clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Would a "Rest of the World" All-Star Team be competitive in the Olympics?

It should be clear that there are seven countries in the world that are competitive at the highest levels of international hockey tournaments: Canada, the US, Russia, the Czechs, Slovakia, Finland and Sweden. Each of these countries can field a team that is well above the NHL average, and most of them would likely be odds-on favorites to beat the Stanley Cup champion. Imagine if you took the Sharks and added a 1st line of Crosby, Nash and Iginla, plus gave them Niedermayer, Shea Weber and Duncan Keith on defense. That's still a substantially weaker team than the one Canada is fielding in the 2010 Olympics.

But after those seven countries, the drop-off in talent is massive. Germany can almost field a team where half the players have NHL experience, and they are 0-13 against the top seven teams since 2002. Switzerland has two good NHL players and has beaten several of the top seven teams, but almost lost to Italy in the 2006 Olympics. In fact, I was wondering if we could even make an 8th competitive team if we took the best players from every other country in the world. Here's a stab at the roster:

Pos Player Nationality Junior GP G A P
G Hiller SUI Swiss
G Greiss GER Germany
G Huet FRA France
D Streit SUI Swiss 62 8 23 31
D Skrastins LAT Latvia 59 2 9 11
D Bartulis LAT Latvia/Canada 46 0 8 8
D Salei BLR Belarus 2 0 0 0
D Ehrhoff GER Germany 61 11 20 31
D Seidenberg GER Germany 61 2 20 22
D Schubert GER Germany 44 2 5 7
D Tollefsen NOR Norway/Canada 18 0 2 2
F A. Kostitsyn BLR Belarus/Russia 40 12 13 25
F S. Kostitsyn BLR Belarus/Canada 30 2 8 10
F Grabovski BLR Belarus/Russia 42 7 18 25
F Goc GER Germany 52 10 11 21
F Sturm GER Germany 54 18 10 28
F Hecht GER Germany 60 13 16 29
F Thoresen NOR Norway/Canada
F Vanek AUS USA 55 18 21 39
F Kopitar SLO Slovenia/Sweden 61 28 36 64
F Boedker DEN Denmark/Sweden/Canada 14 1 2 3
F Nielsen DEN Denmark/Sweden 56 9 18 27
F Park KOR Canada 62 6 13 19
F Wolski POL Canada 61 17 30 47

There are probably some other dual citizens we could convince to play for this team - Robin Regehr? - and a few KHL players I don't know about. But I think the defense is a little thin and there are too many Islanders on the roster to make this team's most likely finish higher than 8th.

At any rate, "Team Unified" won't be allowed to play in the Olympics. But when the next World Cup of Hockey rolls around, the powers that be should seriously consider this option - it would be much more entertaining than watching Germany and Switzerland try to eke out a tie.