Remember when Ovechkin was the clear number one pick in his year? There was some talk of Malkin being a good consolation prize, sure, but it was just that. 4 years on and it's tight between the two: Ovechkin has all the trophies in his cupboard now, but Malkin is current scoring leader and if Pittsburgh make a substantial push (as they habitually do), he could be positioned to take silverware from his countryman.
The NHL draft class of 2009 is similarly intriguing. John Tavares has been on the radar from age 14, and was so good last season that pundits were trying to get him into the NHL draft early through rule changes. The relative newcomer onto the scene is Victor Hedman of Sweden. Coming into this tournament he was number one consensus, because he is already a giant and plays defence the way his older peers do.
Tonight's game will be a chance for Canada to get another gold, in Canada (again). Pardon me for getting a little blase about this tournament and game.
With the backdrop of the repeating scene, the underlying story of player matchups adds some much needed intrigue to tonight's game. Tavares vs. Hedman is going to be exciting to watch as both are touted as can't-miss prospects (a la Ovechkin, Malkin or – perhaps not quite that good, but good nonetheless). Hopefully, they will be matched against one another to accentuate the drama. Either way, looking at the game as a pretend scout will be exciting.
For the Habs, there is also interest. PK Subban, playing for Canada has had an amazing couple of weeks. He has figured in the offensive Canadian moves a lot and has 8 points in 5 games to show for it. Nichlas Torp, the Gorges to Hedman's Hamrlik, should be showcased this game as well, as Canada will test his defensive defenceman bill.
With a night off for the Habs, it should be fun to see these two defenders line up against one another and enjoy the spectacle of battle for number one ranking in CSS rankings.
Sam Pollock's kind of year
I can't help but think that this would be Sam Pollock's kind of year to really get down and dirty, manouevering and trading for draft picks. With the lottery, there's no guarantees anymore as there were with Lafleur/Dionne, but I don't think one could go far wrong with an Atlanta draft pick. Does Gainey have the nerve to ante up like Pollock would have? Probably not, so I'll leave those dreams for another time...