Graphic: CBC Sports
With practice starting in a week, fans and players alike are gearing up for the most star-studded hockey tournament since the 2014 Olympics.
The 2016 World Cup of Hockey (WCH) includes eight teams representing six countries – Canada, Czechoslovakia, Finland, Russia, Sweden and the United States, and two all-star teams – Europe and North America, each stacked with some of the greatest names in hockey today.
This NoVA Caps series on the World Cup of Hockey (WCH) will take a deeper look at the names and faces that make-up each of the teams. NoVa Caps will start with Group A (Team Canada, Team Czech Republic, Team Europe, Team USA), first introducing Caps fans to Team Canada. We will feature a different World Cup team each day. The next article in this series will highlight Team Czech Republic.
The Canadian Dream Team is back and hungry for more. The team is positioning for WCH domination by replicating the roster that brought gold home to Canada in the 2010 and 2014 Olympics. Team Canada has assembled a star-studded roster, which includes 2016 Conn Smythe winner Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh Penguins) who will serve as captain for Team Canada, and Jonathan Toews (Chicago Blackhawks) and Shea Weber (Montreal Canadiens) as alternates.
The Team Canada coaching staff will be led by Mike Babcock, a veteran coach who knows what it takes to bring home hockey’s ultimate prize, having previously led Team Canada to back-to-back Olympic gold medals in 2010 and 2014, won a Stanley Cup with the Red Wings in 2008, and won the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) gold in 2004. Babcock has called upon other A-List coaches to help lead Team Canada. The coaches, each successful in his own right, include – Joel Quenneville, who led the Chicago Blackhawks to three Stanley Cup championships in the past seven years, to focus on defense; 2016 Jack Adams winner Barry Trotz (Washington Capitals) and Claude Julien (Boston Bruins) to oversee special teams; and Bill Peters (Carolina Hurricanes) who will lead scouting.
In looking at Team Canada’s roster (below), there’s only one word opponents can use to sum up this incredible lineup, and that’s SCARY. As if Crosby, Toews and Weber aren’t daunting enough, the forward lines will also include Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux, Stars’ Tyler Seguin, and Sharks’ Logan Couture (replacing recovering Jamie Benn). The blueline features some of the most formidable defenseman in the league — Blues’ Jay Bouwmeester, an integral member of Team Canada’s gold winning Olympic team in Sochi and the Canadiens’ Shea Weber.
While the forwards and defenseman are impressive, the depth of goaltending expertise on Team Canada is just as daunting, leaving opponents passing the blue line to face one of the most accomplished netminders in the league today: Corey Crawford (Chicago Blackhawks), Carey Price (Montreal Canadians) or 2016 Vezina Trophy winner Braden Holtby (Washington Capitals). Price won the 2015 Vezina and Hart Trophies. He was also a veteran member of Team Canada and played a crucial role in helping the team bring home the gold. Crawford has had his share of successes too, winning Stanley Cup Championships in 2013 and 2015 with the Blackhawks. While Price will likely serve as starting goalie, Holtby is the favorite to be his primary back-up.
Simply put, Team Canada is the early favorite to win this year’s tournament. Team Canada’s full roster is below.
By Stephanie Judge
Pretty scary lineup, let’s see if they come together.
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