This table (link leads to larger version) represents each member of Team Canada (except for Ryan Murray, since he plays for the Everett Silvertips and therefore is the odd one out… sorry, dude) and their teammates on all of the other teams who are representing their countries at this year’s WHC’s. Notice the blanks, and how many there are, and you’ll see why I felt the need to fill a few in with clip art. Sorry I’m not sorry.
For Patrick Sharp, who is wearing number 81 in honour of teammate Marian Hossa, who got a concussion back in the first round of the Playoffs. Number 10 was already taken by Corey Perry, but Sharp had more reasoning behind his change, anyways:
“I had a few options to choose from and I definitely wasn’t going to wear No. 88, that’s for sure,” Sharp said. “I thought 81 was symbolic for my birth year — being the oldest guy on the team — and of course for the ‘Hossman’ as well.” So honouring Patrick Kane was out of the question, and the old man chose 81, instead. An impressive six players are at the WHC’s this year – two in Finland and four in Sweden, which means that they won’t play against each other unless their teams all make it to the quarterfinals.
“Hopefully, we get to match up against Sweden and I maybe can take a shot at Kruger and Stalberg and try to skate around Hjalmarsson,” Sharp added. “It’s always fun playing against guys you have a relationship with.” Adorable, isn’t it?
For teammates Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Devan Dubnyk and Jeff Petry, they’ve met once before, in a 5-4 game that was given to the Americans in OT. And so the story (rivalry?) goes for many of the Canadians and Americans, which leads me to believe there will be a lot of bragging when training camps roll around. While the locker room may not be filled with familiar faces for everyone, for Sharp, the dynamic is still very present.
“It’s pretty similar to how things run with the Blackhawks,” he said. “Team Canada sets up a lounge in the hotel and we play (games) every second day pretty much. There’s lots of downtime with the guys getting to know each other and just kind of enjoying the city of Helsinki. It’s just a lot of team dinners. We have a video game station set up here as well. I’m just kind of laying low.”
Laying low – read: not getting in to fights at bars… I kid, I kid.
Next up, Jamie Benn vs. Kari Lehtonen (if he starts) and Jay Bouwmeester vs. Jussi Jokinen will be worth looking out for when Canada takes on Finland tomorrow.