Wednesday, 27 December 2017

The Other Olympians

After having a few days off in a row, it's always tough to get back into the swing of things at work. The NHL will pick up where it left off, the World Junior Championship will continue, the Spengler Cup in Davos, Switzerland presses on, and we're looking at another long weekend with New Year's Day falling next Monday. These two weeks are making it hard for me to keep my regular sleep pattern thanks to all this hockey to consume! Luckily, I'm only here today to discuss one tournament: the Spengler Cup. Canada won't play today after defeating Mountfield HK yesterday, but this year's edition of the Spengler Cup is a special tournament!

It's not often that the Spengler Cup features a potential Olympic team, but we're getting that with Canada this year after the NHL decided not to allow its players to participate. Even rarer this year, we'll see a second potential Olympic team at the tournament as the Swiss national team will enter a squad as it evaluates its potential players for the upcoming Pyeongchang Olympic Games!

There won't be enough NHL players or former NHL players to even form one line for the Swiss team, but there are a few names that people may recognize. The first is defenceman Raphael Diaz who played for the Canadiens, Rangers, and Canucks, and currently suits up for EV Zug. The other is Damien Brunner, the former Devil and Red Wing, who now toils for HC Lugano. Outside of Diaz and Brunner, the name Tobias Stephan may jog some memories of his time with Dallas in the NHL and Iowa and Bridgeport in the AHL, but he's now tending nets with EV Zug.

Aside from those names, the rest of the squad is virtually unheard of on the North American stage. That's not to say that they can't play, though, as we saw them easily handle the KHL's Dinamo Riga in the tournament's opening game. Players like Eric Blum, Luca Cunti, and Leonardo Genoni will be ones to keep an eye on as the Olympic tournament approaches as they will most likely be prominent players with the Swiss team.

Canada won't see the Swiss national team unless they meet in the medal round, so we don't get an Olympic preview in the preliminary round. However, if they do meet in the medal round, it will be an Olympic preview as Canada and Switzerland are scheduled to meet in an Olympic preliminary game on February 15, 2018. Could we get an idea of how each of these teams may do at the Olympics? We'll have to see how both 1-0 teams finish this tournament.

It's been a tough day to find motivation to work after a nice break, but there's a ton of hockey to be played and I'm going to stay on top of it. I'll talk more about this tournament tomorrow, but the Olympics teams are two-for-two at the Spengler Cup!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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