Olympic teams were announced last week with several surprising additions and omissions.
Dominik Hasek attempt at an Olympic comeback fall short due to an injury. Meanwhile the Slovaks decided to take a gamble on a player who has yet to play a game this season by adding Miroslav Satan to their roster; Satan has since signed with the Boston Bruins. Lets look at a few players who didn’t make the cut for their country and how they have played since the announcement:
Mikael Samuelsson (Sweden) – Samuelsson didn’t shy away from expressing his true feeling about not being picked and can you blame him? Samuelsson is a winner, he helped Team Sweden win Olympic Gold and the World Championships in 2006, and he was a key member of the Detroit Red Wings Stanley Cup team of 2008. In a short tournament where chemistry is important how do you cut a guy who has played with 6 key members of Team Sweden thanks to 4 seasons with the Red Wings and this season with the Canucks? Since the announcement of December 27 Samuelsson has scored 3 goals and 2 assists in 5 games. Expect Samuelsson to score at around a point a game pace for the remainder of the season to prove that Swedish officials were wrong to leave him off. I know Samuelsson is upset about not making the Olympics but this announcement has to make the Canucks management team happy, as he will be rested for the stretch run as they have 7 players on Olympic rosters.
Alexei Kovalev (Russia) – On December 25 the Russians announced their Olympic roster and Kovalev’s name was left off which shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone as Russian Head Coach Vyacheslav Bykov has not selected Kovalev to play for the Russian national team since 2006. Since being cut Kovalev went out and scored his first career 4 goal game and has 8 points in 6 games. Kovalev will score in bunches for the remaining of the season and expect a big year next year from Kovalev as it is a contract year.
Mike Modano (USA) – Modano is in the twilight of his career and is on pace for his lowest point total of his career. There was some thought that Modano would make the team to provide leadership but that wasn’t the case as Team USA went with the youth movement and left off a lot of veteran players. Team USA was announced at the Winter Classic on January 1st and Modano has scored 0 points in the 2 games since the announcement. This will likely be Modano’s last season; he is no longer an offensive threat and shouldn’t be on any fantasy roster.
Jay Bouwmeester/Dion Phaneuf (Canada) – There was a time when there was talk of 3 Calgary Flames defensemen making the Canadian Olympic team and with the December 30th announcement not a single one made it. Bouwmeester was a surprise as he has been a key player for Team Canada at last Olympics and several World Championship teams. Bouwmeester is a notoriously slow starter and hockey fans were expecting him to explode offensively with Calgary which hasn’t happened as he his on pace for his worse totals in 5 seasons. Phaneuf was no surprise for me as his offensive totals have been dropping over the last 2 seasons and he wasn’t having a strong year. Since the announcement Phaneuf has just 1 point in 4 games while Bouwmeester has 2 points. Now might be the time to get these guys as their fantasy value is probably as low as it can get, if you can only get one grab Bouwmeester as he usually turns his game up another notch during the second half.