Team Canada hit the ice for the first time on Monday and gave everyone an early look of what possible line combinations could be. The coaches seem to have placed NHL teammates with each other in hopes of continuing their strong chemistry. Among those kept together is Chicago Blackhawks forwards Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp.
Toews and Sharp play on the Blackhawks' top line and they are both having strong seasons. With the chemistry they have, there is no reason to break them up for the Olympics. Some thought that Toews could be paired with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, but both John Tavares and Patrick Marleau have been sharing practice time with them. Although that could still happen, one has to imagine the coaches will want Toews and Sharp to stay together.
Here is a look at the early line combinations for Team Canada:
Chris Kunitz-Sidney Crosby-Jeff Carter
Patrick Sharp-Jonathan Toews-Rick Nash
Patrick Marleau-Ryan Getzlaf-Corey Perry
Jamie Benn-John Tavares-Patrice Bergeron
Extra: Martin St. Louis, Matt Duchene
Duncan Keith-Shea Weber
Marc-Edouard Vlasic-Drew Doughty
Jay Bouwmeester-Alex Pietrangelo
Extra: Dan Hamhuis, P.K. Subban
There is still a lot of time for players to be moved around as these line combinations aren`t permanent. Patrick Marleau is expected to play with the Anaheim Ducks tandem in Getzlaf and Perry despite Tavares having more practice time with them. Players like Martin St. Louis or P.K. Subban could easily make their way into the lineup and once they get their chance you can bet they will do everything they can to stay there.
In terms of the goaltenders, there is still no clear-cut starter. Carey Price enters the Olympics as one of the hottest goalies in the NHL. Despite Roberto Luongo`s experience from Vancouver in 2010, the team might be better off going with Price. It is expected that both goalies will get a chance to play in the early games and a decision will be made after they both have a chance to play.
Canada plays their first game against Norway on Thursday at 11 am CT.
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