One of the big challenges for Team Canada and the United States going into the 2014 Winter Olympics will be adapting to the larger international ice.
Although that adjustment certainly won’t be exclusive to them given that the vast majority of the tournament’s top players play in NHL rinks, Canadians and Americans in particular don’t get many opportunities to skate in the bigger rinks during their professional careers.
There are exceptions though and oddly enough we have the lockout to thank for that. There were quite a few players that decided to ride out the work stoppage in Europe, including Team Canada’s John Tavares.
He signed with Bern of the Swiss League and also served primarily as a left winger instead of his usual position of center. That experience might prove to be critical as Canada might end up asking him to play on the left wing on the third line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, according to the Toronto Sun.
Team USA’s Patrick Kane also has a lockout experience in the Swiss League to lean on, but many others from both teams others didn’t play internationally during that period.