The Ducks have six players competing Friday morning in what promises to be an epic semifinal in the Olympic hockey tournament in Sochi, Russia. Teemu Selanne, Sami Vatanen and Team Finland battle Jakob Silfverberg and Sweden (4:30 a.m. PT), while Cam Fowler and Team USA take on Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Team Canada (9 a.m. PT) in a rematch of the 2010 gold medal game.
Some of the Ducks who remain back home, and practiced this morning at THE RINKS - Anaheim ICE, revealed their picks for the gold medal – as well their patriotism. Hampus Lindholm (from Helsingborg, Sweden)
I hope Sweden gets it together and wins against Finland, then take it in the final. I’m taking Sweden all the way. Even if I was American, I’d still go with Sweden because they have cooler jerseys [laughs]. Bryan Allen (Kingston, Ontario, Canada)
I have to believe it’s Canada. People say they haven’t had a good tournament, but I think it’s one of those situations where they play good enough to win. You’ve got to believe our country is going to rise to the occasion and go from experience, with winning the gold four years ago. A lot of guys are back. I think they’re the better team. I’m going to go with Canada vs. Sweden. I think they were the early favorite, but you can’t really count the Finns out. They play a good team game. Matt Beleskey (Windsor, Ontario, Canada)
It has to be Canada for me. It’s our pride and joy. I can’t wait. Hopefully we’re in that final game, and I’ll be up at four o’clock watching it. There are lots of bragging rights on the line.Frederik Andersen (Herning, Denmark)
United States. As a goalie, I think [Jonathan] Quick has the ability to steal games for them. It’s my gut feeling that it’s going to come down to goaltending. It’ll be exciting to see. When you see countries so close to one another competing like this, it’s special. Obviously, I don’t have a favorite, but it’ll be cool to see. Ben Lovejoy (Concord, New Hampshire)
To be honest, I haven’t watched a ton. A lot of the games have been on very early, and my schedule is a little crazy during the break. I was here the whole time, but I was babysitting for the first time ever.
But just from what I’ve seen, I think the U.S. will be very difficult to beat. They’re playing so well. From every NHL team, they have the player, or the two players, who you hate to play against. They’re fast, they’re physical, they can score, and they can do everything. Every line is full of players who we look at before our games and say, ‘Man, this guy sucks to play against.’ That’s a difficult team to beat.Bruce Boudreau (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)
Canada prides itself on its hockey. If the Americans lose tomorrow, and as the American women’s team lost today, in a week it won’t be a story. If the Canadians lose, it’s going to be talked about until Korea [site of the 2018 Winter Olympics]. It’s their life.
My mom is 81 years old and she’s asking me if I’m watching the games. She’s glued to the television, as is everybody else that I know. My kids text me after every game is over. They’re average Canadians, which means every other average Canadian is doing the same thing. Besides, the weather has been so bad in Canada, nobody can go out and have fun. They’re inside watching the television. On bragging rights
You have Hampus versus Saku to start off. Then you have the Americans and Canadians. We pushed our practice back because these guys are so into it and want to watch the game.