Our golden choices for Sochi

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Times-Herald sports writers make their choices for Canadian men's Olympic roster

By Katie Brickman and Matthew Gourlie

Hockey Canada fix

With Hockey Canada set to unveil their roster for the men’s Olympic Tuesday morning, Times-Herald sports writers Katie Brickman and Matthew Gourlie joined the national debate by selecting their 25-man rosters for Sochi.

Here are each of our 25 picks and an explanation at each position:

Goal

Brickman: Roberto Luongo, Carey Price, Josh Harding.

Gourlie: Luongo, Price, Jonathan Bernier.

Brickman: Luongo and Price are the most obvious choices for Canada. It was a difficult decision to choose a third goalie, but Harding has the numbers to support this decision. More so though, I want Harding on this team for selfish reasons — he is battling multiple sclerosis while playing in the NHL. He might not be playing in 2018 — give the guy the honour of playing in the Olympics. If Luongo is injured and can't go, I would choose Mike Smith as his replacement and Price would start. I do think the starter is up in the air, with Price having the edge.

Gourlie: The first two are obvious and if Canada is playing their third goaltender they’re in trouble. So in some ways this was the hardest decision, but the least important. The case for Harding is pretty good and he is having the best season of the strong candidates for the third spot. I like Bernier’s youth and potential to be a factor in the future more than guys like Mike Smith or Corey Crawford. I think Canada should split Price and Loungo for the Norway and Austria games and then go from there.

Defence

Brickman: Duncan Keith, Shea Weber, Marc-Édouard Vlasic, Drew Doughty, Jay Bouwmeester, Alex Pietrangelo, P.K. Subban and Brent Seabrook

Gourlie: Doughty, Seabrook, Weber, Keith, Pietrangelo, Vlasic, Subban and  Bouwmeester

Brickman: Keith, Weber and Doughty were locks for my list. After that, it gets murky. However, I think Subban should be on this team for many reasons and I don't think he is that big of a defensive liability. I think he could strive on the big ice in Sochi. Canada needs reliable defensive defencemen like Bouwmeester and Seabrook, so that's why I chose them.

Gourlie: Doughty, Weber, Keith and Pietrangelo are locks in my mind. Then Subban was an easy choice as a No. 7 defenceman/power play specialist at worst. Seabrook and Vlasic then made my list as reliable defensive defencemen who can also skate. With four right-handers and three left-handers, I was looking for a left-handed shot for my last spot and settled on Bouwmeester. I dind’t think Kris Letang and Subban were both needed. On the big ice I liked Bouwmeester’s size and skating ahead of the likes of Dan Hamhuis, Francois Beauchemin and Dan Boyle.

Also, I can’t believe we agreed on all eight defenceman.

Forwards

Brickman: LW: John Tavares, Patrick Sharp, Jamie Benn, Matt Duchene

C: Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews, Ryan Getzlaf, Patrice Bergeron

RW: Steven Stamkos, Tyler Seguin, Corey Perry, Rick Nash, Claude Giroux, Martin St. Louis

Gourlie: LW: Patrick Marleau, Logan Couture, Sharp, Duchene    

C: Crosby, Toews, Tavares, Bergeron, Getzlaf

RW: Stamkos, Giroux, Perry, St. Louis, Jeff Carter

Brickman: I changed my forward line up about four times before deciding on these lines. It was difficult to decide who you keep and who gets cut. Canada has many talented players, but I went with speed and scoring. St. Louis and Giroux would be my extra forwards. My favourite line would be Benn-Getzlaf-Perry — speed, size and creativity. If Stamkos can't go for Canada, I would put Giroux in his spot and then add Mike Richards or James Neal. Scoring shouldn't be a problem for this team.

Gourlie: The top four centres were easy for me. Couture and Duchene were easy picks for their two-way play, skating and offensive ability. I liked Sharp’s grit and Marleau beat out Chris Kunitz, Jamie Benn, James Neal, etc. based on his skating, size and experience. I don’t mind Katie’s idea of playing Tavares on a wing in top six eithe. Stamkos, Giroux, Getlzaf and Perry were easy choices, but the final two spots were really hard. I worry about St. Louis’ age, but for a week he could be great. He and Carter could both fit in scoring role. Rick Nash’s poor goal-scoring record at the Olympics and his average season kept him off my roster. Concerns about Joe Thornton’s mobility and Taylor Hall’s defensive play kept them out, though it was tempting to bring Hall as a power play specialist to bump Carter. Bringing an extra right winger who can score adds a little cover in case Stamkos is rusty or not fully healed. I don’t think Seguin’s time is here yet at this level.

Organizations: NHL

Geographic location: Canada, Sochi, St. Louis Norway Austria

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