. 14, followed by their group-stage finale against Finland on Feb. 16. Each game begins at 9 p.m. Sochi time (noon ET).

The quarter-finals are scheduled for Feb. 19, with the semifinals on Feb. 21 and the gold-medal game on Feb. 23.

With files from The Canadian Press

Comments on this story are moderated. Comments will appear immediately but may be removed if they violate our Submission Guidelines. Comments are open and welcome for three days after the story is published. We reserve the right to close comments before then.

Submission Policy

Note: The CBC does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that the CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that comments are moderated and published according to our submission guidelines.