World Cup of Hockey 2016

Toronto Welcomes the Best

The best hockey players in the world hit the ice in Toronto starting September 17 for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. While hockey fans have been treated to high caliber men’s international hockey in the Olympics since 1998, it was back in 2004 when we saw the last World Cup of Hockey, which Canada won.

The Olympics and the World Cup showcase elite men’s hockey talent from around the world.  While there are many similarities between these two international tournaments, the World Cup of Hockey will be played on NHL sized ice, under NHL rules.

New Format

Teams from Canada, Russia, Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic and the U.S.A. will enter.  As new additions, a North American team of players aged 23 and under will enter along with an all-star team from Europe.  The European team will feature the top players from countries that are not represented.  This could include players from Germany, Slovenia and Switzerland.

Predictions Begin

Canada will be viewed as a favorite playing on home soil.  Several members of the media have voiced their opinion about who should wear the Team Canada jersey come September.  Over the course of several blogs I’m going to make my player selections, according to position.

Team Canada Goalies

1. Carey Price (@cp0031)

Florida Panthers v Montreal Canadiens
 (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

Choosing the 3 goaltenders for Team Canada may be the least controversial of all positions.  It’s not a difficult decision to find your starting Canadian goalie with Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens calling Anaheim Lake, B.C. home. Price was named the Best Goalkeeper at the 2014 Olympics, where he backstopped Team Canada to a gold medal.  He cleaned up at the 2015 NHL Awards winning the Hart Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player, the Vezina Trophy as the top goalie, the Ted Lindsay Award as the most valuable player as voted by the players, and shared the Jennings Trophy with Chicago’s Corey Crawford as the team which allowed the fewest regular season goals.  Price is not only Canada’s best goalie, but the world’s best.

2. Braden Holtby (@Holts170)

New York Islanders v Washington Capitals - Game One
 (Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images)

Holtby, from Lloydminster Saskatchewan, currently shares the NHL lead with 11 wins.  He is tied for the 2nd best goals against average with 2.01.  In 2014-15, Holtby had 41 wins for the Washington Capitals and stopped over 92% of the shots fired his way.  Braden has been one of the best NHL goalies the past few seasons and keeps getting better.  Holtby is ready and more than capable of representing Canada in net.

3. Corey Crawford (@crow_50)

NHL: Stanley Cup Final-Tampa Bay Lightning at Chicago Blackhawks
Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Born in Montreal, Crawford has backstopped the Chicago Blackhawks to Stanley Cup victories in 2013 and 2015.  Corey has the experience of playing in high pressure situations and has delivered.  He is a winner.  This season Crawford has 9 wins, 2 shutouts and has stopped 91% of the pucks directed his way.  A solid choice and valuable asset for Team Canada.

… In my next blog I look at Team Canada’s defensemen.

Information and statistics retrieved from: http://www.nhl.com

NHL. (2015). World Cup of Hockey set to return in 2016. Retrieved from http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=750156

NHL. (2015). Carey Price. Retrieved from http://www.nhl.com/ice/player.htm?id=8471679&docid=TeamPlayerBio:13436#&navid=nhl-search

NHL. (2015). Braden Holtby. Retrieved from http://www.nhl.com/ice/player.htm?id=8474651&docid=TeamPlayerBio:36423#&navid=nhl-search

NHL. (2015). Corey Crawford. Retrieved from   http://www.nhl.com/ice/player.htm?id=8470645&docid=TeamPlayerBio:2701#&navid=nhl-search

 

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