In case you haven't noticed there's a big gaping hole in the 2013-14 NHL schedule from February 9th thru the 25th. And the reason for that? The Olympics of course.
On Friday, the NHL announced that an agreement has been reached with the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to secure participation of NHL players in the upcoming 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
And as in past years, the Rangers should be well represented.
Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy thinks that Ryan Callahan, Derek Stepan and Ryan McDonagh will all be headed to Sochi for Team USA.
Lambert previously left Stepan and McDonagh off the roster in a projection earlier this year.
Chris Peters at CBS Sports says Callahan is his favorite to become Team USA captain.
...despite last season's success, Stepan is still making a name for himself in the NHL, so while I agree with Lambert that he should make the team, I'm not 100% confident we'll see him in the line-up every night.
...the only guy I can see giving Callahan a run for captain is Dustin Brown. Either would be a tremendous pick.
...got to wonder if there's any chance Kreider gets a look if he tears it up this season.
Here's Callahan on raised expectations for Team USA after last Olympic's surprising silver medal finish (via NHL.com)...
"Obviously we weren't maybe looked at as a contender last time, or at least as highly as we are going to be next year, but as a team that doesn't change your goal, that doesn't change what you want to achieve over there," Callahan said. "We're not going to surprise anybody. From the outside those expectations are going to be there. But with the group of guys that we eventually put together, it's going to be a lot of mature players, a lot of players who have obviously been there before and have had success at the NHL level with expectations and with pressure on them. The group as a whole will be able to handle it."
Meanwhile, TSN revealed their early projections for Team Canada with Rick Nash and the "offensive-minded" Dan Girardi making the squad.
While Harrison Mooney at Puck Daddy also includes Nash, but leaves out Girardi.
Marc Staal, who had been in Mooney's previous predictions, is not on either list.
...first off, what the hell is TSN doing calling Girardi an "offensive-minded" player? You think they meant someone else?
...as far as Staal goes, his performance this season will have everything to do with whether or not he makes the team. If his eye heals properly and he's the Staal of old, I think he makes the team. However, if he struggles to adapt to his compromised vision then I think he'll be watching from his couch.
Back in June, the Swedish Hockey Federation released its Olympic training camp roster with Henrik Lundqvist, Carl Hagelin and prospect Oscar Lindberg getting an invite.
...got to admit, I'm real impressed to see Lindberg get invited to camp. While he's likely a long shot to make the team, he should be real proud to at least be attending camp. Great experience for the youngster.
And obviously Mats Zuccarello will be a member of the Norweigan team.
Watching that final result of the Yankees Red Sox game... I have lost all faith in baseball... if that were to happen in game 7 of the ALCS (dont even get me started). That needs to be fixed because right now it is a joke... and ruined a great baseball games outcome
I'd be surprised if cally was captain, honestly. parise will be in the mix as well. I'm not too sure mcdonagh is a shoo in either he'll have to quite a bit to get there.
Seeing him on the devils is disgusting... Thought he had more respect for himself than that
For Sweden to be fair their blue line is stacked. Also, if Lindberg makes the team then we know he is a stud because Sweden probably has the best team all around in the entire tournament. As for cally don't see him being the captain... I think it will be either Brown or Parise.
My prediction is Sweden over USA for the gold, and Canada over Finland for the Bronze. To bad another silver for us, but Sweden is stacked
Agree that it can be fun to watch but remember last time that it really hurt the Rangers due to wearing out the players (especially Lunquist) and injuries (was it Jagr who got all messed up?).
Man, I've had no interest in these Olympics whatsoever. But hearing from the Captain, I can't help but be a little psyched. I guess that's why he's the Captain!
Kevin I don't see Lindbergh as a long shot at all he had a solid season last year and is ready. They wouldn't invite him if they didn't think he had a shot. And that's a dam good national team as well.
@JoeSmith MVP in the SEL is one thing. There are enough guys on the Swedish roster that everyone of them is battle-tested in the NHL... it would be impressive for a kid with 0 NHL games to make the team... very impressive
@thenyrblogneill McDonagh should be a shoe in for the US squad. I know of no one who is more deserving. Stepan should also be on the squad. Both of those guys are up and coming super stars.
@FREE LINDBERG Brown yes Parise? I don't think so. Cally is more qualified then Parise.
no doubt those are top concerns ... and the argument that NHLers have no business in the Olympics anyway, but it's better that way for the folks that stand to make the money .......
@AG_Blue For the records the Olympics are the biggest sporting event for every country in the world. You my friend are in the minority if you don't care for it.
Dude. Lindberg is trying out to make the best team in the world. Alfredsson at best is a 4th liner on that team... If he makes it he is a complete stud