Olympic Hockey: A general view of construction of the hockey II arena in preparation for the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea. Mandatory Credit: RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports
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Olympic Hockey: NHL, NHLPA, and the IIHF have yet to reach an agreement considering NHLers playing in PyeongChang in 2018.
One of the biggest stories around the NHL is whether players will be participating in Olympic hockey in 2018. This is because the IIHF doesn’t want to fund players, and NHL general managers don’t want to either. So what should be done?
The sides have until January to come to an agreement.
Many fans are split down the middle. Several still want to see the NHL in 2018, but others don’t. Truth be told, the last 6 Olympic hockey tournaments where the best players in the world have participated, hasn’t been all that exciting. First of all, when you have national All-Star teams like Canada, USA, and Russia. Then you’ve got teams like Latvia, Slovakia, and Norway – it’s easy to determine who should dominate.
So imagine if the Olympics were like they were before 1998. We’ll explore two possible outcomes with that exact scenario. a) Canadian and American juniors against European pros. b) Canadian and American pros against European pros.
So here are depth charts for both scenarios. And players will be used from the:
– Canadian Hockey League (OHL, WHL, QMJHL) – USHL – NCAA – German Elite League (DEL) – Swedish Elite League (SHL) – Finnish Elite League (Liiga) – Swiss Elite League (NLA) – Czech Elite League (Extraliga) – Russian Elite League (KHL).
Sep 27, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; A general view before game one of the World Cup of Hockey final between the Team Canada and the Team Europe at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Team Canada (Overseas Pros Only)
*So these are the depth charts if overseas pros played only.
Sep 22, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; A Team USA fan celebrates a goal against Team Czech Republic during preliminary round play in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
*On a bit of a side note, if the tournament literally were to start today, Wojtek Wolski would obviously be ineligible to participate due to his recent long-term injury suffered in the KHL. He is hoping to return before the season concludes, but that remains to be seen.
Next, check out what teams would look like with Juniors only.
Sep 24, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Team Canada fans cheer during a semifinal game against Team Russia in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey at Air Canada Centre. Canada defeated Russia 5-3. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Team Canada (CHL Players Only)
*Here are depth charts for junior players only on their respective teams.
Forwards: Bobby Montcalm – Adam Mascherin – Taylor Raddysh Brayden Burke – Sam Steel – Kameron Kielly Bobby MacIntyre – Mason Shaw – Cliff Pu Francois Beauchemin – Tyler Boland – Jordan Kyrou Matthew Highmore
Defense: Cody Donaghey – Samuel Girard Joshua Mahura – Chase Harrison Connor Hobbs – Mathieu Henderson Simon Bourque
Goalies: Samuel Montembeault Connor Ingram Logan Flodell
*If Tournament Started Today*
Sep 22, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; A Team USA fan wearing a Donald Trump mask gestures as he watches play against Team Czech Republic during preliminary round play in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Team USA (CHL, USHL & NCAA Players Only)
Forwards: Max Jones – Ryan Moore – Alex DeBrincat Jack Walker – Kailer Yamamoto – Mike Vecchione Dennis Yan – Cameron Askew – Kelly Klima Anders Bjork – Casey Mittelstadt – Keegan Iverson Austin Albrecht
Defense: Ryan Mantha – Keoni Texeira Eric Israel – Connor Mackey Neal Pionk – Jeff Taylor Daniel Brickley
Goalies: Joseph Woll Parker Gahagen Michael Bitzer
*If Tournament Started Today*
Finally, we show European team favorites with no NHL players.
Defense: Jonas Junland – Oscar Fantenberg Henrik Tommernes – Fredrik Eriksson Nils Andersson – Sebastian Aho Niclas Burstrom
Goalies: Gustaf Wesslau Johan Gustafsson Joel Lassinantti
*If Tournament Started Today*
Sep 19, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; A fan of Team Russia smiles as he watches the replay of a goal for his team against Team North America during preliminary round play in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Team Russia (Overseas Pros Only)
Forwards: Alex Ovechkin – Vadim Shipachyov – Sergei Shumakov Sergei Mozyakin – Vladimir Tkachyov – Alexander Barabanov Ilya Kovalchuk – Alexander Torchenyuk – Maxim Shalunov Nikita Gusev – Fyodor Malykhin – Kirill Petrov Alexei Kopeikin
Defense: Vyacheslav Voynov – Bogdon Kiselevich Igor Ozhiganov – Renat Mamashev Anton Belov – Vasili Tokranov Kirill Koltsov
Re: Ovie’s inclusion, we reference his quote, “It’s a situation when you don’t know what’s going to happen,” Alex Ovechkin said. “Obviously, I said I’m going to play.”
So when you look at these teams Russia has a clear advantage. But the other teams are very solid as well. Also, the main issue will come down to goaltending. So what will these goalies do when facing scorers like Kovalchuk and Ovechkin? Will they step up or fall apart? That’s the joy with this setup, no one knows because anything can happen, and as a result would make for some exciting hockey.
So however things work out it’s sure to be fun to watch. Just look what Team USA did to the Russians (former Soviet Union) in 1980. While the American’s were filled with College players and the Russians were full of pros that spent years together, the Americans managed to pull off one the great miracles on ice that we’ve ever seen. With the skill and size of the kids today. They will put up a fight, so perhaps it’s time for a change in scenery for Olympic hockey.