|A rare photo of Babcock smiling.|
Mike Babcock - Coach
This has already been confirmed but Detroit's Head Coach Mike Babcock will once again be the Head Coach for Team Canada's Olympic Team. This will be Babcock's 2nd time coaching Team Canada as he coached the Gold Medal winning team in Vancouver. Babcock already has a stellar coaching resume with his Stanley Cup win in 2007-08 and impressive win percentage.
Team Czech Republic
Jakub Kindl - Defenseman
Detroit's lone Czech could expect to see a spot for him on Olympic Roster. Though he's a bottom pairing Defenseman on the Wings, Kindl has shown steady improvement over the last 3 years and recently inked a $2.6 million per year for 4 years deal proving that he is reliable enough for the Red Wings. Kindl recorded 13 points in 41 games last season, 2nd only to New Jersey's Marek Zidlicky (who tallied 19 points) among Czech Defensemen.
Pavel Datsyuk - Centre
This is a no-brainer. Datsyuk has represented the Russian Olympic team 3 times in his career and won a bronze medal with the team in 2002. Additionally he ranked 1st in points among Russian Centres last season tallying 49 points in 47 games. He also earned another Selke Trophy nomination for Best Defensive Forward. Datsyuk should be battling Pittsburgh Penguins' Evgeni Malkin for top spot on the first line.
Edit: It has been confirmed that Datsyuk has been invited to Russia's Olympic Camp.
Tomas Tatar - Left Wing
Tomas Tatar's biggest goal for this season will be to finally crack the Red Wing's line up. The talented 23 year old has spent 4 years with the Grand Rapids Griffins. In his 16 NHL games last season he did muster up 7 points and shows promise of being one of Detroit's best prospects. Tatar has represented Slovakia's National team at the World Championship in 2010, and 2012, though he missed the 2013 Championship due to the Calder Cup Run the Grand Rapids Griffins went on. If Tatar can crack the Red Wing's line up and continue his scoring pace, Slovakia will be itching to have him on their Olympic line up.
With 9 Swedes on the roster the "Tre Kronor" will benefit greatly from the Red Wings Squad. First off here are the "locks" for the Swedish Olympic Team.
|Detroit has always been known for its large number of Swedes|
Zetterberg lead all Swedish players with 48 points in 46 games last season. He has represented Sweden in the 3 previous Olympics winning gold at the 2006 games. He was also part of the 2006 World Championship Team and has won Stanley Cup with Detroit in 2008 to become a member of hockey's Triple Gold Club. With the Sedin Twins likely playing on the top line Zetterberg could be on the 2nd line Centred by Nicklas Backstrom and with fellow Red Wing, Johan Franzen to the right.
Johan Franzen - Right Wing
"The Mule" has represented Team Sweden once at the Olympics in 2010 but he was part of the 2006 World Championship team that took home a Gold Medal. His net large front presence will be a welcomed addition to the relatively small Swedish team. Franzen's regular season play can see stretches that lack inspiration but come play-offs he always turns it on, look for him to do the same for the Olympics as he chases the last piece of hardware to get him to the Triple Gold Club.
Daniel Alfredsson - Right Wing
Another member of the "Triple Gold" Club, Alfredsson has payed on 13 incarnations of Team Sweden dating back to the 1995 World Championships. He has played on the Olympic Roster since 1998 in Nagano, Japan where NHL hockey players were allowed to compete for the first time. Though the 40 year old's game has shown signs of slowing down in recent years expect to see him on the top line with the Sedin Twins.
|A young Daniel Alfredsson at the Nagano Olympics.|
Niklas Kronwall - Defense
Kronwall took a big step up for the Wings last season with the departure of fellow Swede Nicklas Lidstrom. Kronwall, like Zetterberg was a member of the 2006 Olympic and World Championship team, and the 2008 Stanley Cup Winning Red Wing team making him a member of the Triple Gold club. It will be interesting to see what line Kronwall ends up on. He certainly has the talent to be a top pairing Defenseman likely playing with the offensive powerhouse Erik Karlsson, but if the Jonathan Ericsson ends up making the roster the Swedish management could put the Kronwall-Ericsson duo on the 2nd line to help maintain their chemistry and slot Alexander Edler or Oliver Ekman-Larsson on the top line.
|Nik Kronwall collides with Valterri Filppula.|
Jonas Gustavsson - Goalie
Though all but an injury will stop Henrik Lundqvist from being the Starting Goalie, Jonas Gustavsson could potentially be a back-up for Team Sweden. He played one game against Belarus at the 2010 Olympics where he looked pretty shaky letting in 2 goals and posting a 0.895 Save Percentage. Despite his experience on the Olympic team, injuries and the emergence of Victor Fasth could see Gustavsson battling for the 3rd spot with up-and-comers such as Tampa Bay's Anders Lindback and Florida's Jacob Markstrom.
Jonathan Ericsson - Defenseman
Ericsson took a huge step forward in his play last season but Sweden has a number of great Defenseman that have reliable preformed better than Ericsson. However, if Ericsson can continue to improve his game, the fact that he regularly pairs up with Niklas Kronwall could potentially pique interest from Swedish Management.
|Probably not the same Tim Roth|
Jimmy Howard - Goalie
Howard has represented Team USA on the U18 team in 2002 where he helped Team USA take home the Gold. Howard was the starter for team USA in that tournament and I found out that the other Goalie was named Tim Roth.
Like most goaltenders on the Red Wings, critics cite Detroit's brilliant defensive play to inflate their goaltender's stats, but last season with Detroit's new look defense Howard posted his best stats yet. Howard tied 4 other goalies for the most shut-outs last season with 5, and was 3rd among American goalies (with at least 10 starts) with his 0.923 Save Percentage. In the 2010 Olympics, USA sent Tim Thomas (who has been hiding out in a bunker in Colorado since last year), Ryan Miller, and Jonathan Quick. Due to Thomas' eccentric retirement, and the lack of success of the Buffalo Sabres, Quick is likely the only goalie to cement his return to the National Team. Howard certainly has a strong resume and I think could potentially battle Quick for the starting roll (and at least 1 other non-biased person agrees with me!)
Justin Abdelkader - Left Wing/Centre
Michigan born, Abdelkader is a bit of a long shot but his piano-pulling efforts have earned him top line minutes on the Red Wings with Datsyuk. His tenacity hard-working efforts could make him an attractive option on a checking line with Team USA.
Edit: It has recently been confirmed that Jimmy Howard, Justin Abdelkader, and Danny DeKeyser have been invited to Team USA's Orientation Camp.
Danny DeKeyser - Defenseman
I initially didn't expect that DDK would make Team USA, but a recent report suggests that he has been invited to the Orientation Camp. The former NCAA star signed with the Detroit Red Wings last year and showed potential in his 13 NHL games before a broken thumb sidelined him. America has a number of talented Defenseman so Danny will have his work cut out for him.
So there you have it, by my count up to 11 members of the Detroit Red Wings could be representing their countries at the Sochi Olympics. Sweden will have heavy representation from the Wings and it will be interesting to see if they play Pavel Datsyuk and the Russian squad.