... before Team Canada is named for this year's Olympics (which happens tomorrow at noon and I'm very, very excited).
A few countries have already named their men's hockey rosters for the Vancouver Olympics, and for the most part it's the usual suspects. Well, I don't know very much about Latvia, so I'll just make assumptions like all real sports reporters tend to do.
Team Latvia boasts only two NHLers (the third Latvian in the NHL is probably fuming, not unlike Swede Mikael Samuelsson, who is an eleventh-hour candidate for quote of the year) and a bunch of really talented guys who play in Europe.
Team Sweden, as I mentioned, has no Mikael Samuelsson (I knew who that was before he fired off that quote) but it does have Nicklas Lidstrom (so far the best captain at the Olympics, but let's wait until tomorrow to confirm that), scoring machines the Sedin twins, and the excellent Henrik Lundqvist between the pipes (who I will sometimes say nice things about as long as he's not playing for the New York Rangers or against Canada). Oh, and some guy whose name doesn't sound Swedish at all.
Team Belarus recruited the Kostitsyn brothers, who have been on fire lately, as well as this other guy who plays for the Leafs and has no face.
Team Russia is um... you know what, I'm going to say it. Awesome. Team Russia, so far, is the team to beat. They have a wicked lineup (my apologies to Kovy for getting snubbed) which boasts the NHL's best players, including two guys who will potentially become NHL captains sometime soon, Andrei Markov and Alexander Ovechkin. Oh yeah, they're also two of my favourite players in the whole league and if Canada loses to Russia in the gold-medal game, I'll probably survive.
Team Slovakia, as expected, named our Jaroslav Halak as goaltender today. Halak is also the NHL's first star of last week and should not have been pulled at the end of last night's game against the Sens, but it seems like I'm the only person who tenses up when a goalie is taken off the ice. Another Slovak goalie? Rastislav Stana, who has a wicked cool name. The team also boasts former Hab Richard Zednik and the devil himself, Zdeno Chara Miroslav Satan.
We won't find out who's on Team Canada for another twenty hours (keep sending good thoughts to Steve Yzerman so that he'll pick Mike Cammalleri, and I'm using this as an excuse to post the "Hope" poster again), but to tide you over, there's a great game at the CTV Olympics site... find out who your "twin" is on the Canadian sledge, men's, and women's hockey teams.
And now on to the successors of the best sports team of 2009: Canada's juniors won their first two games, and they play again tonight (against Slovakia), saving us from a relatively bleak post-Christmas primetime schedule. Or, you know, you can wait the whole evening for a Zach Braff-less episode of Scrubs.
If I were you, I'd tape Scrubs. (Sorry, rest of the cast.)