Team Canada this morning announced the players it will be bringing to Sochi for next month’s Winter Olympics. There were five Sharks players who were considered to be in the running for the squad—defensemen Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Dan Boyle and forwards Patrick Marleau, Logan Couture and Joe Thornton. Vlasic and, surprisingly, Marleau will be wearing the red maple leaf in Russia, while Couture, Thornton and Boyle will be watching at home.
Let’s break these selections/snubs down in order of surprise, beginning with “SAY WHAAA’?????” and ending with “Man, we saw that coming, eh?”:
Patrick Marleau – One of the most stunning selections to make the team considering he, for lack of a legitimate reason (age?), wasn’t even invited to the national team’s player orientation before the NHL season began. Marleau admitted that snub has motivated him, and he definitely played his way onto the Team Denim Jacket roster with another Patrick Marleau-esque season (19 goals, 22 assists), even if that might have come at the expense of his Sharks linemate Logan Couture.
Logan Couture – Entering the season he was considered the Sharks’ best chance at being represented on Team Avril Lavigne in Sochi. Then he fell into that hideous scoring slump in December that cast his roster spot into doubt, but he has since returned to form. The recent news that he’s going to miss a few weeks after undergoing hand surgery probably sealed his fate, although the 3-4 week recovery window would have him returning before the Olympics begin. Potential future injury replacement?
Joe Thornton – You would think leading the league in assists (43) would be enough to cinch up a spot for a proven playmaker like Thornton, but Team Aboot is just too stacked with younger stars at the center position, leaving the aging Thornton S.O.L.
Dan Boyle – Even despite his own acknowledgements that he’s not the same as he was before his serious concussion earlier this season, Boyle is still a very capable defenseman. He’s old as shit at 37, but still very capable. However, age probably was a big factor in his omission from the roster. Canada decided to go with a comparatively younger group of defensemen, with three players under 25 and the oldest at 30.
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – The Sharks defenseman corps won’t be totally unrepresented on Team Poutine. Pickles made the squad! Vlasic has been solid on both ends of the ice this season. He wasn’t a lock for the team at the start of the season, but his play has certainly made him deserving. It’s his first time on the Olympic team. That’s always special.
Of course none of this matters anymore when Canada plays the U.S. in Sochi, in which case all of the above mentioned names will momentarily become dead to us as patriotic, beer-drinking, fast food-eating, Joe Pavelski sweater-wearing, red-white-and-blue-blooded AMERICANS.
Here’s the entire roster of Team Labatt Blue:
Jamie Benn, Dallas Stars
Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins
Jeff Carter, Los Angeles Kings
Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
Matt Duchene, Colorado Avalanche
Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks
Chris Kunitz, Pittsburgh Penguins
Patrick Marleau, San Jose Sharks
Rick Nash, New York Rangers
Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks
Patrick Sharp, Chicago Blackhawks
Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning
John Tavares, New York Islanders
Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks
Jay Bouwmeester, St. Louis Blues
Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings
Dan Hamhuis, Vancouver Canucks
Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks
Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis Blues
P.K. Subban, Montreal Canadiens
Marc-Edouard Vlasic, San Jose Sharks
Shea Weber, Nashville Predators
Roberto Luongo, Vancouver Canucks
Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens
Mike Smith, Phoenix Coyotes