Boston Bruins captain and defenseman Zdeno Chara has been selected to represent Slovakia for the upcoming 2010 Winter Olympic games in Vancouver. Chara is no stranger to international competition, as he showcased his talents in six previous World Championships. The 32-year old entered the league as a member of the New York Islanders in 1997 where he played his first four seasons. In 2001 he joined the Ottowa Senators before signing with Boston in 2006.
Other NHL stand-outs featured in Slovakia’s lineup include goalies Peter Budaj and Jaroslav Halak; defensemen Milan Jurcina, Andrej Meszaros, Andrej Sekera and Lubomir Visnovsky; and forwards Marian Gaborik, Pavol Demitra, Michal Handzus and Tomas Kopecky. Team Canada is set to announce its roster Wednesday with Patrice Bergeron and Marc Savard up for consideration. Goalie Tim Thomas is expected to represent team U.S.A in February. Their line up will be released to the public this coming friday.
Recap – The Northwest Division has been playing very impressive hockey over the past three months. Surprising, the Vancouver Canucks are hanging in there with the rest of the powerhouses in the standings and would currently make the playoffs if the season were to end today. The statistic that may hold the most significance towards their success is the number of goals they have allowed. Through 50 games, the team has only surrendered 121 goals, the 4th lowest total in the NHL. Goaltender Roberto Luongo is third in the NHL with his 2.10 GAA per game, and is among the league leaders in shutouts (2nd), save percentage (t-3rd), saves (4th), and minutes played (6th),
2nd Half – The Canucks count on the Sedin twins, Daniel and Henrick, for most of their offensive production but need more fire power from second and third line centers Ryan Kesler and Brandon Morrison who have the talent but have under preformed up to this point. Luongo has been hot in net but many fear he may begin to wear down having played so many minutes.
Team Name: Vancouver Canucks (26-19-5)
Northwest Division Standing: 4th place
Conference Standing: T-6th place
Final Predictions – 4th in Norwest Division, 10th in Western Conference
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