Canadiens fans have two big questions heading into the Sochi Olympic hockey tournament:
Will Carey Price be the No. 1 goaltender?
How much ice time will P.K. Subban get?
“I don’t even know the answer to that question,” Team Canada coach Mike Babcock told reporters in Sochi after Tuesday’s practice when Subban’s role with the team was brought up. “There was a whole bunch of guys out there today, and I was watching everyone. I wasn’t thinking about, ‘geez, is P.K. going to get in?’”
For the second straight day, Subban skated on what appeared to be the fourth defence pairing with Dan Hamhuis. The other pairings had Duncan Keith with Shea Weber, Marc-Édouard Vlasic with Drew Doughty, and Jay Bouwmeester with Alex Pietrangelo.
“Hockey is such a big sport in our country, and it’s such a big part of our culture, we take it very seriously,” Subban told reporters after the practice. “The best players, I’m sure, will play. But you look at our team, we have so much talent and so many players that are capable of playing, it’s not a knock on anyone out there playing seven minutes a game, or not playing at all.”
Babcock has yet to announce his goaltending rotation, but is expected to have Price and Luongo split the first two games with Canada facing Norway at noon ET on Thursday and Austria at noon ET on Friday. Canada will play its final preliminary-round game at noon ET Sunday against Finland.
Here’s how the lines and defence pairings looked at Tuesday’s practice:
Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby – Jeff Carter
Patrick Sharp – Jonathan Toews – Rick Nash
Patrick Marleau – Ryan Getzlaf – Corey Perry
Jamie Benn – John Tavares – Patrice Bergeron
Martin St. Louis – Matt Duchene
Duncan Keith – Shea Weber
Jay Bouwmeester – Alex Pietrangelo
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Drew Doughty
P.K. Subban – Dan Hamhuis
On another note, happy birthday to former Hab Chris “Knuckles” Nilan, who turned 56 on Tuesday. Nilan will be a guest on this week’s HI/O Show along with Jack Todd, joining sports editor/host Stu Cowan. The show will be taped Wednesday morning and be available on HI/O around 5 p.m. Wednesday.
If you have a question you would like Nilan or Todd to answer on the show, put it in the comments section with this post or email Cowan at firstname.lastname@example.org
(Photo by Jean Levac/Postmedia News)