Monday, February 15, 2010

Your guide to the Flyers at the Olympics

We've officially hit a lull in Philly sports action. The Eagles have long been eliminated, the Phillies are just getting under way, the Sixers are more interested in trading for next year and the Flyers are off for two weeks for the Winter Olympic break. Fortunately, just because the Flyers aren't playing any games as a team, there are still a few individuals headed to Vancouver to represent their countries.

While Jeff Carter just missed being added to Canada's roster today and Matt Carle arguably should be on the U.S. roster, there will be four current Flyers playing in the Olympics this year. Here's what to expect from them:

Oskars Bartulis, D, Latvia: Will be top defender on a weak team
Chris Pronger, D, Canada: Could be on top D pairing for Gold favorite
Mike Richards, C, Canada: Expect more of a checking/PK role
Kimmo Timonen, D, Finland: Should get plenty of ice time

If you are feeling a little more nostalgic, there are also ten former Flyers at the Olympics:

Peter Forsberg, C (Sweden)
Michal Handzus, C (Slovakia)
Lasse Kukkonen, D (Finland)
Antero Niitymaki, G (Finland)
Joni Pitkanen, D (Finland)
Branko Radivojevic, W (Slovakia)
Luca Sbisa, D (Switzerland)
Dennis Seidenberg, D (Germany)
Patrick Thoreson, W (Norway)
Ole-Kristian Tollefsen, D (Norway)

While all indications are that it's Canada's Gold to lose, there should be some entertaining games along the way, especially the Canada/U.S. and Canada/Russia tilts. As for who you should root for in the Olympics, that's your call. Despite not having any Flyers on the roster, I'll certainly be rooting for the U.S. but I'll have my eye on how the Philly guys are doing. As long as the U.S. has a decent showing (Top 4) and none of the Flyers get hurt, I will consider the Olympics a success.

It all kicks off tomorrow at 3 pm when the U.S. takes on Switzerland and it ends on Sunday, February 28th in the Gold Medal game. Click here for the complete Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Schedule.

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