I don’t know about you but I have been very excited about Olympic Hockey – Men and Women’s. And as much as I love the the fast, frenzied tournament style that the Olympics offer us, they don’t give us much research time for the final games. So I am starting early and will be giving you a few team profiles throughout the week starting with the reigning gold medal champions – The incredibly well dressed Team Canada.
Let’s get Sidney Crosby out of the way. Sidney is the hero of the last Olympics when he scored the game winning goal against team USA in the tournament final. He’s played for the Penguins since 2005 and when he was drafted, he was so highly sought after that the draft was nicknamed the ‘Sidney Crosby Sweepstakes’. When he first started playing in the NHL Mario Lemieux took him under his wing, teaching Sidney how to handle the press, the hype, the endorsements etc…Sidney even lived in his guest house for the first few years of his pro career.
Now, You can peruse his Wikipedia page for a list of his many achievements – and he has quite a few but it’s up to me to tell you some of his more interesting traits. For instance did you know that eats a peanut butter and jam sandwich before every game? Or that he has a ‘lucky cup’ that he was worn for years?
He has the order of Nova Scotia largely for the plethora of charity work he has done in the area. In 2010 he donated his entire Olympic winnings to charities in Nova Scotia and has also a winner of “The Dapper Dan Sportsmanship Award.” I can’t say for sure what the award is celebrating but he is indeed dapper and a little bit of a heart throb. I find his lips very large but that hasn’t stopped him from dating a beautiful model named Kathy Leutner.
The man in the net is a familiar face as well. Roberto Luongo is playing in his 3rd Olympics but plays for his hometown, the Vancouver Canucks in the regular season. Before Vancouver he played for Florida and met his wife while he was eating at a favourite restaurant of the team – Pizza Time Trattoria. Gina Cerbone was the owners daughter and together they have a fairly adorable and perfectly Italian family with two daughters.
Vancouver fans have mixed feelings about Luongo. He is easily the best goalie that the team has had and he has done a lot of great work with the Vancouver community, including buying a box where underprivileged kids can come and watch the game. He also gives away his goalie stick to a fan at the end of games where he is named MVP but last year when he was pulled from a game, his fans cheered. This will most likely be his last Olympics.
Jonathan Toews (oddly pronounced Taves) is playing in his second Olympics and plays for Chicago alongside team mate and good friend Patrick Kane who will be playing for team USA. The two were drafted in the same year and are a huge part of Chicago’s success. They are very much looking forward to playing against one another for a change and it should be fun to watch them. Toews also played with American T.J. Oshie while they were juniors. The two were caught in a North Dakota Tavern drinking under age and had to do a fair amount of community service together, so this should be a nice little reunion for them.
Also from Chicago is Patrick Sharp who was named Chicago’s sexiest athlete in 2009 so we’re absolutely covered in the looks department. Thank god.
But my personal favourite player is Martin St. Louis who plays for Tampa Bay Lightening. The GM of Tampa is Steve Yzerman and he also happens to be the GM of team Canada, which means that he is in large part responsible for putting together the team. This year Martin St. Louis was not picked. He was snubbed by his own team’s general manager in favour of his team mate Steve Stamos but when Stamos had trouble coming back from an injury, St. Louis got his ticket to Russia.
This scenario is typical to St. Louis’s career. He turned away NHL interest in his junior year at school wanting to graduate, but when he was finished college, the interest was gone and he went un-drafted. He was picked up and let go numerous times before finding his way to Tampa. Martin is one of the most unappreciated players in the NHL possibly because of his height. He measures at 5’8 and is often dwarfed on the ice but he has proven to be a truly sturdy player, playing in over 1000 NHL games and has great scoring records. Best of all he is a three time winner of the Lady Bying Memorial Award for…wait for it – The most gentlemanly player in the NHL.
He hasn’t received much ice time in the last few games but I hope they’ll bring him out soon.
Lastly I want to speak briefly about the guy who has been the star of every game Canada has played thus far. Drew Doughty plays for the LA Kings and was the youngest player on Team Canada in 2010. When asked about his tendency to come alive on the international stage, he responded “I don’t know what’s going on, I don’t score like this in LA, at all.” So in the very least, he’s certainly thought things out.
Are you excited?
Go Canada Go!
Here is a disgruntled Luongo after a reporter asks about his unsupportive fans
Here is Jonathan Toews telling a fairly boring , yet charming story about his BFF Patrick Kane
Here they are being best friends
Lastly we have a video by the very junior reporter for the Black hawks asking why Patrick Sharp is so beautiful