I don’t know much about Team Canada, because I’m a filthy American with no respect for Canada’s long and storied history of hockey. Title IX, son! But there are some things I do know, and I am here to impart my glorious wisdom unto you. (Onto you? That sounds dirty.)
So, in the same format as the USA roster run-down, here’s an extremely shallow analysis of the Canadian Women’s Olympic team.
The biggest star on Team Canada, no matter what Kevin Dineen appears to think, is Marie-Philip Poulin. She was 18 when she single-handedly stabbed America through the heart in 2010 – meaning, she scored both of Canada’s goals, while Team USA got shut out. She’s been called the female Sidney Crosby, and not without reason; she can deke with the best of them. She plays a fast, clean, clever game, and has only gotten better in the 4 years since the last Olympics. Here are some highlights:
But because Canada likes hockey just a little, or something like that, they have other talent. One of their more notable names is Hayley Wickenheiser, a veteran of four Olympics already. She’s Captain Canada in a huge way, and is a cornerstone of Canada’s team. The woman’s a legend; if you’re reading this blog, you know of her. And she’ll be a pain to deal with in Sochi.
Meghan Agosta-Marciano plays with the Montreal Stars when not with the Canadian National team. She’s a veteran of two Olympics and was a four-time nominee for the Patty Kazmaier award in the NCAA. A brief profile of her:
Caroline Ouellette is also a veteran player, with three Olympic gold medals. She’s a huge, physical presence on the ice, and combines goal-scoring ability with low PIM. She’s also coached for Hockey Canada, and has been with the Montreal stars since 2008.
Shannon Szabados went to the 2010 Olympics as the third goalie for Canada, but posted the best stats in pre-tournament play and ended up playing the most Olympic games (3) of the goalies. She won all of them, and her Olympic save percentage was 98%. Two of the games were shutouts, including the gold medal game against the US. She was named to the Olympic All-Stars team, and was named the tournament’s top goaltender. However, in this year’s pre-Olympic games as part of USA Hockey’s Bring on the World Tour, Szabados only played three games, and of those games, only one was a win. In the games of hers that I got the chance to watch, and although the saves she did make were lovely, she was giving up a *lot* of rebounds, which Team USA did capitalize on.
Charline Labontè may be a goaltender to look for at Sochi. She’s a two-time Olympic veteran for Canada, having gone to both the 2006 and 2010 Olympics. She was getting a lot of the starts in the series of games against Team USA, and looked very sharp, giving up few rebounds.
That’s all! Canada’s roster is incredibly untalented, and that’s why they’ve stomped all over Julie Chu’s gold medal dreams for 4 Olympics in a row. No talent there. None. Probably it’ll be an easy win for good ol’ Team USA.