February 18, 2014

Dobber Sports

2014-02-18

Team Canada has just two goals from their forward group from players not named Jeff Carter. I understand that skaters like John Tavares and Sidney Crosby are perhaps still adjusting to playing less minutes than they normally would with their NHL clubs, but if Drew Doughty still has to provide the majority of the goal support the rest of the way, Canada isn’t going to survive much longer.

 

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How about Michael Grabner’s tournament so far for Austria? He’s notched five goals, an assist and 13 shots in three games. Grabner suffered through a nearly three-month goalless stretch earlier in the year for the Islanders and went into the break pointless in five games. He’s got too much talent to be producing the way he has at the NHL level and maybe this Olympic tournament will jump start him when he gets back to North America.

 

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Patrik Elias will reportedly miss Tuesday’s contest against Slovakia with an illness.


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In that same game, Jan Laco will reportedly start over Jaroslav Halak and Peter Budaj.


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Katie Baker takes a look at T.J. Oshie’s incredible shootout performance


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As per a comment in the Ramblings, the question was raised about players that didn't make the Olympic cut outside of Canada. The pros and cons of not going are fairly straightforward. Not playing in the Olympics allows for bumps and bruises to heal and hopefully get rejuvenated for the stretch run of the season. The con is you could lose any momentum you had going because of a lengthy stoppage and the possibility of busting out of a slump by playing with some solid talent for your country.

 

The names that really stand out for me outside of Canada were Bobby Ryan, Kyle Okposo, Jiri Hudler, Radim Vrbata, and Victor Hedman.

 

Out of the entire Olympic selections, Hedman was by far the biggest shocker for me. You would have to think they could have found a spot for him over say Johnny Oduya or Henrik Tallinder. Hedman is well on his way to doubling his career high in points and has already surpassed his best season when it comes to shots on goal. If there is a downside, it's that his PIM has dropped slightly and he won't be able to reach 70-plus like he did in his first two years. The added offense is a good trade off though. One reason for the extra production could be his power play time that is up almost 30 seconds more per game than it was last year.

 

As far as Hudler and Vrbata go, the Czech's seem to march to a different drum when making selections. Taking a 54 old Peter Nedved was curious when Hudler was on pace for a career year. He started the season on fire and although he's cooled some since, Hudler has still been fairly consistent for the Flames. Playing with Mikael Backlund has seemed to help him.

 

When it comes to Vrbata, he has been somewhat of a disappointment in my eyes as I thought he could duplicate the 35 goal campaign he had in 2011-12 playing with Mike Ribeiro. However, Vrbata hasn't seen a ton of time with Ribeiro and hitting the 30-goal mark is now going to be a big challenge.</