P.K. Subban, Matt Duchene sitting out Canada's opening game
Jeff Carter likely to play on top line
Canadian Olympic men's hockey coach Mike Babcock announced early Thursday that P.K. Subban and Matt Duchene will be the two skaters sitting out the team's opening game.
As well, Mike Smith of the Phoenix Coyotes is the third goalie, meaning he won't be in uniform for the game against Norway at 12 p.m. ET (CBC TV, cbc.ca/olympics).
Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens gets the call in net, with Roberto Luongo of the Vancouver Canucks the backup netminder.
Montreal defenceman Subban was the Norris Trophy winner as top defenceman in the NHL last season, but reportedly was passed over in the lineup decision for Dan Hamhuis of the Vancouver Canucks.
The absence of Duchene, of the Colorado Avalanche, means that Martin St. Louis draws in among the group of forwards. St. Louis, a member of the 2006 Olympic squad, was just added to the team last week as an injury replacement for Tampa Bay Lightning teammate Steven Stamkos.
According to Elliotte Friedman of Hockey Night in Canada, Subban and Duchene will go Friday against Austria, as Babcock and his assistants assess the right combination of players to move forward with in the tournament.
If the forward line combinations from the most recent Team Canada practice remain together, Sidney Crosby will centre a line with Chris Kunitz and Jeff Carter. Jonathan Toews will play with Rick Nash and Patrick Sharp. Ryan Getzlaf will play with his usual winger Corey Perry Patrick Marleau, and John Tavares will line up between Patrice Bergeron and Jamie Benn.
On the back end, Shea Weber and Duncan Keith form the top pairing, followed by Alex Pietrangelo and Jay Bouwmeester on the second pairing, and Drew Doughty and Marc-Edouard Vlasic rounding out the top six.
Canada has a favourable draw in Sochi and shouldn’t have too much trouble with its Pool B opponents, although Finland could prove a good test on Sunday. At the 2010 Olympic tournament in Vancouver, Canada hammered Norway 8-0 in its opening game of the tournament.