Team Canada's Olympic team began its orientation week in Calgary yesterday. One Rangers player not among the 47 Canadians chosen to attend was Derick Brassard, who Stephen Whyno at the Canadian Press still thinks has a chance to make the team...
"Brassard doesn’t have a long history of NHL success, but this is a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately kind of business. Brassard was a point-a-game playoff performer for the New York Rangers, on par with San Jose Sharks forward Logan Couture, who will be at the camp. The 25-year-old would likely have to maintain a top-six role with the Rangers and keep up that scoring pace early in the season to warrant consideration, especially given Canada’s depth at centre."
...while it's always fun to watch as many Rangers as possible in the Olympics, I'd rather see a large majority of them at home resting their bodies for the stretch run. So not sure how excited I'd be for another Blueshirt headed to Sochi.
...although if Brassard did somehow beat out bubble guys like Couture, Duchene, Perry, Sharp and Carter it likely meant he had an unreal start to his season for the Rangers. So I guess in a way I should be rooting for him to make the squad.
As far as the orientation camp goes, Rick Nash answered questions about adjusting to the bigger rinks in Sochi during a press conference (via ESPN)..
"For me, I like the big ice. I find it's not so much of a difference. I think playing for Canada, we've had success on both, but like Sid said, they're just small things. It's different angles. It's a bit more skating. You can drift to the outside more if you're not careful. But, me personally, I've played a lot on the big ice and I enjoy it."
...Nash's performance in Switzerland during the lockout (12g, 6a in 17 games) confirms his statement. Too bad he couldn't replicate those numbers during the playoffs in the smaller rinks. Just sayin'.
Here's a pic of Nash at the presser courtesy of Monika Platek of CBC Sports...
So Nash is an obvious lock to make the team right? Maybe not says Sean Fitz-Gerald at the National Post...
"It seems hard to believe: Nash, on the bubble? The 29-year-old is one of only four players on the 47-man list who represented Canada in both Turin (2006) and Vancouver (2010), but two things in particular have bumped him down this list. First, he is not really known for his speed. And second, the thing he is known for disappeared in the playoffs with the Rangers last spring, when he was held to one goal and four assists in 12 games."
...i know Nash had a rough playoffs last year, but saying he's on the bubble is ridiculous. He's still one of the premiere goal scorers in the NHL (Tied for 10th in goals last year with 21) and had five points (2g, 3a) in seven games during Canada's run for the gold in 2010.
...the only way I can see Nash on the bubble is if he continues his playoff struggles to start the regular season and a guy like Brassard sets the world on fire at the same time. Even with that happening, I'm still not sure how Team Canada can turn down a guy who has performed on the Olympic stage and helped bring home the gold.
Marc Staal has also been invited to the orientation camp.
Ryan Callahan, Ryan McDonagh, Derek Stepan and Team USA begin their camp today.
Neither the Americans nor Canadians will actually practice on the ice because of insurance costs.