Los Angeles Kings in the 2010 Olympics

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Welcome to the New Year! Here’s hoping this decade is far more kind to Kings fans than the last one!

With the Kings gearing up to play division rival San Jose Sharks tonight, it seemed like as good a time as any to take a look at the Kings players set to suit up for their national teams at the Olympics in Vancouver this February:

Michal Handzus will suit up for Slovakia. I’d say this team has a relatively low chance of making any real noise at the tournament, but certainly they’ll be tough to play against. With Hossa, Gaborik, Demitra, Hossa, Palffy and other stud forwards, they’ll definitely have a high octane offense. They’ve got a solid, if unspectacular defense, though they’re goalkeeping is somewhat suspect.

Drew Doughty – We’ve already reported that Doughty made Team Canada in perhaps the closest thing to a surprise on that team. That being said, he’s more than earned his spot, and will play for a team that has very realistic aspirations of winning the whole thing. With home-team advantage, I’d have to put Canada as the odds on favorite to come home with the gold, something that can only help Doughty’s development. You can bet I’ll be pulling for Canada if/when my team is eliminated.

Jack Johnson – This pick came as a pleasant surprise to me, and while far from shocking, I wasn’t sure he’d manage to make the team. Regardless, he’s a talented offensive player that has certainly stepped up his game this season. He’s been getting more time from Murray, and this opportunity will be great for his development as well. As a pleasing point of fact, having Doughty and Johnson, two defensemen under 23 on two of the leading hockey Olympic teams speaks well for the Kings future on the blue line!

Jonathan Quick – There’s basically no chance Quick gets any playing time in these games. However, this pick is important. Not only did his play (especially lately) effectively force the hand of the Team USA management, his slot as the 3rd keeper solidifies him as a very real possibility for future Olympic tournaments. Ryan Miller and Tim Thomas aren’t going to be around forever, and Quick is in all reality still very young.

Dustin Brown – Brownie deserved this spot. While he has maybe lacked some of the offensive punch that he would have liked to bring to the table for the Kings, he’s still a talented, driven leader and will be a major factor if Team USA is going to make any noise at all this year. In addition, he’s precisely the kind of player Brian Burke likes, and the only question left to answer is what leadership role he’s going to play for the team.