Jamie Benn and Valeri Nichushkin were officially named to the Canadian and Russian Olympic teams on Tuesday morning, joining goalie Kari Lehtonen on Team Finland. Tyler Seguin, who was considered an outside shot for the Canadians, was left off.
Here is the full Canadian squad, which was announced today by Steve Yzerman:
Sidney Crosby, Matt Duchene, Jonathan Toews, John Tavares, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Jamie Benn, Chris Kunitz, Patrick Marleau, Patrick Sharp, Rick Nash, Jeff Carter, Patrice Bergeron, Steven Stamkos
Seguin, in particular, was a victim of Canada's depth at center compounded by the fact that his faceoff numbers are bad (typical for a guy who hasn't played center in forever, but bad without context). Even his point-per-game numbers weren't enough to crack a very, very deep list of Canadian centers, and he's likely seen as a guy with much less positional flexibility than others on the list. After all, the move from wing back to center has dramatically helped his game.
He leads the Stars with 21 goals and 20 assists in 40 games and is likely on the short list of players who may be used as injury replacements.
Benn, on the other hand, likely impressed with his versatility. He has made a seamless transition from center back to wing and is the second-leading scorer on the Stars with 15 goals and 22 assists. His combination of size, speed, leadership and a deadly accurate shot made him impossible for Yzerman and the rest of the committee to pass up.
Neither Benn nor Seguin was invited to the pre-season Olympic orientation camp, and both have mentioned how it motivated them to their hot starts this season.
Dmitry Chesnokov of Yahoo Sports was the first person with the full Russian list.
It looks like here is team RUS: G: Bobrovsky, Varlamov, Eremenko. D: Belov, Voynov, Emelin, Markov, Medvedev, Nikitin, Nikulin, Tyutin...— Dmitry Chesnokov (@dchesnokov) January 7, 2014
Rus (cont) F: Anisimov, Datsyuk, Kovalchuk, Kokarev Kulemin, Malkin, Nichushkin, Ovechkin, Popov, Radulov, Tarasenko, Tereshenko, Tikhonov— Dmitry Chesnokov (@dchesnokov) January 7, 2014
That would be no Sergei Gonchar, who had a shot as an elder statesman on the blueline, but one Valeri Nichushkin featured up front. It's more hockey in what already is probably the longest hockey year of Nichushkin's life, but an opportunity I'm sure he's thrilled about. Who wouldn't want to play in the Olympics in their home country?