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2014 Winter Olympics: Hockey Players to Watch on Team Canada

Can Crosby and His Mates Grab Gold in Sochi Four Years After Winning in Vancouver?

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2014 Winter Olympics: Hockey Players to Watch on Team Canada
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Sidney Crosby

Can Canada repeat their gold medal performance without the home ice advantage they enjoyed in Vancouver at the 2010 Winter Olympics? The oddsmakers say yes as Canada currently is a 2/1 favorite to take home gold in Sochi, Russia next month. Of course Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin and the rest of Team Russia will certainly be motivated by their underdog status and will be fired up skating in the Motherland in front of thousands of their cheering compatriots. Team USA cannot be underestimated either, not when they have star power like Patrick Kane and Dustin Brown on the starting roster.

Ultimately however, Russia and the United States simply cannot match the unbelievable talent on Team Canada. You know you have a special team when general manager Steve Yzerman and head coach Mike Babcock leave Claude Giroux, Martin St. Louis, Joe Thornton, James Neal, Mike Richards and Logan Couture out of the lineup.

Here are the players to watch on the Team Canada roster, which features eleven returning players from the gold medal team of four years ago.

Carey Price

While Roberto Luongo will probably get the starting job given that he backstopped Canada to the gold medal podium four years ago in Vancouver, Babcock could pull him quickly if he starts out shaky as has sometimes been the case in his career. That means first-time Olympian Carey Price could get some playing time between the pipes and it will be interesting to see how he performs on the world stage. Price plays in the high-pressure hockey environment of Montreal so he should be well prepared for Sochi if given the opportunity. The third goaltender in the mix is Phoenix's Mike Smith.

P.K. Subban

The Montreal Canadiens' dynamic defenseman with a cannon of a shot will be making his Winter Olympics debut for Team Canada. Oh, and did I mention Subban is the defending Norris Trophy winner? Subban has proven he can be a difference maker on the ice and is certainly a player to keep an eye on.

Sidney Crosby

What is there to say about Sid the Kid that hasn't been said already? Simply a phenomenal all-around player and arguably the best player in the world.As alternate captain for Team Canada at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, Crosby scored the gold medal-winning goal in overtime and in 2009 he captained the Pittsburgh Penguins to a Stanley Cup victory. His unreal skills are only matched by his leadership qualities both on and off the ice. Expect Crosby to play a big role in Sochi.

John Tavares

The New York Islanders center was recently named NHL first star of the week after scoring four goals and adding six assists, including his second career five-point game and fifth career hat trick. So Tavares is rolling and that is good news for fans of Team Canada as the Sochi Olympics get set to begin.

Here is the rest of Team Canada's all-star roster:

Defensemen

Jay Bouwmeester, Drew Doughty, Dan Hamhuis, Duncan Keith, Alex Pietrangelo, Marc-Édouard Vlasic, Shea Weber

Forwards

Jamie Benn, Patrice Bergeron, Jeff Carter, Matt Duchene, Ryan Getzlaf, Chris Kunitz, Patrick Marleau, Rick Nash, Corey Perry, Patrick Sharp, Steven Stamkos, Jonathan Toews

Josh Marks is a sports journalist who has written about his experiences at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada. Josh has written for SportsFanLive, Rant Sports, Inside Hockey, The Hockey Writers and multiple other newspapers and websites.

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