Thu, Jan 09, 2014 - Page 19 News List

Canada, Russia name Olympic ice hockey rosters

AFP and AP, TORONTO and MOSCOW

Sidney Crosby, whose “golden goal” in overtime brought Canada the 2010 Winter Olympic crown, was among 11 National Hockey League players named on Tuesday to Canada’s Olympic squad for the Sochi Games.

Crosby took a pass from Jarome Iginla and fired the winning goal in the championship match against the US to bring Canada the Olympic gold medal on home ice at Vancouver four years ago.

“With the depth of talent in Canada, these players should be very proud of their nomination today and excited about the opportunity that we all have to represent our country in Sochi in February,” Hockey Canada executive director Steve Yzerman said.

The Pittsburgh Penguins star forward was joined on the 25-man roster for next month’s Winter Olympics in Russia by six forwards, three defenseman and goaltender Roberto Luongo from the 2010 gold-medal squad.

Others from the 2010 team hoping to repeat the feat at Sochi include defensemen Duncan Keith, Shea Weber and Drew Doughty and forwards Rick Nash, Corey Perry, Patrice Bergeron, Jonathan Toews, Ryan Getzlaf and Patrick Marleau.

St Louis defenseman Jay Bouwmeester, who played with Nash and Luongo on the 2006 Canadian Olympic squad, but failed to make the lineup in 2010, will be in the lineup for Sochi.

First-time Olympians for Canada include goaltenders Carey Price and Mike Smith, forwards John Tavares, Steven Stamkos, Matt Duchene, Chris Kunitz, Jeff Carter, Patrick Sharp and Jamie Benn and defensemen Alex Pietrangelo, P.K. Subban, Dan Hamhuis and Marc-Edouard Vlasic.

Five players from the 2010 gold medal team who were invited to Canada’s pre-Olympic orientation camp in August last year were not included on the roster, including Joe Thornton, Eric Staal, Mike Richards, Dan Boyle and Brent Seabrook. Other top names snubbed for the squad include Martin St Louis, James Neal, Taylor Hall, Corey Crawford and Claude Giroux.

Washington Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin will lead Russia’s hockey team at the Sochi Olympics, with the host country looking to avoid a repeat of its poor performance at the 2010 Vancouver Games.

Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings, Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Nikolai Kulemin of the Toronto Maple Leafs were among 15 NHL players who made Russia’s 25-man roster on Tuesday.

Sergei Bobrovsky of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Colorado Avalanche’s Semyon Varlamov and Alexander Yeryomenko of the KHL’s Dinamo Moscow will contend for the starting goaltender spot.

Edmonton defenseman Anton Belov, Slava Voynov of the Los Angeles Kings and two Montreal Canadiens defensemen — Alexei Emelin and Andrei Markov — are also on the list, which includes former NHL players Alexander Radulov and Ilya Kovalchuk.

Russia was knocked out in the quarter-finals in Vancouver in 2010.

Ovechkin said the team certainly will feel pressure to win on home ice, but he also expects that to be one of the team’s strengths.

“The Olympics are probably the most important thing for Russians, more than any other athletes in the whole world,” Ovechkin said on a conference call. “And since I was a little kid and since everybody was a little kid, their dream was playing in the Olympic Games, especially if we have a chance to represent our country in Sochi in Russia, it’s unbelievable and it’s going to a great thing. That’s what I mean it’s a strength. I don’t think somebody going to [think] their mission is done to be just on the Olympic team. Our mission is to try to win the gold medal.”

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