Continuing with SBNation's awesome coverage of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver today we bring you the potential Rangers who could find themselves playing for their countries come February.
Pack your bags:
Marian Gaborik: It should be no surprise that Gaborik will represent his native country of Slovokia for the Olympics. He joins a star stuttered cast along with Marian Hossa, Zdeno Chara, Pavol Demitra and Andrej Meszaros although of the entire team he is by far the most productive thus far this year. Gaborik is at the top in the NHL in goals and second in points and the Rangers couldn't be happier; and neither can Slovokia.
Henrik Lundqvist: Again this should be no surprise, especially after Lundqvist back-stopped Sweden to a goal medal four years ago in Italy. Lundqvist isn't having the greatest of starts but that is in no way a reflection of his play. He has been his usual all-world self and has kept the Rangers in nearly every game they play. He has been brilliant (even though his numbers wont attest to it) and will be starting for Team Sweden in 2010.
Chris Drury: Yeah a shocker here but what can you say? Drury is having his worst statistical year ever (by a mile) and is doing few things right for the New York Rangers. But on a personal note his face-off prowess and his defensive game along with the potential for him to score big goals (maybe it's the Rangers) puts him on the roster. Plus he brings much needed leadership to the table and after his performance last year in the Victoria cup I'm not going to argue with his international play.
Nearly a Lock:
Vaclav Prospal: Prospal is having one of the best years of his career in the NHL working with perennial superstar Marian Gaborik. Although this truly is a star stuttered team, including former Ranger superstar Jaromir Jagr, I think Prospal might be playing himself into a spot. Since Prospal is a swing-man, can play both LW and C, I can see him making this team pretty convincingly.
In a Battle:
Ryan Callahan: Although his play isn't much different than last years (his heart and his hustle) his numbers are in severe decline. John Tortorella attests it to him being "snake-bitten" and I hope that's the case but he may actually be playing himself off the American team with his current numbers. Here is one Ranger fan hoping that doesn't happen.
Brandon Dubinsky: Was on pace to break his record for points in a season (barley) before his injury. Currently he has been out for over two weeks and he will probably be out another two weeks before hes playing again. He was being looked at before the injury but he will have to work real hard to make the squad.
Work to do:
Ales Kotalik: On a personal note his five on five play will be the Achilles heel to his chances of making the Czech Republic team. While he is on pace to have one of the best years of his career, and has been a power play monster he has been horrible at even strength. I doubt he makes the team, there is too much talent on that roster to fit him, but he has a chance.
Marc Staal: Was invited to the team Canada's national team try-out. His play has dropped off a little this season (although it is currently on the upswing) and his offensive numbers might hurt his chances. Although at the end of the day, there are simply so many defenseman for team Canada it is difficult for anyone to make the squad. I say in four years he makes the team but right now I don't see it happening.
Chris Higgins: Too bad he is having a rough year stat's wise because his play has been much better than his numbers show. Regardless I don't know if he is even on team U.S.A's radar but if he is he is going to need to start scoring some goals and soon.
Michael Del Zotto: There
is no isn't much of a chance that he makes the Canadian team this year although if he keeps up at this pace he might be really considered in four years. Plus he will only be 23 then and will be much more mature. Keep it up Zots!
Sean Avery: Not for lack of skill (or if you are not a Rangers fan effectiveness) on the ice I doubt Avery ever makes an Olympic team, especially team Canada's. I have always wanted to see him in the Olympics however and I am always disappointed after.
Michal Rozsival: Not sure I need to go too deep into details here. His play has dropped off the map considerably, and has dropped off enough to put him out of contention for the Czech Republic's blueline. Sorry Rozy.