Rinkotology Launch And Olympic Preview

 

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Click HERE to enter Rinkotology.

 

This preview entails:
1. Our own little breakdown of the teams.
2. A detailed breakdown of the teams from a fantasy-hockey perspective from Puck Prospectus.
Quick breakdown of team-selection process for Rinkotology:
1.  You are picking 8 forwards, 3 defensemen, and 1 goalie.  (One player from each country)
2.  From your 8 forwards and 3 defensemen, you are selecting 1 Captain and 2 Assistant Captains.
Things to keep in mind when selecting your fantasy team at Rinkotology:
1.  All of your Captain’s points are worth x3 and your assistants’ points are worth x2.
2.  Your goalie’s goals-against average may prove to be vital in tiebreaking scenarios.
Visit the RULES section of Rinkotology for everything you need to know about the scoring system, tiebreakers, etc.
After the jump, our Olympic preview with Rinkotology tips sprinkled in. Just an FYI, most likely this afternoon we will be forwarding the site straight to Rinko.
Once again, head here for Rinkotology.

GROUP A
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The main issue for Canada will be being able to compete under intense pressure and scrutiny.  Never have Canadian’s hopes been higher than they will be on home ice in Vancouver.   Anything other than a goal medal will be disappointing to a Canadian team that will have their every actions watched and analyzed by the entire nation.
Who to watch:

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Forwards:

Sidney Crosby:
Bing isn’t the captain of this team, but he will definitely be expected to lead.  He’s been on a goal scoring tear as of late and if that continues he will be able to dominate the competition.  Olympic gold seems to be the next item on Sid’s bucket list.

Ryan Getzlaf:
The main story here is whether or not Getzlaf will even be able to compete at the games.  He has an ankle injury and Jeff Carter may be called in to take his place.  The team is a very different one with Getzlaf in the line up as his absence could hurt Corey Perry’s production as well.

Defense:

Scott Niedermayer:
The captain of Team Canada on home ice.  Along with Crosby – the face of the sport – there isn’t a single person that will feel more pressure during the Olympic games.  (Except maybe whoever was in charge of raising the 4th torch arm that didn’t work.)  Niedermayer is a veteran of international competition, so he should be able to stand the heat.  He’ll also have a cast of other leaders surrounding him (Crosby, Iginla, Pronger and Mr. Leadership himself: Mike Richards) that will help his cause greatly.

Duncan Keith:
The highest scoring member of the team during this NHL season.  He’s never seen Olympic action before, but he did play for Canada in the 2008 World Championships.  Canada’s choices on defense were criticized by some, so the pressure’s on.

Also, we wonder if Chris Pronger can keep up.   

Goaltending:
The goaltending position has the most question marks on the team, but it’s not because of a lack of options.  Martin Brodeur, who won gold in 2002, will more than likely be Canada’s go-to guy.  Roberto Luongo will likely see back-up duty and Marc-Andre Fleury will watch from the pressbox most nights.  However, Mike Babcock is known to switch goaltenders around if necessary, so you never know what will happen here.


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21 players on the team played in the 2009 World Hockey Championships for Norway.  Of course Norway finished 11th in that tournament, so we’re not sure if that’s a good thing.  On paper, Norway looks much better than you would ever guess.  However, we’re still predicting that Norway will get blown out at least once, probably by the US or Canada.

Who to watch:

Forwards:
Per-Åge Skrøder has a pretty awesome name.  He was also named Norwegian player of the year in 2002 and was the leading point getter in the Swedish Elite League last season.

Defense:
Ole-Kristian Tollefsen, now of the Detroit Red Wings and formerly of the Philadelphia Flyers, is the only NHL player on the team.

Goaltending:
Pål Grotnes is expected to start for Noway.  He held Canada to only two goals in the 2008 World Hockey Championship.  He is a part time carpenter.

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Switzerland somehow finished above both Canada and the United States in 2006.  They ended up in sixth place with a 2-1-2 record before losing to the eventual champion Sweden in the quarterfinal.

Who to watch:

Forwards:

We can’t, in good conscience, pretend like we know anything about any of the Swiss forwards.  We’re going to point out Thomas Deruns, but only because NHL.com lists his hometown as “?”  Anyone with that much mystery surrounding him must be good.

Defense:

Mark Streit is the only current NHL player on the team’s defense.  Anaheim prospect Luca Sbisa, who played for the Flyers last year, is also a member of the team.   

Goaltending:
Jonas Hiller will provide the team with a solid presence in net.

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The US has perhaps their strongest team in years.  After a disappointing eighth place finish in 2008, the Americans are ready to take a run at the gold.  They’re not the favorites, but they definitely have a great deal of ability.  They’re a very young team and Brian Burke passed on former Olympians Scott Gomez, Mike Modano, Bill Guerin and Keith Tkachuk in an attempt to turn the team in a new direction.  Will it pay off or will the team’s inexperience hurt them?
Who to watch:

Forwards:

Bobby Ryan:
He definitely seems ready to break out on the world stage.  Formerly known as “the guy drafted after Sidney Crosby,” Ryan is stronger and more determined than ever.

Ryan Malone:
Malone plays the type of hard, physical hockey that Burke loves.  He will be given a chance to truly shine in this tournament and we think he will seize that chance.

Patrick Kane:
He is the highest scoring member of the team and he leads the league in (allegedly) assaulting cab drivers.

Defense:

Ryan Whitney:
Injuries to Paul Martin and Mike Komisarek gave Whitney a chance to play for his country.

Brooks Orpik:
Freedom Candy will be unleashed on the rest of the world during the tournament.

Goaltending:

Ryan Miller:
He’s having an excellent season this year and he could be the difference for Team USA.  He has the second best save percentage in the NHL and the second best GAA.  

Tim Thomas and Jonathan Quick provide great depth if needed.


GROUP B
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Mother Russia is coming into Vancouver with Gold on their minds.
Seeing Malkin, Ovechkin, and Kovalchuk share the ice surface is going to be insanity.
But are there enough goals and assists to go around to designate one of those as your Captain?
Their top lines are some scary shit, but there are a lot of years in their bottom lines.
Regardless, it’s gonna be a high-scoring squad, and they’ll have Latvia to take behind the woodshed.
If it was an Olympic-size rink, assists from their D-men could’ve come by the truckload.
Who to watch:
Forwards:
Evgeni Malkin, Alexander Ovechkin, Ilya Kovalchuk(A)
Maybe the sickest trio in the games. All three are on top of their shit, unlike a struggling Canadian stars, sans Crosby.
Assuming for a minute that Kovalchuk is moved to the right wing, Russia’s top line could look like this:  Ovechkin-Malkin-Kovalchuk.  Jesus.  That may be the single most dangerous line in the whole competition.  A presumptive second line containing Datsyuk and Semin is no joke either.
Defense:
On defense, Sergei Gonchar and Andrei Markov form a true shutdown pair and Anton Volchenkov is a shot blocking physical alpha male, despite the disadvantage in this respect of being surrounded all his career by Charlie’s Angels up in Ottawa.
People that say Russians aren’t pyschical don’t know whats going on.
Only thing that could stun the Russians is if Morozov has to take a turn in the penalty shot:
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We have no clue what’s going on with Latvia.
Karlis Skrastins is the only name the layperson will recognize.
Capital of Latvia is Riga.  That’s all we got.
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One last dance for Double J.
If there is one athlete that can put the world on his shoulders, it is ol’ double J. People forget about all the good he did in Pittsburgh. Not us. Jagr is one of the most clutch players of our generation. Don’t count him out.
Marty Straka is noticeably absent from the roster.
They’re bringing Tomas Vokoun to the pipes.
If he’s on the top of his game, who knows what’s gonna happen.
Not to mention that their blue-line corps, made up of relative jobbers, may prove to be a cohesive unit.

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Just imagine if the Czech Republic and Slovakia were still one country.
Slovakia is bringing Marian Hossa and Marian Gaborik to the table. But they are both hurt.
And Zdeno Chara is manning the blue line.
Goaltending may derail their hopes.
GROUP C
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In comes Sweden, accompanied by the swagger from the 2006 Gold.
Alfredsson, Backstrom, Zetterberg, two Sedins, Forsberg.
Their blue line is solid.
King Henrik in the pipes.
The goal for Rinkotology is trying to figure out which star on this team is gonna excel the most.
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Germany’s head coach is Uwe Krupp.
Even having a former d-man behind the bench won’t help in games against the Fins and Swedes.
You probably should check out the preview links for an idea on which German player to take.
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Rinko tip: Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu led the scoring race in the 2006 Olympics with 11 points each.
And they’ve been playing together in Anaheim this season.
But you have to add 4 years of aging to that equation.
They have a solid blue line, with names you’ll easily recognize.
Kipper between the pipes may be a dark-horse goalie choice with games against Belarus and Germany.
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Belarus is bringing the Kostitsyn brothers to Vancouver.
Picking the right player from a team like Belarus could make all the difference.

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