Nashville Predators - On The Forecheck
Pack Your Bags!
The most prominent Predators discussed in terms of the Winter Olympics are Nashville's twin towers on defense, Ryan Suter and Shea Weber:
Suter, as has been discussed repeatedly, is the son of Bob Suter, a member of the 1980 "Miracle On Ice" U.S. Mens Team. A steady two-way defender who faces elite opposition every night, Suter's greatest strength is his ability to carry the puck from defensive to offensive zone, and get the attack moving. The U.S. should contend for a medal, and Suter is likely to play a major role on a pretty young American squad.
The roster selection for Team Canada is one of the most-talked about hockey stories this year. In every online projection for which players will don the Maple Leaf, however, you'll see Shea Weber's name listed as a regular on the blueline. He brings that rare combination of reliable defensive work, outstanding offensive production, and brute physical force that franchises dream of building a team around.
New Jersey - In Lou We Trust
PACK YOUR BAGS, VANCOUVER AWAITS!
Zach Parise, LW, USA
Let's see, top ten NHL scorer, former Gold medal winner for USA from the 2004 World Junior Championships, MVP of the 2004 WJCs, consistently played for USA in the WCs, and the Olympics are being played on a NHL surface. The question shouldn't be whether Parise will be on the team; but how far will he lead the American offense? He's going to be an absolute blast to watch, especially on the smaller ice surface.
Martin Brodeur, G, Canada
Age really is just a number, isn't it? He went to Team Canada's evaluation camp and the story became, "Brodeur or Luongo?" Given that Brodeur has superior numbers so far, I think the answer is clear. While I'll be supporting America in this tourney, let me give a pro-tip to the Canadians about their starter. If you want to go with youth, go with Marc-Andre Fleury. If you want to be popular, go with Roberto Luongo. If you want to win the Gold, consider starting the one goaltender who has actually led Canada to win one in the last 50 years.
Patrik Elias, LW, Czech Republic
Elias won the Golden Stick last year for being the best Czech hockey player in the world. Surely, the Czechs wouldn't forget about him in Vancouver? Now that he's healthy, he's showing the NHL why exactly he won it. His playmaking, offensive awareness, backchecking, and a better-than-decent shot make him an important weapon up front.