Life without Stamkos
Team Canada loses a star
Article: Brady Lang- Sports Writer
Team Canada was dealt a huge blow last week after sure-pick Steven Stamkos went down with a broken tibia.
The Olympic Games in Sochi are now just three months away and Team Canada – dare I say it – does not look like the front runner going into the Olympic Games. Without Stamkos, the Canadians will definitely be one team that is lacking offensively, especially at the right wing position.
Up the middle Team Canada is the deepest team in the Olympics sporting obvious captain Sidney Crosby, Jonathon Toews, John Tavares, and Matt Duchene just to name a few. The defence looks decent with Duncan Keith, Shea Weber, Drew Doughty, and Alex Pietrangelo.
As we begin to compare the Canadians to other teams, the Americans definitely look like the frontrunner if we had to pick the biggest threat to the defending Gold Medal Champions. Team Russia, led by Alex Ovechkin, and Team Sweden are, of course, always strong, but Canada does play with a sense of pride regardless of who is on the ice for the Red and White.
Stamkos could have very been Team Canada’s top player in Sochi alongside Crosby and other NHL superstars, but his broken tibia could very well be healed by the time we see the Canadians hit the ice. Without Stamkos in the line up, the complexion of the Canadian hockey team would be affected greatly, especially when it comes to the power play. Stamkos’ specialty is definitely on the point in the power play as number ninety-one for the Tampa Bay Lightning lights the lamp a lot regardless of whom he plays.
His shot is second to none and if Stamkos is unable to play the Canadians will have to look towards a Team Canada veteran in Rick Nash to step up and play well under pressure for the team. Nash was also hurt earlier this season, but has come back and is playing healthy in New York for his Rangers.
Regardless of the team’s offense, the Canadians biggest problem is between the pipes. Who will start?
The team has players such as Carey Price, Roberto Luongo, and Corey Crawford, who are hungry for the spotlight, but only one has a gold medal to show for. Luongo is a solid goaltender, but lately there has been a lot of uncertainty in the Vancouver net minder. Can he perform under pressure? What about the big goals he has let slide past him?
On the other hand, both Carey Price and Corey Crawford would be other great goaltenders that are proven at the international and professional levels respectively. Price is a big game goaltender internationally, as he has shown with his time at the World Junior level. Crawford backstopped the Chicago Blackhawks to a Stanley Cup last season and is also a big game player.
Whichever way we decide to dissect this year’s version of the Olympic team, we know that if Stamkos is unable to play, it is a huge loss for our team’s chances at the gold medal.
Stamkos is a world-class player, yet we all know that our Canadians will play with our gritty Canadian pride and will do whatever they can to bring another gold medal back to Canada.