Denmark’s Olympic elimination diminishes Canuck representation in Sochi

No Hansen on the Danish national team is a shame, since no one reps Dong Energy quite like him.

While I have no proof, I have a sneaking suspicion that Canucks prospect Nicklas Jensen wanted to play this season in the Swedish Elite League so that he would be sure to be available for Denmark’s national team for Olympic qualifying. The country’s final Olympic qualification tournament was on home ice in Vojens, and they were the highest ranked team in their group, consisting of themselves, Belarus, Slovenia, and Ukraine.

Denmark won their first game on Thursday, shutting out Ukraine 2-0. With Slovenia beating Belarus 4-2 on the same day, Denmark just needed to beat Slovenia on Friday to ensure their first ever Olympic berth. Instead, the much lower-ranked Slovenians shocked Denmark 2-1, earning their first ever trip to the Olympics. That unfortunately means that neither Jensen nor Jannik Hansen will be travelling to Sochi in 2014 to play in the Winter Olympics.

Poor Hansen. He made no secret of the fact that one of his motivations for going to Europe during the lockout was getting in shape for these qualification games. Then the NHL got it together a month before he could help the team. His presence may have made a difference.

Instead, both Hansen and Jensen will be watching Sochi on television. Between that and the fact that Roberto Luongo — a lock to make the team, even if some pundits are saying otherwise — likely won’t be a Canuck by then, there doesn’t look to be much Canuck representation at the Olympics.

Team Sweden will have the most, of course. The Sedins will be leaned on heavily to provide offence for Sweden, while Alex Edler will surely make the team after being snubbed for the 2010 Olympics.

Ryan Kesler will be an important player for Team USA and there’s an outside shot that Cory Schneider will make the team as third-string goalie behind Ryan Miller and Jonathan Quick, though he’ll have to battle Craig Anderson and Jimmy Howard for the job. Is he more deserving than they? Ryan Lambert thinks so.

As for Team Canada, it’s a safe bet that there won’t be a single Canuck in the group, which just doesn’t feel right.

A few pundits have suggested Dan Hamhuis and Kevin Bieksa as outside shots for the blueline, however. Hamhuis probably has an edge, especially if Team Canada is looking to add another left-side defenceman, since, with Alex Pietrangelo, Shea Weber, Duncan Keith, and Drew Doughty, they’re heavy on righties.

The longest of long shots would be Alex Burrows, who performed very well for Team Canada in the 2012 World Championships, scoring 3 goals while playing strong, two-way hockey.

Burrows is extremely unlikely to make the 2014 team, however, thanks to the incredible depth the Canucks have at forward. When Harrison posted his picks for Team Canada over at Puck Daddy, he had Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, and Rick Nash on the fourth line. And that was a perfectly reasonable decision. While Burrows has versatility on his side, being a great penalty killer and defensive forward to go with his goal-scoring, you’d be hard-pressed to suggest he was one of the 15 best Canadian forwards in the world. And that’s what it will take to make this team.

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  1. Barry
    February 9, 2013

    Duncan Keith is a leftie, Seabrook is a rightie.

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    • Barry
      February 9, 2013

      I thought you were strictly referring to their handedness. I see that you meant which side those D play on. I didn’t know that Keith plays on the right side, my bad.

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  2. Piker
    February 9, 2013

    Who would have ever thought Anze Kopitar would have a chance at the Olympics?

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  3. obituary mambo
    February 9, 2013

    So, we’ll all be cheering for Kes and possibly Schneids on Team USA, right? ~__^ #wishfulthinking

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