Finally, we received some news that should bring a little bit of excitement during the heat of the summer. Yesterday, the NHL announced that an agreement was reached to allow the league’s players to participate in the 2014 Olympics in Sochi. Approximately one hour later, the NHL released the names of the four new divisions along with the long-awaited 2013-14 NHL Schedule.
Anyways, the announcement concerning the 2014 Sochi Games was probably what caught my attention the most. Don’t get me wrong – the NHL schedule is something to look forward to every year; however, the Olympics only come around once every four.
The Olympics bring the opportunity to enjoy the game of hockey as a whole – a chance to watch the game for the sheer enjoyment of it. As for rooting interests, you also get the opportunity to support your own country, while supporting your favorite team’s players on each of their respective countries.
Today, I figured we could put a New York Islanders’ spin on the 2014 Sochi Games. Isles’ fans: let’s project the Isles’ players that will be participating overseas while the NHL takes a two-week hiatus next February.
I will start with the obvious. John Tavares should be a lock for Sochi. Since 2008, Tavares has arguably been the most productive international players for Team Canada at both the U-18 and Men’s levels of competition.
Tavares never received the chance to play in the 2010 Vancouver Games, but he has made appearances in the World Hockey Championship from 2010-2012. In those three international stints, the Islanders’ star has played 22 games, scoring 16 goals and 25 points.
Like I said, Tavares should be a lock.
I wouldn’t go as far to call Kyle Okposo a lock for the 2014 Games, but I would be surprised if we didn’t see the forward in Sochi in February. Kyle did not participate in the 2010 Games, but like Tavares, Okposo did make appearances for Team USA from 2010-2012 during the World Hockey Championship.
KO wasn’t nearly as dominant, scoring 5 goals and 11 points over 23 games, but one would think Team USA could use Kyle’s aggressive play on their bottom-six.
Visnovsky will most likely be part of Team Slovakia’s blue-line in February. The Islanders’ power-play quarterback has been making international appearances for his home country since 1993, and has played in each Winter Olympics since the 1998 Olympic Games.
Lubomir has played 19 Olympic games, scoring 4 goals and 8 points or Team Slovakia.
Michael Grabner is a lock for the games, if not by necessity for Team Austria. Other than Thomas Vanek, Grabner is probably the biggest name player on Austria Hockey’s roster.
Although the former 34-goal scorer is yet to make an Olympic appearance, he was part of Austria’s qualifying team during 2008-09 when he was 21-years-old. Austria did not qualify, but in 3 games, Grabner scored 5 goals.
Are we missing anybody?
Is there anyone else you feel should/could make an appearance at the 2014 Games? Sound off.