Friday, January 1, 2010

5 Rangers named Olympians

Now that all of the rosters for the Olympic hockey teams have been named, congratulations to the Rangers player (and all players) who made the cut.  I'll take a look at the 5 players in the organization who will be playing in Vancouver as well as a few who were candidates but won't be making the trip.  first, the Rangers players who are on Olympic rosters:

  • USA - Ryan Callahan and Chris Drury
  • Slovakia - Marian Gaborik
  • Sweden - Henrik Lundqvist
  • Switzerland - Andreas Ambühl (Wolfpack)
Gaborik and Lundqvist were shoe-ins, but the other 3 had to wait to find out if they had made their respective teams.  Ryan Callahan probably played his way onto the team over the past year and a half.  He plays all out on every shift and earned the 'A' from Tortorella for a reason...obviously good things in the eyes of Team USA GM Brian Burke.  Drury is an interesting case, just because of how much his offensive production has dipped over the past 2 years.  I think he makes this team for his defensive zone faceoff prowess and his ability to kill penalties.  He won't be expected to score much on this team, and maybe that will let him take some pressure off himself and improve his play before coming back to the Rangers after the Olympic break.

With a limited Swiss talent pool, the selection of Ambühl probably makes sense.  When he signed with the Rangers in May, he was billed as a Swiss version of Sean Avery and he scored at almost a point per game clip in Switzerland last year.  However, he's failed to translate his game to the AHL so far, posting just 1 goal and 4 assists in 33 games this season.

Click below to read about a few Rangers who were candidates and didn't make the cut, as well as some general Olympic team notes.
  • Czech Republic - Vinny Prospal and Michal Rozsival
  • USA - Brandon Dubinsky
  • Canada - Marc Staal
Marc Staal never had a shot at making the Canadian team this time around...they're simply too deep on defense when Mike Green, Dion Phaneuf, and Jay Bouwmeester are just the beginning of the list of Canadian blue liners who won't be lacing up the skates in Vancouver.  If NHLers continue to participate in the Olympics in 2014 in Sochi, Russia and going forward, I would expect Staal to see serious consideration along with his 2 (or maybe even 3 by that time) brothers.  Although he wasn't at the August orientation camp, you have to think Brandon Dubinsky would be on this team had he not suffered a broken hand.  I would count him as a likely participant at the 2014 Sochi games as well.

The omissions of the 2 Czechs are mind-boggling to me, and that Vinny Prospal was left off the roster is an insult unless I'm REALLY missing something.  All he's done this year is pick up 24 assists, score 0.84 points per game, and be the most important Ranger not named Marian or Henrik.  Oh...and by the way, his 0.84 points per game is better than Elias, Alfredsson, Langenbrunner, Hossa, Selanne, and Fleischmann (on the Czech roster)...just to name a few.  I find it hard to believe that Petr Cajanek--he of the 0.58 points per game in the KHL--has more to offer this team than Prospal would have.  MISTAKE MISTAKE MISTAKE!  Rozsival is a different case, as no one can keep a straight face and argue that he's had a good 18 months on the ice.  But put Roman Polak, Filip Kuba, Jan Hejda, and Rozsival in front of me and tell me I can only pick 3 for my team...Rozsival is coming with me 100% of the time.  His omission isn't as egregious as Prospal's, but it's still poor.

Other notable omissions:

First, some the USA defense selections shocked me.  Andy Greene leads ALL USA-eligible defensemen in points (23), and has a plus-8 rating on the season.  Ryan Whitney is 2nd with 22 points and is plus-1.  NEITHER is on the USA roster, but Mike Komisarek (4 points, minus-9) is!  Jack Johnson is on the roster too and while his 16 points are decent, his minus-11 rating is concerning seeing as the Kings have scored more goals than they've allowed this season.
  • Canada - Lecavalier, St. Louis, Brad Richards, Doan, Smyth
  • USA - Gomez, Craig Anderson, Okposo, Rolston, Modano
  • Latvia - Sandis Ozolinsh (remember him?), Raitis Ivanans (the only Latvian NHLer not on the Olympic roster)
  • Sweden - Mikael Samuelsson (read here for his great reaction), Franzen (injured), Huselius, Hedberg, Hedman, Kim Johnsson

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