The parity in international hockey has never been greater. So despite all its talent, Team Canada isn’t an overwhelming favorite to win gold in Sochi -- but it is certainly among the favorites along with Russia, Sweden and the United States, in particular.
What remains true is that only Canada could ice a second full squad that you might look at and wonder if it could contend as well.
So play along with me for a second here and pretend that the IOC and IIHF one day decided to open up the Olympic men’s hockey field to a second Canadian entry, given the NHL talent pool from the Great White North. Imagine that for a moment Hockey Canada made me the GM. (It’s not too far-fetched, so stop laughing. I can hear you.)
And with that, I give you my Team Canada B squad:
The skinny: So, you’re telling me this B squad is stronger down the middle with Giroux, Thornton, Couture, Staal, Seguin, Spezza and Richards (two of whom would play wing) than Team USA's real-life Olympic team is? Well, yeah, you could argue that, I guess.
On defense, I somehow managed to leave off Mike Green, but what can I say, I like the eight guys I picked. Nice balance of offense and defense plus the left-right split.
In goal, Crawford and Fleury were the guys I know Team Canada talked about as a possible fit instead of Mike Smith as the third netminder on the A team.
So, what do you think of this team, good enough to compete in Sochi in the top six? I’d say so.