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07-27-2013, 07:46 PM
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Lineup with explanations:

Hall Crosby Tavares
E. Staal Stamkos St. Louis
Sharp Toews Nash
Marchand Bergeron Giroux
Richards, Duchene

Keith Weber
Pietrangelo Doughty
Hamhuis Subban
M. Staal, Letang


Toews Sharp
Hamhuis Weber

Bergeron Marchand
M. Staal Doughty

Stamkos E. Staal St. Louis
Keith Weber

Nash Crosby Giroux
Doughty Subban

Line 1: Crosby is the obvious #1 centre, bringing elite all around ability and Olympic experience. Tavares has arguably the best hockey sense on the team, allowing him to transition successfully to the wing, and is proven internationally. He could be devastating in tandem with Crosby. Hall brings elite speed and willingness to bang bodies and open up space for his linemates. Possibly not the easiest fit, but I think this line could hurt teams in several ways.

Line 2: Stamkos and St. Louis are a proven tandem who should have no problem on international ice. E. Staal should be able to dominate along the boards, winning the puck for his linemates and leaving them space. Has some experience on the wing as well. He could also move to centre if Stamkos falters there, replicating the Stamkos - Spezza - St. Louis line that worked quite well at the WCs. Plenty of experience on this line, and if Staal is on one of his hot streaks it could easily be the best line on the team.

Line 3: Solid experience and chemistry. Toews and Nash worked very well together in 2010, while Toews - Sharp have proven compatibility from their years in Chicago. Each player has good to great defensive ability, and they are all capable offensive threats. This would not be a fun line to play against, and could definitely wear down opposing teams.

Line 4: Proven chemistry with Bergeron - Marchand, while the latter also brings slight Olympic experience. Bergeron brings an elite defensive element to this line single-handedly. Marchand brings an agitation element to the team that is largely missing otherwise (remember that Canada has done this before at best on best tournaments, particularly in the 80s) and is a quality skater. He has also demonstrated an ability to score at a sufficiently high rate while not needing many puck touches. Giroux is over-qualified for the fourth line, but that is the cost of playing on this team. He can dominate the puck in the offensive end, and has shown the ability to play RW in the past. Another scary line.

Spares: Richards dresses, providing experience and another defensive/gritty player should someone go down. Losing one of the players who is an elite talent offensively honestly shouldn't be a big concern. Duchene can watch, and shouldn't prove a distraction as a young player just happy to be there. He is also an elite skater who has impressed internationally. I have some questions about his ability to use elite linemates, but I don't expect that he will be needed anyway.

Pairing 1: Weber is the top defenceman on the team, always looks good internationally and gets to play on his strong side. Keith is Canada's best LH defenceman, and his elite mobility should complement Weber.

Pairing 2: Two elite all around defencemen who have excelled internationally. Pietrangelo should be able to play on the left side without much of a problem. No weakness here.

Pairing 3: Subban is dynamic enough to break a game open, but there are risks associated with his style of play. Hamhuis is there as a quite, reliable defender who is elite in his own zone. It helps that he is the ever elusive LH defenceman on this team.

Extras: M. Staal is an optimistic pick. If healthy, he brings size, great skating, elite defensive play and another LHD. Letang is a great skater, but this isn't 2006 and Canada is fine in this regard. I don't like his mental lapses, and Subban takes his spot because he is better on the PP.

Goaltending: Play whoever is best at the time. My guess is Price, but that really is little more than a guess. Not as bad a situation as it is sometimes made out to be, but not optimal either.

PK1: Toews and Sharp are already a proven commodity. Hamhuis and Weber are elite defensively and should be fine in net battles.

PK2: Bergeron and Marchand are also proven. M. Staal has good size and defensive ability, and Doughty is no slouch here either. Pietrangelo could fit in as required.

PP1: E. Staal is the net presence, while Stamkos waits for one timers from St. Louis. Keith is there for mobility on the blueline, and Weber is obviously there for his shot. I'm not really worried about Weber being used in so many situations. Wouldn't want to be the goaltender worried about Stamkos and Weber on the same PP.

PP2: Nash is the net presence here. Crosby and Giroux have a bad relationship, but they are too useful on the PP to leave off and should be able to put issues aside for a few minutes each game. Doughty provides mobility and puck moving on the blueline, and Subban has a booming shot.

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