Team Europe

With an average age of 29.8 years old, Europe heads into the competition as the oldest team. Coach Miroslav Satan has favoured veterans in his roster with Kings captain Kopitar playing alongside demi-God Hossa, Chara, and teammate Gaborik. Draisaitl is the baby of the team at only twenty, but in this experience-riddled team, it should prove a brilliant opportunity for him to develop. Despite having the colossus sized Chara who stands at a whopping 2.5m tall, this team also features the smallest player of the tournament, Mats Zuccarello, who reaches 1.79m, therefore gives the team a respectable height average of 1.85m.

With few exceptions, the team is fairly modest. Their few stars are no longer shining so brightly: Chara is 39,more susceptible to injuries, and not that quick; Hossa is 37 and posted only 33 points last season following injuries. However, at 26, Roman Josi is establishing himself as world class defencemen and hit a career high of 61 points last season. With the Predators, he partnered the juggernaut of Shea Weber, which no doubt has benefited his game, but he has since been traded to the Canadiens, so it will be interesting to watch how Josi’s game changes within this tournament and in the upcoming season where he’ll likely be partnered with PK Subban.

teameurope

The biggest issue that team Europe will face is the ability to work cohesively and generate chemistry in such a short space of time. Athletes love to win; these guys play for club and country, but team Europe is a slightly abstract concept. With such a vast number of countries being represented under this umbrella, the majority of players have never played alongside each other. It eliminates them as a real threat in the tournament because they will not be as cohesive as the others. Carron, Bray and Eys (2002) have demonstrated a strong link between cohesion and successful performance in sports teams. Cohesiveness can be defined in a number of ways, but key attributes include members being attracted to the group and resisting disruption, remaining united in pursuit of goals; in addition to the task, the team members need to be attracted to the group as a whole. Some of this group may play together again in four years at the next world cup, but the glue holding them together isn’t particularly strong. Hey, on the flipside, they may have that underdog attitude of prove ’em wrong…

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