2010 Winter Olympics Hockey: A look at the Ottawa Senators

The Olympics are mere months away, and I'd be lying if I said I'm not looking forward to the men's hockey tournament most of all. Although the Ottawa Senators don't have the international flavour they've had in years past, there will still be a pretty good Olympic presence for this year's team. Although plenty can still change between now and the beginning of the tournament, the following is a preview of which players may fall where on their respective Olympic teams. I've broken it down into four key categories:

Pack Your Bags

  1. Daniel Alfredsson, Sweden: Alfredsson was an associate captain on Sweden's 2006 gold medal-winning Olympic squad, so you can be sure he'll be there again--and you can be sure he'll be a part of their leadership corps. He's got two silver and two bronze medals in World Championships, and has been on a total of twelve Swedish international teams. You'd better believe he'll be there.
  2. Anton Volchenkov, Russia: There's no way the A-Train gets left out of Russia's Olympic roster. In fact, alongside offensive d-men like Andrei Markov (if he's back from his injury by then) and Sergei Gonchar, you can be sure Volchenkov will be a valuable shut-down defender when Russia is up against the big squads. He'll see plenty of the world's best, you can be sure.
  3. Filip Kuba, Czech Republic: Even more so than Volchenkov, Kuba will looked to as one of the Czech Republic's top two defenders, along with Tomas Kaberle. Unlike Volchenkov, though, he will also have to offer some solid offence.
  4. Milan Michalek, Czech Republic: Even if Michalek weren't having an awesome year, he would still likely be on the Czech squad for the Olympics. But with 13G and 8A in 24GP, it's an even easier pick for him to make it.
  5. Jarkko Ruutu, Finland: There aren't many teams that Ruutu would make, but he could very well be instrumental to any success that the Finns have in the Olympics. He'll likely play third-line minutes, and he'll likely be up to his old tricks--but with a little more discipline added in.
  6. Kaspars Daugavins, Latvia: There aren't many Latvians playing pro hockey in North America, and Daugavins--who's currently with the Binghamton Senators of the AHL--will probably be among the team's leaders, despite the fact that he's only 21 years old.

(Continue reading for the rest of the list... )

Nearly A Lock

  1. Alex Kovalev, Russia: Most people would bet on Kovalev making the team, if only as a leader for the young stars. But young stars there are many, and Russia's not going to be scared to pull talent from the Kontinental Hockey League, too. Kovalev's highly likely to be on the team, but I don't know if it's an absolute lock--especially with the relatively low point total he's put up so far this season.

In A Battle

  1. Mike Fisher, Canada: Fisher got himself on Olympic radar with a strong performance in last summer's World Championships, and his career-best numbers so far this season--10G, 11A in 21GP--is just adding to that. He's going to have to beat out some very good players to get a spot on Canada's squad, but he's done himself plenty of favours so far this season.
    Headed On Down
  1. Jason Spezza, Canada: A last-minute invite to Canada's orientation camp, Spezza was going to have to do a heck of a lot to get a sniff for Team Canada's roster at all, and his chances at centre were even worse. Although his defensive play has improved markedly, it's not going to get him on the squad, and the numbers he's put up so far have bumped him farther down the list.

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