Who's hot and cold for Team Canada?

By HOSEA CHEUNG, QMI AGENCY

In a tournament that comes and goes quickly, there’s very little time to truly prepare.

There’s no training camp, no weeks of trying to develop chemistry, and there’s only one practice before it’s go-time. That’s how Olympic hockey works.

And for Team Canada, or any other country for that matter, to be successful, they need their players to be hot right from the get-go. That means the NHL stretch leading up to the Games is crucial for players to gain momentum.

So with four weeks until the puck drops at Canada Hockey Place, here’s a look at who’s streaking and who’s slipping (before yesterday’s games):

TOP MEN:

Finding their groove should be no problem for Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, and Dany Heatley. The San Jose Sharks trio are on a roll, combining for 28 points in the last 10 games, and are all top 12 amongst NHL scoring leaders.

SID THE KID:

A lot of pressure will be placed on potential No. 1 centre Sidney Crosby’s shoulders. The Penguins captain, who is fourth in NHL scoring, has not disappointed, tallying seven goals in the last eight.

AND THE REST:

However, things aren’t looking as pretty for some of the other team leaders and go-to-guys. Captain Scott Niedermayer has one goal in 26 games and is a minus-eight in the last eight. Forward Rick Nash only has two goals, both in one game, in his last 12. And alternate captain Jarome Iginla only has one point in seven games.

ON THE “D”:

Canada has several hot hands on the blueline though. Duncan Keith has five goals and 14 assists in 17 games, while Chris Pronger and Dan Boyle recently had five game point streaks. Shea Weber has 11 points in nine games.

IN THE NET:

Martin Brodeur is making his case for the starting job, recording four shutouts in the last 12 games.

HURTING:

Several injuries could be dogging Canada come February 16. Patrice Bergeron suffered a broken thumb and was set to return yesterday, but considering his faceoff ability was a main factor in his selection, how does the injury affect his hand strength? Brenden Morrow, who has four points and is a minus-six in the last 14 games, left Saturday’s game with an upper-body injury and is day-to-day. Marc-Andre Fleury has a fractured finger and is also listed as day-to-day.

OTHER STREAKS:

Mike Richards - 13 points in last 12. Eric Staal - 12 points (4G, 8A) in last eight. Ryan Getzlaf - Two goals in nine games. Brent Seabrook - No goals since November 25. Drew Doughty - one goal in 16.

POLL