Sochi Winter Olympics 2014: Previewing Canada's men's hockey team

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Does Canada have the fortitude required to repeat as Olympic champs?

2010 Olympic Performance: 1st (W) 3-2, United States - Gold Medal

Winnipeg Jets' representation: none

Players to Watch: Sidney Crosby (C), John Tavares (C), Jonathan Toews (C), Shea Weber

Tournament Dark Horse: P.K. Subban

Schedule
DATE TIME EVENT
February 13, 2014 11:00AM NOR vs. CAN
February 14, 2014 11:000AM AUT vs. CAN
February 16, 2014 11:00AM CAN vs. FIN

Roster

NAME POSITION AGE LEAGUE TEAM
Sidney Crosby (C) C 26 NHL Pittsburgh Penguins
Chris Kunitz LW 34 NHL Pittsburgh Penguins
Jonathan Toews (A) C 25 NHL Chicago Blackhawks
Patrick Sharp RW 32 NHL Chicago Blackhawks
Jeff Carter C/RW 29 NHL Los Angeles Kings
Patrick Marleau C/LW 34 NHL San Jose Sharks
Corey Perry RW 28 NHL Anaheim Ducks
Ryan Getzlaf C 28 NHL Anaheim Ducks
Patrice Bergeron C 28 NHL Boston Bruins
Rick Nash LW 29 NHL New York Rangers
Jamie Benn LW 24 NHL Dallas Stars
Matt Duchene C 23 NHL Colorado Avalanche
John Tavares C 23 NHL New York Islanders
Martin St. Louis RW 38 NHL Tampa Bay Lightning
P.K. Subban D 24 NHL Montreal Canadiens
Drew Doughty D 24 NHL Los Angeles Kings
Shea Weber (A) D 28 NHL Nashville Predators
Duncan Keith D 30 NHL Chicago Blackhawks
Alex Pietrangelo D 23 NHL St. Louis Blues
Jay Bouwmeester D 30 NHL St. Louis Blues
Dan Hamhuis D 31 NHL Vancouver Canucks
Marc-Edouard Vlasic D 26 NHL San Jose Sharks
Carey Price G 26 NHL Montreal Canadiens
Roberto Luongo G 34 NHL Vancouver Canucks
Mike Smith G 31 NHL Phoenix Coyotes
Injuries
STATUS PLAYER Professional Team
IN Martin St. Louis Tampa Bay Lightning
OUT Steven Stamkos Tampa Bay Lightning
Strengths

Deepest of them all: Canada has such a wealth of hockey talent at the NHL level that they could legitimately ice two squads and have both favoured to take home the gold. Steve Yzerman's goal in naming this roster was to construct one that featured both an abundance of skill and speed, of which they have in spades. As always, Canada remains a constant favourite to win gold in men's hockey, this year being no exception.

The matchup game: Should Canada claim one of the top seeds through the Preliminary Round, they will be afforded the luxury of playing the match-up game against their opponents in the Relegation Rounds. Being able to use Patrice Bergeron to shadow the opposition's elite will give the Canadians a helpful advantage as the tournament progresses.

Weaknesses

Stiff Competion: There is no doubt that the bullseye is placed squarely on the maple leaf crest donning the Canada jerseys. Each and every time they take the ice at the Sochi Games, they will face the best their opposition has to offer. In a single elimination format, Canada will have to earn every win to reach the top of the podium.

Defensive Concerns: Despite their overwhelming amount of talented forwards, Canada does have some issues with skill on their blue-line. Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Dan Hamhuis have played well in their NHL careers but could be in tough against the best the world has to offer, particularly due to their foot speed. Plus all eyes will be on P.K. Subban as every minor miscue he makes will be analyzed to death.

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