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2010 Olympics Preview: Detroit Red Wings

via the official Wings site, Detroit has many key parts to Team Sweden
via the official Wings site, Detroit has many key parts to Team Sweden

The folks at SB Nation hockey have been running a pre-Olympics features for each NHL team. Basically, we're all making guesses at which players from each team, who's close to making it, and all of the other types of assumptions that could be made towards the Olympic rosters. With a little over 70 days until the puck drops in Vancouver, we're going to look at the Detroit Red Wings side of the Olympics.

I covered Sweden, Russia, and the good ol' Stars and Stripes while Michael covered Finland, Slovakia, and Canada. We're going to do things a little differently than the others and do it based by country so why don't we start with the big chunk of the Detroit roster?

Sweden: 2006 Gold Medalists
Group C:
Sweden, Finland, Belarus, Germany

Nicklas Lidstrom-   Pack your bags
On the heels of an official announcement about playing for Team Sweden, Lidas can now be officially added to this list. Lidstrom will be on the top pair for sure but the question of who his other partner will be still remains.

Henrik Zetterberg-  Pack your bags
No doubt about Zetterberg being on the final roster, one of the best players in the NHL will surely be on top line for Team Sweden. Zetterberg is will likely be a set-up man for either winger and be able to contribute a great bit defensively and in the faceoff circle.

Tomas Holmstrom-   Nearly a lock
Homer will likely be a third or fourth liner on the talent rich Swedish roster but can still provide a much needed service to the team: big body + crease= screen.

Jonathan Ericsson-   In a battle
The only reason Big E is still in a battle is because of his youth and the fellow Swedes that could take his spot. My guess is Ericsson is in the third pairing or the next man in, depending on injuries (ie Niklas Kronwall)

Daniel Larsson-     Work to do
Not that many expected Danny to take over Henrik Lundqvist's throne, but at least he was on the orientation roster. 

The injured: Johan Franzen, Niklas Kronwall, Andreas Lilja. All three were likely candidates to start or be reserves until injuries hindered progress.

Finland: 2006 Silver Medalists
Group C: Sweden, Finland, Belarus, Germany

Valtteri Filppula -   Work To Do
Prior to his wrist injury, he was as good as a lock. But, he's missed just over half of the games this season, which means he's got some catching up to do. He's expected back in mid to late December, which is only a few weeks before the Olympic teams announce their rosters. He's going to need a heck of a showing, assuming he's even back on schedule.

Ville Leino -   In a Battle
The one-time Calder candidate has certainly disappeared this season, having only scored 3 goals and 2 assists in 22 games (compared to 5 goals and 4 assists in only 13 games as a call-up last season). He's looked a tad out of place on the Red Wings this season, even serving a game as a healthy scratch, in an effort to wake him up. But, many times the Scandinavian Olympic squads feature players more well-known in the homeland than to NHL fans. Leino certainly fits that description, winning the Lasse Oskanen Trophy in 2008 as the SM-Liiga's player of the year. 

::Russia, Slovakia, USA, and Canada after the jump::

Russia: 2006 4th place
Group B:
 Russia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Latvia

Pavel Datsyuk-   Pack your bags
Perhaps one of the most terrifying rosters in all of the Olympics, Russia is absolutely STACKED with talent. Pavel Datsyuk will join fellow Russians Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, Ilya Kovalchuk, Alexei Kovalev, Alexander Semin, Sergei Gonchar, plus three high quality netminders Simeon Varlamov, Ilya Bryzgalov, and Evgeni Nabokov. Datsyuk can be placed on any line at any position and flourish with his linemates. Pavel will likely play the same role that Zetterberg does, defending primarily but setting up the superstars on both sides of him. 

Slovakia: 2006 5th place
Group B:
Russia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Latvia

Tomas Tatar - In a Battle
Red Wing fans should get excited about Tomas Tatar. He had a great camp and earned himself a place on the Griffins roster and is there to stay. He's a teenager, so at first glance he would seem to be a long-shot. However, it's no secret Tatar came alive during his last international experience: the 2009 World Junior Championships. In that tournament, he scored 7 goals and 4 assists in 7 games. H:e was rewarded for that effort with an invitation to Slovakia's pre-Olympic camp. He might still be a little green, but he's on the radar.

Canada: 2006 7th place
Group A:
Canada, USA, Switzerland, Norway

Dan Cleary -   Work To Do
There's a good chance that the only folks associated with both the Red Wings and Team Canada are off the ice. Steve Yzerman, Ken Holland, and Mike Babcock all have prominent roles in forming and running the Canadian Olympic Squad, but Dan Cleary was the only player invited to Olympic camp. That's an insanely deep squad - and by all accounts, Canada could ice two Olympic teams - and Cleary's going to need some luck to make the cut. That's not to say he wouldn't be a valuable addition, because we all know what he brings to the table, but there's just so much talent available to the hometown town. 

Todd Bertuzzi-   Moving down
Bertuzzi has done little for his chances of joining the 2010 team other than be on Babcock's team. As mentioned above, there is just too much talent on the Canadian roster and likely no spot for him.

United States: 2006 8th place
Group A: Canada, USA, Switzerland, Norway

Brian Rafalski-   Pack your bags
The Dearborn, MI born defenseman will most likely be on the top line. Rafalski is an elite defender and will be able to be a crucial part of this team. As a well balanced defenseman, the Stars and Stripes can look for some offensive production from Rafalski as well as expecting him to clamp down on the defensive end. Rafalski will likely be alongside Ryan Suter or maybe even the young Jack Johnson--no, not that Jack Johnson.