Coming off an appearance in their first Stanley Cup final last season, the Sharks are poised to stay atop the Pacific division. They have a strong defensive core led by Marc Edouard Vlasic and Brent Burns, with a potent offence led by centreman Joe Thornton and winger Joe Pavelski. Add in their rising star netminder, Martin Jones, and their window to compete for the Cup remains wide open.
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However, a long Stanley Cup-winning NHL career was never a given. Kompon first pursued a professional career, moving to Germany and competing in the ECHL. He eventually gave up his playing career to put his McGill education degree to use to teach high school mathematics at Loyola high school. He combined this with coaching the McGill Redmen hockey team–first as an assistant, then as co-head coach.
Russia’s lack of defensive depth will be their undoing against Canada; the Canadian offence is too well-balanced and aggressive for the sub-par Russian blueline corps.