The puck will be dropped on men's hockey at the 2010 Olympics in a little over 24 hours from now. The city of Vancouver is abuzz with Team Canada talk. Who will be the starting goalie? Who will Sidney Crosby play with? Where is Mike Green? These questions, along with countless more, have been filling local radio shows, the local newspapers, and the mouths of hockey fans everywhere. These kinds of questions are not exclusively Canadian, as I am sure there are Swedish hockey fans wondering how Peter Forsberg will hold up, and Russian hockey fans wondering who will get to play with Alex Ovechkin. I have a few questions and thoughts of my own, so read on to find out my list of the top 10 things to watch for during the 2010 Olympics!
10. The Russian power play. You have Sergei Gonchar rushing the puck up the ice. Across from him on the other point is Ilya Kovalchuk, perhaps the most deadly power play specialist in the world right now. Below him, along the half boards, is Pavel Datsyuk, who may be the most crafty and creative offensive talent in the game today. Below the net you have Evgeni Malkin, who uses his size along the boards well and can do just about anything he wants with the puck. Does it sound scary enough yet? Throw in Alex Ovechkin, steaming around the offensive zone like a heat seeking missile. Let's just say, teams would be smart to try and avoid taking penalties against the Russians this year.
9. Luongo or Brodeur? Both Canadian goaltenders are coming in to the games after getting yanked (Brodeur on Saturday night, Luongo on Sunday afternoon). Brodeur has struggled a bit lately, but has a wealth of experience in big game situations. Luongo has thrived internationally as well, but he lacks Brodeur's resume. Look for Marty to get the start on Tuesday against Norway, but don't expect his leash to be very long if he falters, even a tiny bit.
8. Slovak train derailed? Many were looking forward to a potential top line of Marian Gaborik, Pavol Demitra, and Marian Hossa at the games this year. However, both of the Marians are currently battling injury, and there is no word on whether they will be ready to go on Wednesday against the Czech Republic. Demitra on his own is about a decade removed from striking fear into the opposition, so this could be a quick exit for them. Unless…
7. Goaltenders stealing the show. Neither of the Swiss or Slovakian teams are supposed to compete for a medal at the games this year, but both countries boast elite goaltenders, with Jonas Hi