Canadiens fans can relax – and celebrate.
P.K. Subban was named to Team Canada for the Sochi Olympics on Tuesday morning along with Canadiens goaltender Carey Price. There was also good news for Canadiens defencemen Andrei Markov and Alexei Emelin, who were both named to Team Russia for the Olympics.
That means there will be eight members of the Canadiens taking part in the Sochi Games. The other four are Max Pacioretty (USA), Peter Budaj (Slovakia), Tomas Plekanec (Czech Republic) and Raphael Diaz (Switzerland).
But there was also some bad news for the Canadiens on Tuesday morning with the team announcing that Alex Galchenyuk suffered a broken hand in Monday’s 2-1 win over the Florida Panthers at the Bell Centre and will be sidelined for six weeks.
There had been plenty of speculation – and debate – heading into Tuesday’s press conference in Toronto officially announcing the Olympic team about whether Subban would make Team Canada, while Price appeared to be a lock for Sochi.
Price learned he had made Team Canada at 10:29 a.m. when he got a call from Kevin Lowe of the Team Canada management team. Lowe called Subban just as the defenceman was about to drive into the Canadiens’ practice facility in Brossard.
“I’m just grateful to have the opportunity to be able to play with the best players in the world, and play against them and learn from them,” Subban told reporters in Brossard after the Canadiens’ practice Tuesday morning.
Said Price: ”I felt like I did what I could to earn a spot on the team and I think they felt the same way.”
As for being on Team Canada with Subban, the goaltender said: ”He’s a really good friend of mine and I’m really happy that he’ll be able to share this experience with me.”
Team Canada general manager Steve Yzerman was asked at the Toronto press conference if there was ever any doubt about Subban making the team.
“There’s no doubt there’s a lot of good players, whether it’s goaltender, right defence, left defence, any of the positions,” Yzerman said. “We had some difficult decisions to make and so there was a lot of good players to choose from. This isn’t about any one individual. We had hard decisions to make and because we have so many tremendous players to choose from, that’s what makes it difficult.”
Later, in a one-on-one interview with TSN, James Duthie asked Yzerman about Subban being a “bubble player” when it came to making Team Canada.
“P.K. shoots the puck, obviously, his greatest strengths are his shot and his puck-handling,” Yzerman said. “We’ve watched very closely and ultimately it came down to the players we were looking at, he’s the right fit for that spot right now.
“I try to stay away from naming names, but we look at Brent Seabrook (of the Chicago Blackhawks, who didn’t make Team Canada). He played on our (Olympic) team in 2010, he has won two Stanley Cups since then … he’s a heckuva player. These are the types of decisions we’re making. We’re talking about two really good players here. We got to make a decision … we’re going with eight defencemen. We talked about going five rights and three lefts, or five lefts and three rights … going with seven defencemen and 15 forwards. … You’ve got to make decisions and ultimately you’re leaving very, very good players off the team.”
Here’s a look at the complete 25-man Team Canada roster:
Goaltenders: Roberto Luongo, Carey Price, Mike Smith.
Defence: Jay Bouwmeester, Drew Doughty, Dan Hamhuis, Duncan Keith, Alex Pietrangelo, P.K. Subban, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Shea Weber.
Forwards: Jamie Benn, Patrice Bergeron, Jeff Carter, Sidney Crosby, Matt Duchene, Ryan Getzlaf, Chris Kunitz, Patrick Marleau, Rick Nash, Corey Perry, Patrick Sharp, Steven Stamkos, John Tavares, Jonathan Toews.
Some of the star players who didn’t make Team Canada include Claude Giroux, James Neal, Joe Thornton, Eric Staal, Martin St. Louis, Logan Couture and Dan Boyle.
The Canadiens are back in action Wednesday night in Philadelphia against the Flyers (7:30 p.m., TSN, RDS, TSN Radio 690). Peter Budaj will start in goal after Price took a therapy day Tuesday and skipped practice. Brandon Prust also missed Tuesday’s practice for personal reasons and Ryan White remains sidelined with an upper-body injury. George Parros, who has been sidelined with a concussion, will be a game-time decision against the Flyers.
With Galchenyuk out of the lineup, Michael Bournival moved up to play on a line with Lars Eller and Rene Bourque at practice. Here’s how the lines looked Tuesday:
(Photo by John Mahoney/The Gazette)