Results 1 to 2 of 2
  1. #1






    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    25,243
    SCF Rewards
    41,471
    Blog Entries
    35
    Country
    Montreal Canadiens Toronto Blue Jays New England Patriots
    Twitter: @Pheebs888 See Pheebs8882's Items on eBay

    Team Europe: Strength in Numbers

    While 6 countries have their own team competing in the upcoming World Cup of Hockey tournament, the remaining 2 teams are actually formed with players from more than one country. Team North America is built with American and Canadian youth, all players are from one of those 2 countries and under 23 years of age. The rationale behind this team is that it takes a while for North American youth to make the national teams since there is already plenty of mature talent to fill the roster spots. As for Team Europe, well, it is made up of all European countries players aside from the big hockey 4 (Russia, Sweden, Czech Republic and Finland). Why do those 4 countries have their own team? Quite simply put, they are the best European nations according to the world rankings: Russia is currently 2nd in said rankings, Finland is 3rd, Sweden sits in 5th position and Czech Republic is 6th. The 23 players which make up Team Europe's roster come from 9 countries this time around: Slovakia (6), Germany (5), Switzerland (3), Italy (1), Denmark (4), France (1), Slovenia (1), Austria (1) and Norway (1).
    This Ad will be removed when you a member of sportscardforum.com



    We've often heard that it's hard to build chemistry in a team over a short term tournament but one can imagine that it's even worst when the players have hardly ever played together. I mean, if you look at Canada, the United States or Russia for example, the players do not all play in the same NHL team but for the most part, they've played together in numerous international tournaments. This year's tournament marks Team Europe's first participation in a contest of this type, the last times the event was held in 1996 and 2004 there was no team Europe; Germany and Slovakia had their own teams and only Germany managed to get a single win in one of those 2 tournaments. Although these players have not really played together in the past, they are a talented bunch and no one should consider beating them as a simple formality. While I'm not crazy about Team Europe's jersey I will admit that I like the fact that each player has the flag of their country on their jersey and that the “unity stripe” is made up of the name of each European nation.

    As things stand, here are the 23 men who will be ask to fly the flags for Europe come September 8:

    Goaltenders:

    Frederik Andersen: Newly acquired by the Toronto Maple Leafs, Andersen will not have to fear losing his number one goalie title this year. In Anaheim, John Gibson was breathing very hard down the Dane's neck but the story will be different in Toronto. Last season, he started 43 games and came out with 22 wins and very respectable stats (2.30 GAA and .919 SP). Something tells me he will be eager to show his new fans in Toronto what he can do in the upcoming tournament and that the number 1 job might very well be his. Although he did suffer an injury yesterday playing for Denmark in an olympic qualifier, the Danish hockey federation has announced that he should be back in action for the World Cup.

    Jaroslav Halak: The last few seasons have not been easy for Jaroslav Halak, in St-Louis he was battling with Brian Elliott to have the top job and now, in New York, when the starting goaltender position should rightly be his, he is battling injuries more often than not. So much so that he only started 36 games in the last season posting 18 wins with the exact same stats as Andersen. Hard to say which of the two is the best netminder but that's not a problem Team Europe's coaching staff is likely to complain about.

    Thomas Greiss: One of Germany's 5 representative on the team, Greiss is also Halak's back-up at the NHL level. The fact that Halak battled injuries in the last season allowed him to see more action than expected as he started 38 games and posted 23 wins with stats on par with Team Europe's other two goaltenders (2.36 GAA and .925). Nevertheless, chances are Greiss will be the squad's depth goalie and be called upon should injuries occur.

    Defensemen

    Zdeno Chara: While everyone knows that Chara's best years are behind him (he's lost a lot of speed and mobility), he is still a physical force to be reckoned with and can still have a significant impact on the game. While he only tallied 37 points with the Bruins in the last season, he still logged significant minutes of ice time with over 24 minutes per game which for a 39 year old is a lot of ice time.

    Christian Ehroff: Ehroff has been an NHL player since 2003 when he joined the San Jose Sharks and he's never been short of work until now. The latest NHL season has not been easy for him, after signing with the Kings as a free agent in the summer of 2015, he was eventually waived and sent down to the minors before being traded to the Chicago Blackhawks in February. His latest contract has now expired however and he's yet to find another team. A strong performance in this tournament could very well help him find work for this upcoming season.

    Roman Josi: Josi has been Shea Weber's partner in crime in Nashville ever since Ryan Suter left the team in 2012 and his offensive numbers just keep on climbing. From 40 points in 2013-2014, he reached 55 in 2014-2015 and a career high of 61 points last season. You can reasonably expect him to be the general on the blue line when Team Europe is on the power play and he should no doubt make a sizeable contribution on the score sheet.

    Luca Sbisa: Born in Italy, Sbisa also has the Swiss nationality and currently lines up with the Canucks in the NHL. He only appeared in 41 games last season and should not really be relied on for any significant offensive contribution. He is 5 years removed from his most productive season with 24 points for Anaheim and he's just not that type of defenseman.

    Dennis Seidenberg: From 2010 to the end of the 2015-2016 season, Seidenberg lined-up with Chara's Bruins. However, the Boston outfit bought him out of his contract at the end of the season. He is therefore an unrestricted free agent and much like Ehroff, he may hope this tournament can give him an opportunity to catch a team's eye as the season draws near.

    Andrej Sekera: He spent last season in Edmonton where he was put on the second pairing and managed to gather 30 points with an all-time low -15 record which is not exactly surprising considering the young Oilers' struggles with the defensive side of the game. Just like in the NHL, he is likely to end up on the second pairing of Team Europe.

    Mark Streit: He's Team Europe's other offensive defenseman even though he was limited to 23 points in 62 games this last season. Just like Chara, his best years are behind him as he's now 38 years old and his production has been steadily declining. Nevertheless, the coaching staff will no doubt ask him to try and create some offense.

    Forwards

    Pierre-Edouard Bellemare: The sole French representative, Bellemare has been in the NHL for 2 seasons, both of which have been spent in Philadelphia. By no means a big points producer (12 and 14 points in his 2 season), he has come to be a fixture in the Flyers bottom 6. Expect him to be employed for defensive missions when the tournament starts.

    Michael Boedker: This long time Coyotes changed teams at the trade deadline and after a brief stay in Colorado, he has signed on with the Sharks as a free agent. While he may have trouble finding a niche in the Sharks top two lines since those are pretty much set, he should have no trouble making one of the top two line in the tournament as he remains a 50 point per season producer.

    Leon Draisaitl: This young German has seen action in the last two NHL seasons and he did manage to score 51 points with the Oilers in the last campaign. The future looks rather bright for the 20 year old and he will no doubt be amongst Team Europe's top attacking options.


    Marian Gaborik: This veteran is still an offensive threat but his age is starting to show. At 34, it has become a rare occurrence to see him play a full season, he's had more injury woes than points of late unfortunately. However, should lady luck be on his side and he manages to stay healthy for the tournament (it's not even a month if you include the exhibition stage), he could put up some good offensive numbers, especially if he gets to play with his LA linemate; Anze Kopitar.

    Jannik Hansen: A part of the Vancouver Canucks line-up since 2007, Hansen has had the chance to play with the Sedin twins last season giving him is highest career total in points with 38 in 67 games (one short of his career best but that was while playing 82 games). He does have some offensive flair but how much of it comes from playing with the twins? How will that translate with new linemates? Time will tell...

    Marian Hossa: This Slovak veteran is now a respectable 37 years old but he has been a fixture on the Hawks top 6 for the last seven years even though he didn't produce as much in 2015-2016. He was held to just 33 points in 64 games but it should be taken into account that Panarin, the Hawks' newest rookie wonder, has probably taken some ice time away from him and that injuries didn't help either. His role is likely to be more important with Team Europe than it has been in the latest seasons with Chicago.

    Nino Niederreiter: This 23 year old forward is still improving with the seasons. Since he's moved to Minnesota from the Islanders, he's taken on a much more important offensive role and his production reflects that. He should turn out to be a 50 points producer sooner rather than later and might have a chance at a top 6 spot during the World Cup.

    Frans Nielsen: After 10 seasons with the New York Islanders, Nielsen moved on and decided to go to Detroit to get more money. It remains to be seen how productive he can be without the prime power play minutes he enjoyed alongside John Tavares in New York. I believe Team Europe's brass will be happy to benefit from the exhibition stage to evaluate what he can do.

    Tobias Reider: A bottom-six forward on a young Arizona team, Reider truly is at the beginning of his career and has yet to show everything he can do. Thus far, he's posted seasons of 21 and 37 points and is seen as one of the Coyotes' prime prospect. Hard to assess where he will fit in on this team...Will they decided to bet on experience or on the skill and speed of youth? Time will tell...

    Tomas Tatar: His point production took a 10 points nosedive during last season, the fact that he plays less under the Wings' new coach is certainly part of the reason why. At 25, he can still be considered a youngster and has the speed to match his age category. Look for him to try and impress on the international stage.

    Thomas Vanek: His hitting the free agency market was once big news...in the summer of 2014 he was not short of suitors. Back then, he was roughly a point per game man but things have changed. His two seasons in Minnesota have not satisfied the team and he was bought out of his lucrative contract after posting 2 seasons of 52 and 41 points. Free as a bird, he decided to sign with the Wings for one year for much less money than he had been making recently. If anyone is looking for a bounce-back year it's Vanek.

    Mats Zuccarello: The small Norwegian winger should have no trouble finding a spot on Team Europe's top two lines. He's just had his best NHL season with 61 points and will no doubt be looking to build on that come October, what better way to get ready than an international tournament?

    Anze Kopitar: Last but not least is the newly appointed captain of the Los Angeles Kings. He can truly be expected to be the uncontested leader of Team Europe and its success will greatly depend on his. A top forward who excels both on the attack and on defense, Kopitar will no doubt be the most used forward on this roster.


    There are also a few names that will be familiar to North-American audiences in charge of Team Europe. The general-manager is no other than former NHL player Miroslav Satan and the head coach is Ralph Krueger, better known for having coached the Oilers during one season and having been a Team Canada adviser in the Sochi Olympics. As for the assistant coaches, they are experienced men in Brad Shaw and Paul Maurice. It's fair to say that Team Europe therefore has significant experience both on and off the ice. While it will not necessarily be an easy team to play against, I must admit that I do not really see them qualifying for the semi-final as they will play in Group A alongside Canada, USA and the Czech Republic and that only the top two teams in each group make it to the semi-final.

    Team Europe's exhibition stage kicks off with a match in Quebec City on September 8 and I'm happy to say that I have tickets to see them take on Team North America on that day. To know its full exhibition and tournament schedule, you can click on these two links:

    https://www.nhl.com/news/world-cup-o...dules/c-793114
    https://www.nhl.com/news/2016-world-...unced/c-778411

  2. #2






    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    25,243
    SCF Rewards
    41,471
    Blog Entries
    35
    Country
    Montreal Canadiens Toronto Blue Jays New England Patriots
    Twitter: @Pheebs888 See Pheebs8882's Items on eBay

    And just in case things didn't look bleak enough for Team Europe, Frederik Andersen has now been ruled out because of an injury sustained while playing an olympic qualifier for Denmark...

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
SCF Sponsors


About SCF

    Sports Card Forum provides sports and non-sports card collectors a safe place to discuss, buy, sell and trade.

    SCF maintains tools that will allow collectors to manage their collections online, information about what is happening with the hobby, as well as providing robust data to send out for Autographs through the mail.

Follow SCF on