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Vancouver Canucks on Beijing NHL Winter Olympic Teams

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Vancouver Canucks, Pettersson and Hughes
Forward Elias Pettersson and defenceman Quinn Hughes of the Vancouver Canucks.

In case you missed it, the newsletter Hockey Wanderlüst broke the story Sunday ahead of the deadline that the NHL will be participating in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. This will impact many of the Vancouver Canucks. Forward Elias Pettersson would be a part of Team Sweden, as would defenceman Oliver Ekman-Larsson. I say forward for Pettersson because of a potential logjam at centre and some decision making that might push him to the wing. What about Nils Hoglander getting a look-see depending on injuries and how he performs early in the season.

The Canucks could send a whopping four players to Beijing representing the United States: Brock Boeser, a Minnesotan, as a winger, JT Miller, an Ohioan, somewhere up front, Quinn Hughes, a Floridian, on the blueline, and Thatcher Demko, a Californian, as one of the three goalies. How would fans in BC feel about the Vancouver Canucks as Team USA west? Simple, it just means rooting against them, just like they did against Ryan Kesler, a Michigander, in his own building in 2010.

This time they’d be rooting against the potential foursome on television and in the wee hours of the morning due to the time change from China. That’s for sure if they faced Canada. Would BC fans root for their American Vancouver Canucks when they were playing against other countries? There’s your poll question.

Recent addition Jaroslav Halak would be one of Slovakia’s goaltenders if he chose to go. The 36-year-old carried Team Europe to a surprise appearance in the final of the 2016 World Cup of Hockey held in Toronto, while just two seasons ago he shared the William Jennings Trophy with teammate Tuukka Rask in Boston for giving up the least amount of goals in the league. On a sidenote, it’ll be interesting to see if 44-year-old Slovakian defenceman Zdeno Chara would make Beijing his swansong whether he’s playing in the NHL or not.

Whether he deserves it or not, defenceman Olli Juolevi‘s name will be thrown in the mix when the topic of Team Finland come up. It’s a tall order, as are the odds of seeing winger Marc Michaelis playing for Germany. Never say never, especially when making that team as an extra forward might just mean beating out a player or two from the German DEL league. Then again, in recent years, overall improvement has meant Team Germany has been a much harder team to make. The non-NHL Germans won the Silver Medal in PyeongChang in 2018.

Any other candidates? If Bo Horvat was born in any foreign land he’d be a shoe-in, but with Team Canada’s ridonkulous depth up the middle, barring injury(ies), the London, Ontario native is likely left being a spectator.

The Olympic break has been built into the NHL schedule and will fall between February 7th and the 22nd.

VHN Managing Editor Rob Simpson has been covering the NHL for three decades on live TV, radio, and as a journalist. He worked his first ever game getting postgame sound as a teenager; it was Vancouver vs. Detroit.

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