Seemingly out of nowhere, he's closer to age 30 than 20 and has another birthday coming November 19. He's coming off a Hart Trophy season as the league's most valuable player and is one of the leaders for Team USA as it heads into the World Cup of Hockey.
Olympic hockey I can get behind. It's fantastic how time flies by. Team Russia will have no problem scoring at the World Cup of Hockey. His 156 wins in the past five seasons are 30 more than any other USA -born goalie in that span. But the Blackhawks couldn't defend their third Stanley Cup title in five seasons, dropping Game Seven in St. Louis and getting eliminated in the first round of the playoffs for the first time in five years. There's a lot of examples of that and Seguin is just another one. The Americans were the silver medalists at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, and that tournament was also played on an NHL-sized rink. Kane and James met while filming a McDonald's commercial a few years ago and Kane has made it clear he can keep working on his explosiveness and flexibility like James does. Nearly unnoticed as a member of Russia's disappointing 2014 Olympic squad (zero goals), Tarasenko is unlikely to go quietly on the big stage in Toronto. Fans in Toronto are happy to glimpse Auston Mathews for the first time, and get a longer look at emerging star Connor McDavid as well. You don't want to see your own guys get hurt.
For Team Canada captain Sidney Crosby, the concept of having a player like Seguin downplay an injury in order to play for Team Canada jersey comes as no surprise. "I think people have kind of got locked in because the way we've gone with our team, yeah, we have some grind to it, but we still have a very quick hockey club here and that has to play into it". I was raised under (president John F.) Kennedy and his saying about dont ask what your country can do for you, but what you can do for our country. So he's particularly thrilled to have a major world-class event just up the Queen Elizabeth Way. Every game will be played in Toronto under the assumption that Maple Leafs fans will pay extravagant prices to watch just about any garbage (with many years of evidence to back that up). They'll reach the semifinals before falling, and I'll take Sweden in a slight upset over the Canadians for the crown. If your favorite Major League Baseball team isn't in the running for the playoffs like mine is (thanks, Pirates), I'm willing to bet you'll be tuned into the World Cup of Hockey. I am happy to report it was a fun trip.
The Americans weren't given much hope during the buildup to the tournament. As it turned out, Kessel had hand surgery and his snub became moot but the prevailing wisdom was that the United States of America was going to struggle to get out of its group. But Canada's experienced players are accustomed to a feeling-out process in worldwide competition.
Group A is made up of Canada, Czech Republic, USA, and Europe while Group B consists of Sweden, Finland, North America, and Russian Federation. Crosby's overtime goal sunk the U.S.in the final and handed Canada, under especially potent pressure on home soil, a satisfying victory. Canada has won the last two Olympic gold medals and will have the luxury/burden of being the home team, with all games at Air Canada Centre in Toronto. "We feel we have all those ingredients in here". "I'm not surprised at all by his evolution, and what gets me excited is that I don't think we've seen the best he has to offer". It was 100 miles per hour, very intense. And there even official breakdowns of the teams from the tournament itself.
Canada offered one of the stingiest defensive showings ever at the 2014 Sochi Games, yielding a mere three goals all tournament. "There's going to be some fast teams here and we do have speed".
The defence is led by superstar Erik Karlsson and all-around Tampa Bay Lightning stalwart Victor Hedman, complemented by Anton Stralman, Hampus Lindholm, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Oliver Ekman-Larsson. There was the celebrated flap with Tortorella telling ESPN anyone who sits on the bench during the national anthem would stay there for the game.
"In the Olympics you never want to stub your toe, but you can have a defeat and learn from it", Canadian general manager Doug Armstrong said.
"It's a totally different feel", he said. "Kaner's not going to play (Tortorella's) type of crash-and-bang game, and he goes out and plays 100 points a year. What a great way to start the season and what a great way to continue global play".