Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 02/12/14 at 09:52 AM ET
from Michael Farber of Sports Illustrated,
So who will be the surprising stars in Sochi? Let’s stick to the young breakout stars, if you don’t mind.
Given Finland’s chasm in the middle, coach Erkka Westlund has elevated the youngest player in the tournament, Aleksander Barkov, to his No. 1 line. Barkov will have all the ice time he can handle, giving the Panthers rookie more of an opportunity to leave his imprint than another wickedly talented 18-year-old forward, Valeri Nichushkin, of Russia.
On the mobile, talented and relatively unknown U.S. defense, the blossoming star could be the fabulous Cam America. His given name is Cam Fowler, but the 22-year-old, who was born in Ontario, has adopted a red-white-and-blue alter ego … if only to bug his teammates on the Ducks, Perry and Getzlaf, who play for Canada. NBC definitely should have a Cam America Cam on the slick Fowler, a superb skater with finely honed offensive instincts who has grown more responsible in his own end of the ice.
Add one more name: Olli Maatti, the precious Finnish defenseman who is a minor sensation in his rookie season with the Penguins. That’s Maatti with two “a’s”, two “t’s” and no conspicuous flaws.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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