SOCHI, Russia — Mike Babcock said he’d sleep on any changes for Team Canada. Today, a few were announced, with defenseman Dan Hamhuis and forward Patrick Sharp coming out of the lineup for tonight’s game versus Austria, replaced by defenseman P.K. Subban and forward Matt Duchene.
Babcock had already indicated that Subban and Duchene would play tonight. Similarly, we knew that Roberto Luongo would start in goal after Carey Price got the nod versus Norway.
That Hamhuis will be scratched is no real surprise either; the steady 31-year-old played 9:52 in Thursday’ 3-1 victory, the least of the seven defensemen.
Sharp’s removal is a bit more interesting, as many thought it could be Martin St. Louis, the late injury replacement for Steven Stamkos.
But TSN’s Ryan Rishaug makes a good point here:
Makes sense from special Teams standpoint that Sharp is the odd man out up front. PK to get his spot on 2nd power play unit with Keith?
Canada’s top power-play unit features point men Shea Weber and Drew Doughty.
We’ll have to wait and see if Babcock alters his line combinations in a meaningful way. Duchene could simply step in for Sharp with Jonathan Toews and Rick Nash, or St. Louis could replace Sharp on that line with Duchene becoming the 13th forward, or there could be more significant changes all around.
If there’s one line that’s safe, it may be the fourth, comprised of John Tavares, Jamie Benn and Patrice Bergeron.
If you think the Dallas Stars are struggling because of defense more than anything else, then you’ll make sure to keep the video above “on file.”
There Kari Lehtonen was, helpless on a 2-on-0 rush for the Calgary Flames, which Johnny Gaudreau finished with calm and ease. For some, that goal is the symbol of the Stars’ season.
Either way, it was a painful goal in the Flames’ 2-1 win against the Stars. Calgary won despite Dallas firing 30 shots on goal versus the Flames’ 20.
One team climbing, the other stumbling
With that, the Flames are now on a four-game winning streak. Since falling to 5-10-1 on Nov. 12, the Flames have gone 9-3-1 in their last 13 games, pushing them to 14-13-2 overall. Gaudreau coming back is the icing on the cake after Chad Johnson really took charge of the Flames’ top job.
During a similar span, the Stars can’t seem to get it together. Dallas stood at 6-6-3 after beating the Oilers 3-2 on Nov. 11. They’re now 10-11-6, essentially standing in place as a .500 team.
Dallas can’t seem to get momentum going, a thought that might have left them envious of the team on the other end of the ice on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, it wasn’t just about Jack Eichel vs. Connor McDavid. Instead, it was a clash between a fleet of young scorers who were in their prime, with the Buffalo Sabres coming up on top against the Edmonton Oilers.