2010 Winter Olympics Hockey Preview: Carolina Hurricanes

SB Nation is promoting a network wide Olympic Preview this week, and today the Carolina Hurricanes are featured.  Let's take a look at the roster and see who will be traveling to Vancouver, and who will be watching on television with the rest of us.

Pack Your Bags:

Joni Pitkanen

The defenseman has been injured a lot this season for the Canes, but if he is healthy he should be a no-brainer addition for Team Finland.

Tuomo Ruutu

Ruutu put up career best numbers last season, has started out this season with a bang, and is another easy selection for Team Finland.

Jussi Jokinen

The skilled winger was supposedly a borderline case during the summer, but his solid start to this season should push him over the bubble and into the lineup for Team Finland.

Eric Staal

I could be wrong, but I think if Staal is healthy, he is a lock and will be in the mix and skating for Team Canada.

Nearly a Lock:

Tim Gleason

The defenseman was invited to summer orientation camp and is certainly on Team USA's radar. He has had a very good start to the season and has already scored a career best four goals this year.  In my opinion, he should be selected.

In a Battle:

Cam Ward

The goalie was already in a situation where he needed to play very well at the start of the season, to even be considered.  Now after a slow start and his injury to boot, his chances of making Team Canada are probably slim.

The rest of the Hurricanes roster is most likely not even being considered for selection. 

There is a rumor that there will be a lot of locals here cheering for Team Finland?  When we get closer to the event, we will take a closer look at each of the primary teams of interest, and see what their chances are of bringing home the gold. 

_____

Last week we ran an article on Canes Country questioning whether or not previously injured players should be allowed to participate in the Olympics.  Keep in mind, if the players get injured while representing their countries, they still get paid their guaranteed NHL contracts. 

Players are currently under no obligation, under the current CBA, to be approved by anyone from their team if they are selected to represent their country.  They can simply be gone at anytime within the timeframe stipulated in the agreement.

Gary Bettman has brought up the question and this might be a sticking point in negotiations for the next CBA.  Should NHL players participate in the Olympics in 2014?  In the meantime, you have some star players like Alex Ovechkin claiming that they will play for their country in 2014, whether they are authorized to do so or not. 

My question to Ovechkin.  What happens if you get injured and the franchise is no longer on the hook for your guaranteed earnings?  What if you assume all the risk and could lose part or all of your $8 million plus annual salary for the next umpteen years? 

If the players assumed all the financial risk instead of the owners, they might be singing a different tune.  Why not write that in the next CBA?

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