Here’s what you need to know after the first day on the ice for the teams.
Filppula earns an ‘A’
Team Finland named Valterri Filppula as one of its alternate captains, along with the Panthers’ Jussi Jokinen to serve alongside captain Mikko Koivu of the Wild. At 32, Filppula is one of the older statesman on the team (goalie Pekka Rinne is 33; defenseman Sami Lepisto is 32), so it’s not a surprise to see Filppula in one of the leadership positions.
Stamkos in high demand
All eyes — or most of them at least — were going to be on Steven Stamkos as he takes part of Team Canada in an international tournament for the first time since 2013, when he played in the World Championships.
Just two days ago, the Postmedia Network in Canada published an interview with Team Canada captain Sidney Crosby, who said he’d like to play with Stamkos on a line. Here’s what Mike Zeisberger wrote:
Sid and Stammer.
Can you imagine how lethal two of hockey’s brightest stars could potentially be on the ice together?
Sidney Crosby certainly can. And has.
On this, a sun-splashed Labour Day weekend, Crosby is discussing the upcoming World Cup of Hockey in an exclusive one-on-one chat with Postmedia. At this particular moment, the Team Canada captain is pondering the question we’ve just posed to him: Which player on the roster might you like to be linemates with?
It doesn’t take long for him to respond.
“I haven’t played with Stammer before,” he said. “That would be an interesting combination. His shot — he doesn’t need a lot of time to release it. He’s a right-handed shot. He’s one guy.”
Well, it doesn’t seem like Mike Babcock was listening because when Canada unveiled their lines at practice, Crosby and Stamkos weren’t together (but somehow Brad Marchand is).
Team Canada's line rushes:— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) September 5, 2016
We’re going to borrow words from ex-Bolts and Team USA coach John Tortorella, who said, “Don’t get married” to the forward lines, and that could be true for Babcock too. It’s still early.
Crosby and Stamkos did hit the ice together on the first power play unit.
One of the PP units now on ice: Stamkos and Doughty at the points, Crosby, Getlzaf and Tavares up front— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) September 5, 2016
After practice, Stamkos talked about how special it is for him to represent his country after not being able to play in the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Check out Sportsnet’s video of Stammer.
Drouin on first line
One player who is seeing time on the top line is Jonathan Drouin, who’s on Team North America. He’s slotted on the left side of Connor McDavid with Mark Scheifele on the right. It’s a formidable combo, but with Drouin and Nathan MacKinnon having success together in junior, it’s a bit surprising those two weren’t put together to begin with, to see if they still have the magic.
Team North America line drills:— John Lu (@JohnLuTSNMtl) September 5, 2016
Despite that, Stamkos, for one, is impressed.
Steven Stamkos on Team NA: "“I just saw the lines that they had ... I don’t think you’d be embarrassed to lose to a team like that."— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) September 5, 2016
Stralman and Hedman together
In a move that surprises no one, Anton Stralman and Victor Hedman will be a defensive pair for Team Sweden. Check out Raw Charge contributor Patrik Bexell’s interview with the two if you haven’t yet.
It's a thing Team Sweden has done in the past as well. It's a show of team unity, which I'm all for. I like it. It's definitely different than in the NHL, where you buy your own suits and basically wear what you want.
And, yes, you can bet it's one of those tight-fitted Swedish suits. You'll be seeing lots of that.
We’ll have to see if Stralman and Hedman keep it up when they return to Tampa.