New York Islanders - Lighthouse Hockey
This Guy Right Here, He's an Olympian
With all due apologies to David Aebischer, Mark Streit is the face of Swiss hockey on these shores. Be it Olympics or be it the annual World Championships -- where Streit played 10 consecutive tournaments -- Streit is a fixture. He was captain in 2006 (when Switzerland beat Canada and the Czech Republic in group play) and the captain at the World Championships last spring, when I really wish he'd been resting his banged-up body after his first NHL season as a #1 defenseman.
Streit's not only a lock this year (barring injury), he's probably a lock until he gets old and gray, sort of like Petr Stastny was for Slovakia. Why this sort of stinks? As often discussed here, the Islanders blueline is a bit of a weak point, and Streit is their best defenseman, logging the most minutes. I don't relish the thought of him coming back exhausted. Fortunately for the Islanders-centric view, his team is a long shot to make it to the medal round.
Streit might be the only Islander at the Olympics ... but maybe not.
New York Rangers - Blueshirt Banter
Pack your bags:
Marian Gaborik: It should be no surprise that Gaborik will represent his native country of Slovokia for the Olympics. He joins a star stuttered cast along with Marian Hossa, Zdeno Chara, Pavol Demitra and Andrej Meszaros although of the entire team he is by far the most productive thus far this year. Gaborik is at the top in the NHL in goals and second in points and the Rangers couldn't be happier; and neither can Slovokia.
Henrik Lundqvist: Again this should be no surprise, especially after Lundqvist back-stopped Sweden to a goal medal four years ago in Italy. Lundqvist isn't having the greatest of starts but that is in no way a reflection of his play. He has been his usual all-world self and has kept the Rangers in nearly every game they play. He has been brilliant (even though his numbers wont attest to it) and will be starting for Team Sweden in 2010.
Chris Drury: Yeah a shocker here but what can you say? Drury is having his worst statistical year ever (by a mile) and is doing few things right for the New York Rangers. But on a personal note his face-off prowess and his defensive game along with the potential for him to score big goals (maybe it's the Rangers) puts him on the roster. Plus he brings much needed leadership to the table and after his performance last year in the Victoria cup I'm not going to argue with his international play.
Ottawa Senators - Silver Seven
- Daniel Alfredsson, Sweden: Alfredsson was an associate captain on Sweden's 2006 gold medal-winning Olympic squad, so you can be sure he'll be there again--and you can be sure he'll be a part of their leadership corps. He's got two silver and two bronze medals in World Championships, and has been on a total of twelve Swedish international teams. You'd better believe he'll be there.
- Anton Volchenkov, Russia: There's no way the A-Train gets left out of Russia's Olympic roster. In fact, alongside offensive d-men like Andrei Markov (if he's back from his injury by then) and Sergei Gonchar, you can be sure Volchenkov will be a valuable shut-down defender when Russia is up against the big squads. He'll see plenty of the world's best, you can be sure.
- Filip Kuba, Czech Republic: Even more so than Volchenkov, Kuba will looked to as one of the Czech Republic's top two defenders, along with Tomas Kaberle. Unlike Volchenkov, though, he will also have to offer some solid offence.