Team Canada coach Mike Babcock threw his lines into the blender on the second day of practice in an attempt to find chemistry before Thursday’s Olympic opener against Norway.
The top unit of Sidney Crosby centering Chris Kunitz and Jeff Carter stayed intact, as did the Jonathan Toews-Patrick Sharp-Rick Nash trio.
But John Tavares was replaced by Patrick Marleau on the Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry line. Tavares moved to center on his own unit between Jamie Benn and Patrice Bergeron.
Martin St. Louis and Matt Duchene were the extras, suggesting one of them is likely headed to the press box for the opener.
Reports from on-scene indicate that Canada’s four defensive pairings remained the same as on Monday: Duncan Keith and Shea Weber; Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Drew Doughty; Jay Bouwmeester and Alex Pietrangelo; with P.K. Subban and Dan Hamhuis as the extras.
Maybe the biggest surprise of the day was the use of Patrick Sharp on the point during power play drills alongside Keith. Sharp is no stranger to the role, routinely manning the point for the Blackhawks. But given the talent on hand, it’s a fairly conservative choice.
Of course, Babcock is likely to continue tinkering through the preliminary round, so players like Subban and Weber could see action on the first PP unit before long.
There’s still no indication about which way Babcock is leaning in choosing between goalies Carey Price and Roberto Luongo.