Monday, September 05, 2016

Noon World Cup Player Notes (Sep 5)

Probably the most anticipated team in the tournament is the North American 23 & under squad, as it will boast the future superstars in the game today and it will be one of the most dynamic teams to watch, assuming they can come together and assemble as a real team in time.

Jonathan Drouin - Connor McDavid - Mark Scheifele
Johnny Gaudreau - Jack Eichel - Brandon Saad
Nathan MacKinnon - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Dylan Larkin
J.T Miller - Sean Couturier - Auston Matthews
Vincent Trocheck

Morgan Reilly - Aaron Ekblad
Shayne Gostisbehere - Jacob Trouba
Ryan Murray - Seth Jones
Colton Parayko

Of course, this is as preliminary as it gets, as there was some rotation around, but you can really get excited seeing some of these lines, as they slowly start to form for this side.

John Gibson, Connor Hellebuyck and Matt Murray will be the three goalies on this side in what could be a wide open competition for the number one job.

The Canadian team will face the pressure of playing as the host team, even though there are quite a few Canadian players on the North American squad up above.  Really takes the international flavour out of the whole thing, but oh well!

Brad Marchand - Sidney Crosby - Patrice Bergeron
Logan Couture - Jonathan Toews - Tyler Seguin
John Tavares - Ryan Getzlaf - Steven Stamkos
Matt Duchene - Claude Giroux - Joe Thornton
Corey Perry

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Shea Weber
Jake Muzzin - Drew Doughty
Alex Pietrangelo - Brent Burns
Jay Bouwmeester

It is nearly impossible to put numbers on those lines, as all four lines for Canada could be a 1st line on any NHL team or just about any international team, assuming they changed allegiances.

Carey Price, Braden Holtby and Corey Crawford are your three anchors on the team, all very decorated in recent years, so the goaltending should be in great hands.

The Czech Republic team has been busy ahead of their camp opening up in Prague and there has been some pretty poor coverage of the team thus far, but I was able to find their opening day forward lines... no defense pairings, sadly.

Michal Birner - Tomas Plekanec - Jakub Voracek
Ondrej Palat - Martin Hanzal - David Pastrnak
Michal Frolik - Radek Faksa - Ales Hemsky
Milan Michalek - Vladimir Sobotka - Dimtrij Jaskin
Roman Cervenka

Andrej Sustr, Roman Polak, Zbynek Michalek, Jakub Nakladal, Michal Jordan, Michal Kempny and Tomas Kundratek will form the blueline in one fashion or another.

Petr Mrazek is the odds-on favourite to be the number one guy for the Czechs, with Michal Neuvirth and Ondrej Pavelec not too far behind.

On paper, this does look like the weaker of the teams in the tournament, but as long as they can keep the puck out of their own net, they should be able to stay in most games.

The Americans are going to be a fun team to watch and they are coming in with some real potential.  No one will want to underestimate this group, as they will be flying out on the ice and will be tough to stop.

Zach Parise - Derek Stepan - Blake Wheeler
Max Pacioretty - Joe Pavelski - Patrick Kane
Justin Abdelkader - Ryan Kesler - T.J. Oshie
James Van Riemsdyk - Brandon Dubinsky - David Backes
Kyle Palmieri

Ryan McDonagh - John Carlson
Ryan Suter - Dustin Byfuglien
Jack Johnson - Matt Niskanen
Erik Johnson

There are some pretty impressive lines in there and they will be some blue collar, hard working types in there that will be very competitive.

Jonathan Quick, Ben Bishop and Cory Schneider will provide three very good choices for eating up minutes in the tournament and I would imagine that the hot hand out of the pre-tournament games will get the nod and be on a short leash.

Still waiting to see how Team Europe is going to be lining up, so when that drops, I'll have it on here.

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