Sidney Crosby

Canada names Olympic hockey roster, led by Sidney Crosby

8 Comments

Canada will again look to Sidney Crosby to lead it to Olympic gold in men’s hockey.

Crosby was the star of the 25-man team announced Tuesday. In Sochi, Canada will attempt to become the first nation to win back-to-back Olympic men’s hockey gold medals since the Soviet Union era.

It has not won an Olympic title on non-North American ice since Oslo 1952, but there is no doubt Canada is the most talented nation in the 12-team field.

Goalie Roberto Luongo, who took over for Martin Brodeur at the Vancouver Games, suffered an ankle injury Saturday, but it does not appear serious.

Luongo or Olympic rookie Carey Price is expected to be Canada’s starter in Sochi. The third goalie is Mike Smith of the Phoenix Coyotes.

Olympic hockey rosters: U.S. | Canada | RussiaSwedenFinland | Czech Republic | Slovakia | Switzerland | Latvia | Norway | Austria | Slovenia

Tampa Bay Lightning sniper Steven Stamkos was named to the team despite his broken tibia. If he is unable to play, he can be replaced up to Jan. 12.

The notable omissions were forwards Claude Giroux and Martin St. Louis. St. Louis is the captain of the Tampa Bay Lightning, whose GM, Steve Yzerman, is Canada’s GM.

Canada was dealt another blow with forward Logan Couture set to undergo surgery Wednesday. He was also left off.

In their place, Canada went with the likes of Patrick MarleauJamie Benn and Chris Kunitz, who were seen as bubble players.

The defense is led by 2010 Olympians Shea WeberDuncan Keith and Drew DoughtyDan Hamhuis was selected over the likes of Brent Seabrook and Dan Boyle.

Here’s the full Canada roster:

Goalies
Roberto Luongo — Vancouver Canucks
Carey Price — Montreal Canadiens
Mike Smith — Phoenix Coyotes

Defensemen
Jay Bouwmeester — St. Louis Blues
Drew Doughty — Los Angeles Kings
Dan Hamhuis — Vancouver Canucks
Duncan Keith — Chicago Blackhawks
Alex Pietrangelo — St. Louis Blues
P.K. Subban — Montreal Canadiens
Marc-Edouard Vlasic — San Jose Sharks
Shea Weber — Nashville Predators

Forwards
Jamie Benn — Dallas Stars
Patrice Bergeron — Boston Bruins
Jeff Carter — Los Angeles Kings
Sidney Crosby — Pittsburgh Penguins
Matt Duchene — Colorado Avalanche
Ryan Getzlaf — Anaheim Ducks
Chris Kunitz — Pittsburgh Penguins
Patrick Marleau — San Jose Sharks
Rick Nash — New York Rangers
Corey Perry — Detroit Red Wings
Patrick Sharp — Chicago Blackhawks
Steven Stamkos — Tampa Bay Lightning
John Tavares — New York Islanders
Jonathan Toews — Chicago Blackhawks

Ragan Smith delivers in first U.S. championship title win

Leave a comment

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Ragan Smith embraced the role of heavy favorite coming into the U.S. gymnastics championships.

Thrust into the spotlight for the first time in her career, the 17-year-old hardly appeared intimidated by the stage. Smith pulled away from the field to claim her first national title Sunday, posting a score of 115.250, more than three points clear of Jordan Chiles in second place and Riley McCusker in third.

Smith opened up a 1.3-point lead over McCusker in the opening round Friday but admitted afterward she wasn’t particularly impressed by her own performance. She was considerably sharper less than 48 hours later, her 57.850 total in the finals was the best in the 16-woman all-around field by nearly two points.

Smith is one of the few holdovers from the 2016 Olympic cycle, serving as an alternate for the “Final Five” team that won half of the available medals in Rio de Janeiro last fall. Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman, Madison Kocian and Laurie Hernandez are taking breaks or have moved on, leaving Smith as the standard bearer for new national team coordinator Valeri Liukin.

The program appears to be in solid hands. Smith ditched “The Addams Family” themed floor routine she used last year for something a little more mature. It’s not the only part of her gymnastics that has grown up. Smith finished first on floor and beam and tied for third on bars.

Smith will be in the mix for the all-around title at the world championships in Montreal, where she’ll have a chance to extend the U.S.’s dominance. An American woman has won the world or Olympic title each of the last six years. Barring injury, Smith should be right there.

Liukin said he wasn’t alarmed following an uneven performance by the field in preliminaries, calling it a positive step for a group lacking in experience. The gymnastics were markedly improved in the finals.

Chiles slipped by McCusker into second thanks to a fabulous save on beam in which she turned a near disaster into something decidedly artful.

Chiles was in the middle of “wolf turn” (basically spinning on one foot while in a crouch on a 4-inch wide piece of wood) when she nearly fell over. Instead she rose to her feet, kept rotating, and went right into the next part of her routine as if it was planned all along.

Chiles’ steadiness gives Liukin another option as he tries to put together the rest of the four-woman team that will join Smith in Montreal. McCusker, only recently recovered from foot and wrist injuries, tried to keep the heat on Smith but stepped out of bounds following the last tumbling pass on her floor routine. McCusker finished first on bars — her legs practically magnetized together as she went from bar to bar — to win the event with ease.

Ashton Locklear, like Smith an alternate last summer, wound up second on bars with a watered down routine as he makes her way back from her own injury issues and should have time to install upgrades before Montreal.

Whoever heads to Canada in October will go with the usual expectations for what has become the sport’s most dominant program.

MORE: Simone Biles says being back in the gym is “OK” (video)

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Simone Biles says being back in the gym is “OK” (video)

Leave a comment

Simone Biles has competed in the six previous U.S. National Championships, winning the last four, but in Anaheim this year, she’s watching from the sidelines. Biles won four gold medals (team, all-around, vault and floor) and one bronze (on beam) last summer at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

This week she revealed she has returned to the gym to prepare for a yet to be determined event, in her return to competition.

When asked how she’s been doing in the gym by NBC Sports’ Andrea Joyce, Biles responded with her signature smile accompanied by an endearingly bashful eye roll, “the beginning is…OK.”

MORE: Danell Leyva on why he’s retiring

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!