With the December 22nd deadline for finalized Olympic rosters fast
approaching, there has been much speculation regarding what players will be
named to each countries teams. The Los Angeles Kings are a team with only
one player named to a team as of yet, but have a number of players from all
over the world, who may be chosen to represent their countries come Feburary
9th, the opening day of the men’s preliminary round.
Kings defencemen Mattias Norstrom has already been selected along with
the Wings Nicklas Lidstrom and Vancouver’s Mattias Ohlund to man the
blueline for Team Sweden. Norstrom has not been exceptional so far this
season, but has continued to be solid defensively and should play a fairly
significant role on the Swedish team.
Jere Karalahti has also struggled a little bit this season, but may have
the opportunity to be selected to play for Team Finland. The Finnish team
has already named Janne Niinimaa, Teppo Numminen and Kimmo Timonen to the
team, but Karalahti has to be considered a frontrunner for a remaining spot
along with Calgary’s Toni Lydman and Dallas’ Jyrki Lumme due to a lack of
quality Finnish defencemen.
The US team’s scouts must have watched a nmuber of Kings’ games this year
because there are 4 players who could potentially play in the Olympics for
Herb Brooks. Before Mathieu Schneider was forced on to injure reserve by a
hernia, he was playing exceptionally well. He taken over the Kings’
powerplay from departed Rob Blake and remains 13th in defencemen scoring in
the League, behind fellow Americans Brian Leetch and Brian Rafalski. He
should be named to the team in December. Adam Deadmarsh has continued to be
the Kings’ most consistent forward and has re-emerged as one of the league’s
best power forwards. He should also make the American team. Longshots
include Aaron Miller and Bryan Smolinski. Miller, has logged a lot of ice
for the Kings but is not a likely choice for Team USA. Smolinski has also
played fairly well thus far, but has to be considered an unlikely selection
with the number of talented American forwards.
Team Slovakia should have Zigmund Palffy and Lubmoir Vishnovsky if they
make it through the preliminary round. Palffy has nearly a point a game and
should continue to increase his numbers as he becoems accustomed to playing
with new addition Jason Allison.
Jason Allision, the LA Kings new star forward, was a glaring ommission from
Team Canada’s roster selections. He was one of the league’s best forwards
last season, and has began to return to form, although missing training camp
did affect his play early.
It is obvious the LA Kings maybe well-represented in Salt Lake City. It
should be an exciting time for hockey and hopefully these players are able
to contribute to their respective teams. I can’t wait!