Men's hockey team geared for another gold at 2006 Olympics
The 2006 Olympic Men's hockey team will be without some fixtures to the international ice hockey scene including Mario Lemieux, Steve Yzerman, and Scott Niedermayer. However, with a handful of young and healthy individuals from the 2002 Olympic gold medal team and the 2004 World Cup team, Canada are still the odds on favourite to repeat as champions.
Filling the void left by the injury to Lemieux, Joe Sakic of the Colorado Avalanche will assume the role of Captain for the squad heading into Torino. Jarome Iginla of the Calgary Flames, Joe Thornton of the San Jose Sharks, and Vincent Lecavalier of the Tampa Bay Lightning top a list of who's who in terms of National Hockey League superstars leading the team.
Young forwards Dany Heatley of the Ottawa Senators, Rick Nash of the Columbus Blue Jackets, and Simon Gagne of the Philadelphia Flyers bring incredible amounts of speed and offensive fire power to the squad, something that will be needed on the larger ice surface of international play.
Defensively, Bryan McCabe of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Jay Bouwmeester of the Florida Panthers were added to the team as injury replacements when Ed Jovanovski of the Vancouver Canucks and Niedermayer of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks were unable to play.
Mainstays to the Team Canada blue line including Chris Pronger of the Edmonton Oilers, Rob Blake of the Colorado Avalanche, and Adam Foote of the Columbus Blue Jackets, will help anchor a strong defensive unit for the team.
The last line of defence will lie with starting goaltender Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils. Brodeur has assumed the number one goalie role for Team Canada since his outstanding run in the 2002 Olympic Games.
If by chance Brodeur falters, Roberto Luongo of the Florida Panthers and Marty Turco of the Dallas Stars are eager to take his place and backstop Team Canada.
In the case of any more injuries to the team young superstar Eric Staal of the Carolina Hurricanes, Jason Spezza of the Ottawa Senators, and Dan Boyle of the Tampa Bay Lightning were selected to a taxi squad that will remain on call for Team Canada.
With a combination of leadership, offensive scoring ability, grit, toughness, and Brodeur's goaltending the 2006 Canadian Olympic Men's hockey team looks poised to bring another gold medal back to Canada.