Wednesday, 9 August 2017

The First Olympian

He has played for a number of NHL teams and he's already represented Canada as part of the Spengler Cup team, so I'm not sure how a player like Mason Raymond would even be in the discussion of players who may not make the Canadian Olympic squad. He still has great wheels that he uses to find and create space, and that's something that will come in very handy on the larger Olympic ice surface. What some people may forget, though, is that Raymond has a pretty gifted set of hands that led Vancouver to drafting him in at 51st-overall in the second round of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Today, he put those mitts on display that should end all talk of him being left off the roster.

In the third-place game at the Sochi Open hockey tournament, Canada met Metallurg Magnitogorsk for the right to claim the bronze medal. Raymond, who already had one goal in this game, decided to up the stakes at 15:59 with a pretty sneaky move that resulted in the second Canadian goal on the night.
Raymond decided to use the lacrosse-style goal we've seen on a number of occasions to slip the puck in top-shelf over a kneeling Vasily Koshechkin to put Canada up 2-1. For me, it's hard to believe that Koshechkin would leave that corner open knowing that Canada has some former NHL players out on the ice, but the veteran of over 500 KHL regular season and playoff games didn't cover off the post entirely and Raymond made him pay. On top of that, there were some whispers that Koshechkin might be one of the three netminders Russia takes to the Olympics, so this highlight probably isn't one that Koshechkin will be sending the Russian selection committee.

I'm gonna say that Raymond's performance in Sochi at this preseason tournament might have officially booked his ticket to South Korea. While Canada fell a little short in its goal in Sochi, Raymond put the team on his back in the bronze-medal game to help Canada to the 2-1 victory, and his six points in five games at last season's Spengler Cup shows that he can skate among the best international players out there.

Former Manitoba Moose forward Mason Raymond is my first lock for Pyeongchang!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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