John Buccigross: Hockey - Goal Of The Year, Olympic Thoughts

John Buccigross

We just showed, what I think, is the goal of the year in the NHL. Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning scored it in Anaheim. Keep watching SportsCenter and see it again. Stamkos is one of those players on the bubble for making the Canadian Olympic team. Remember the Winter Olympics are this February and in Vancouver. This makes the ice hockey competition the biggest and most important competition in the host country's eyes. There is nothing as big or as popular in the United States as hockey is in Canada. Canada is the favorite to win gold along with Russia. The US would love to medal.

The things that stand out to me when looking at Team Canada are the hands and releases of the forwards. All four lines have finishers, and Team Canada will need them when it plays Russia. It also has good size to match up against teams that might try to grind it out on the NHL-sized rink. Steven Stamkos is a lock in my mind for Team Canada. He is a supreme talent with a lethal shot. No decision will match not putting Sidney Crosby on the 2006 Canadian Olympic team, but not taking Stamkos also would be a poor decision. He was born for these moments. For more hockey musing please check out my weekly hockey column on ESPN.Com's NHL page. I've written it since 2001. All the archives columns are on there. Please read by the end of the day.