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Blue Notes: If the Olympics were Tomorrow

Written by Jason Granger
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Granted we are a ways away from the next Olympics in Sochi, Russi. However, in good fun, I put together lists for Canada and the United States of who I would select to play for each team. Let's take a look.



Bobby Ryan, Ducks: Edgy, talented, and big, Ryan will be a valuable power play contributor, taking up space in front of the net, and looking for deflections and rebounds.

TJ Oshie, Blues: An energy guy with good skill to match, Oshie could be an equalizer against guys like Sidney Crosby and Steven Stamkos. How much will they enjoy him barreling into them all the time? He can also kill penalties for the Americans.

David Backes, Blues: One of the best power forwards playing, Backes went for 31 goals this year, and plays with an edge to his game. He is also a great leader and responsible on the defensive side, as he led all forwards with a +32 this year.

Ryan Kessler, Canucks: Perhaps the best two-way player in the NHL right now, Kessler topped 40 goals for the first time this year while logging big penalty kill minutes. Kessler goes to the dirty areas to score his goals.

Zach Parise, Devils: Perhaps the most skilled American forward right now, if he can come back strong from his injury issues, he is a lock for Sochi. He has the speed and vision to cause havoc for opposing teams.

Patrick Kane, Blackhawks: Crazy talented, Kane will need to be a key contributor, and one of the best players on the ice, if the Americans have any hope of winning the gold. He speed and creativity is something the American team will desperately need.

Phil Kessel, Maple Leafs: An enigma wrapped in a mystery. Ostensibly, Kessel is one of the most talented players in the league, but has yet to put it all together. However, he is a constant 30-goal threat, and any season could go for 50. The Americans need him.

Dustin Brown, Kings: A good leader, a good penalty killer, a good checker, and a good team guy who can also pot 25-30 goals a season. Stick him on the third line and watch him drive the other team crazy.

Paul Stastny, Avalanche: Your first line center, Stastny has developed into a solid point per game guy. Just imagine Stastny feeding Ryan and Parise.

Jaime Langenbrunner, Stars: Your captain, if he is still playing, he will provide the guidance this team will need. Think Steve Yzerman in the 2002 Olympics.

David Booth, Panthers: Big if here. If he has recovered from his concussion issues. If he can stay healthy. If, if, if. However, if he has, his speed and tenacity will work well on the third line.

Erik Cole, Hurricanes: This is a guy who knows how to win. He has a Cup ring, and plays well in crunch time. He is a clutch performer, and has a knack for scoring big goals, something greatly needed in the Olympics.

Joe Pavelski, Sharks: An up-and-comer for the Americans, he is a solid overall talent, equally adept at scoring goals and setting up goals. He would do well on the second line, with Backes and Oshie.

Ryan Malone, Lightning: A big, strong guy with soft hands, his presence would help keep the other teams honest. Not saying he will drop the gloves, but he will keep the cheap shots to a minimum.


Dustin Byfuglien, Winnipeg: He has a cannon of a shot, is big, mobile and fun to watch. Big Buff, as he is called, made the transition to defense look relatively easy. One drawback, he is often out of position, though that can be chalked up to learning a new position.

Erik Johnson, Avalanche: Still immensely talented, Johnson has to be on this team. If he could ever learn to really use that howitzer he hides in his stick, he could score 70-80 points a season. He and Byfuglien bombing away from the point is a scary thought.

Kevin Shattenkirk, Blues: Gifted with the puck, Shattenkirk makes up for his smaller size as a defenseman with speed and guile. He is going to be an all-star in the NHL, as he is shifty when carrying the puck, and makes great passes.

Ryan Suter, Predators: Suter has that Olympic blood in him, as both his uncle and father played for the US at some point. He is a skilled defender with a bomb from the point, and also plays with attitude. He could be the defensive anchor for the US penalty kill.

Jack Johnson, Kings: A solid all-around defenseman, with the offensive potential on this backline, he could become the second ingredient in a lock-down penalty killing defensive duo with Suter. He is fast, agile, and makes a strong outlet pass.

Ryan Whitney, Oilers: Basically an older version of Johnson, Whitney would give a veteran presence to the backline, while providing offensive support and penalty killing. He could be this group’s Brian Rafalski.

Keith Yandle, Coyotes: An all-star this year, Yandle is now a legitimate Norris Candidate, and should be for years. He could see time on the second power play unit, with either Whitney, Shattenkirk, or Suter, and his sharp outlet passes will set the stage for American rushes.


Ryan Miller, Sabres: After his performance in the last Olympics, unless he suffers a complete breakdown, he is the defacto number one. Ignore this last year, Ryan Miller is the man from the Olympics. If the Americans have any hope of winning gold, Miller will, once again, need to stand on his head.

Jimmy Howard, Red Wings: He’s not a superstar, but if you can handle being the number one goalie in Detroit, you can handle the Olympics. He probably will never post incredibly gaudy numbers, but he gives his team a chance to win.

Rick DiPietro, Islanders: The Phil Kessel of goalies, DiPietro has all the skills to be a dominant crease cop in the NHL. He has been hampered by injury, which is a concern, but he is too talented, and the goaltending to light for the Americans, to be ignored.



Sidney Crosby, Penguins: Put simply, when he is healthy, he is the best player in the world. Before he had his bell rung, Crosby was showing once again that there is no hockey player who can match his skill set. Should his concussion woes subside, he is your Canadian captain.

Jonathan Toews, Blackhawks: The type of player any team dreaming of Olympic glory must have. Someone skilled offensively, and responsible defensively. A Selke finalist this year, he will see extensive penalty killing time for this team.

Steven Stamkos, Lightnign: Maybe the most exciting finisher in the game today, his release is reminiscent of Brett Hull. Teaming him and Crosby on the first line would be a monster, and nearly impossible to contain.

Cory Perry, Ducks: An MVP candidate this year, Perry led the league with 50 goals. He will be invaluable on the power play, and provides grit as well.

Ryan Getzlaf, Ducks: While his pass first mentality grates on many Anaheim fans, there is no doubt that he has great vision on the ice, and makes his teammates better. His size makes him hard to push off the puck.

Patrice Bergeron, Bruins: A surprise pick by Steve Yzerman in the last Olympics, Bergeron showed he belonged by winning face offs and killing penalties. Teams need a guy like Bergeron around to do the little things. He also can contribute offensively. A good choice for third line center.

Eric Staal, Hurricanes: He’s big, he’s strong, and he is immensely talented. If he actually had some more skilled players around him, he would be a consistent threat to top 100 points each year.

Claude Giroux, Flyers: This guy can flat out play hockey. He has soft hands, creativity with the puck, and can kill penalties. He is going to be a staple of Canadian Olympic hockey for years.

Jeff Skinner, Hurricanes: The young phenom from the Hurricanes, Skinner represents the other half of their duo with any discernable offensive skill. Only 19 years old, Skinner has the potential to become a point-per-game threat and will only get better.

Taylor Hall, Oilers: Playing on a terrible Oilers team, Hall still managed as an 18 year old rookie, to score 22 goals in 65 games. His upside is immense, and he will continue to get better as he gains more experience. He and Skinner show that Canadian Olympic hockey have stalwarts for years to come.

Chris Stewart, Blues: Pair him with Crosby and Stamkos, and you have the best potential line in the Olympics. While the other two work their magic, Stewart can crash the net and make life miserable for the opposing netminder. Throw in a pair of soft hands, and Stewart will complete this talented trio.

Brad Richards, ???: One of the best playmakers in the game today, Richards would do well with Perry on his wing. Richards is great fun to watch with the puck as he plays keep away from opposing teams.

John Tavares, Islanders: The budding star of the Islanders (that’s right, I said that), Tavares does most of his scoring on his own. If he actually had any kind of playmaker with him, he would be a 40 goal man, if not more.

Patrick Marleau, Sharks: Guys who consistently score 30 or more a season earn a place on the Olympic team. He has topped 30 goals five times, and 25 goals eight times.


Shea Webber, Predators: The bomb from the point is what most people think of with Webber, but he also plays a gritty game and is a great leader. Manning the point on the power play and killing penalties, it is easy to envision him playing at least 25 minutes per game for this team.

Kris Letang, Penguins: His offensive explosion this year helped keep the Penguins in the playoff hunt. He also has a bit of a nasty streak to him, as he finished with 101 penalty minutes this year.

Duncan Keith, Blackhawks: The former Norris trophy winner, Keith has a good shot, is a good outlet passer, and a great power play quarterback.

Alex Pietrangelo, Blues: A veteran of international play, Pietrangelo would have been a finalist for rookie of the year if not for the quagmire-like rules of the NHL. He has great on ice vision, a good shot, and has asserted himself as a leader of the Blues. He and Webber on the first power play would be scary.

Drew Doughty, Kings: No doubt, there are few defensemen in the NHL as talented as Doughty. An accurate wrist shot that he seems to be able to slip through a crowd with ease, he will be a regular on the power play.

Brent Seabrook, Blackhawks: The second part of the Blackhawks fearsome twosome, he has a great amount of offensive skill, plays a heap of minutes each night, and kills penalties. A great, well rounded defenseman.

Kevin Bieksa, Canucks: The gritty type of player that this team will need on the backend to keep the opposing teams honest and shut down the top forwards in the tournament. He was one of Vancouver’s best players on their run to the Cup final, and would free some of the other defensemen to be more creative offensively.


Roberto Luongo, Canucks: His meltdown in the Cup finals will more than likely haunt him forever, but his international resume is outstanding. He led this team to the gold in the last Olympics, there is little reason to change that now. Unless…

Carey Price, Canadiens: …continues to improve. He was dominant this year, leading many in the Montreal area to forget about Jaroslav Halak. He could, feasibly, dethrone Luongo.

Marc-Andre Fleury, Penguins: Your team is doing pretty well if Fleury is your third man. Once Crosby and Evgeni Malkin went down, Fleury hoisted the team on his back and carried them to the playoffs.

The Canadian team remains the strongest of the two. Their offensive firepower remains overwhelming. However, the US team is grittier, and would play a hard-edged game. It would be interesting to see these two teams meet with a gold medal on the line.


0 Jason Granger 2011-07-08 18:57 #4
Quoting Derek:
No Tim Thomas on team USA??? Rick DiPietro instead????


Also Ryan Whitney's on the Oilers, not the Ducks. Not to mention numerous other things wrong with these teams, like putting Taylor Hall on there over Marty St. Louis, and John Tavares over Joe Thornton, etc.

Oh, and I would take Tavares over Thornton any day, and twice on Sunday. The Canadians have plenty of passers, they need someone to finish off said passes. Same can be said for St. Louis and Hall.
0 Jason Granger 2011-07-08 18:55 #3
As I stated, Ryan Miller is the defacto starter here, after his amazing play in the last Olympic games. Does anyone think Tim Thomas would ride the bench?
0 Derek 2011-06-27 19:42 #2
No Tim Thomas on team USA??? Rick DiPietro instead????


Also Ryan Whitney's on the Oilers, not the Ducks. Not to mention numerous other things wrong with these teams, like putting Taylor Hall on there over Marty St. Louis, and John Tavares over Joe Thornton, etc.
0 Brendan 2011-06-23 15:03 #1
umm... I'm an islanders fan here so I would love to see more islanders in the olympics... but DIPIETRO?!?!? HELLO!!!! what about Tim Thomas? DiPietro is a bum. Plus, Al Montoya is an american goalie on the islanders who is better than DP...

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