In a short hockey tournament like the one found in the Olympics , an injury for one player often means an opportunity for another.
Such is the case for Canada’s Matt Duchene.
With teammate John Tavares tearing his MCL in Wednesday’s quarterfinal matchup against Latvia, it was revealed on Thursday that Duchene will draw back into the Canadian lineup when they face the United States Friday in the semifinals.
Duchene, who has zero points (but does have four shots and a plus-one rating) in the two games he has played in the Olympics, was a healthy scratch against Latvia.
Not only will Duchene return to the lineup, but he will also be returning to his natural position of center. The 23-year-old will center Canada’s fourth line, which also includes wingers Patrick Sharp and Rick Nash. Martin St. Louis, last season’s NHL scoring champion, is expected to be the extra forward for Canada.
"It's a big opportunity for myself now, a chance to play center, to play where I'm comfortable," said Duchene. "You know, there's been a lot of unfamiliarity in this tournament, and when you get a short chance at it, sometimes it can be tough, so this is going to be much more familiar.”
Duchene will enter a group of highly-touted Canadian forwards that have struggled to produce. Forward have accounted for only six goals in this tournament, with Jeff Carter’s hat trick representing half of that total. Captain Sidney Crosby, the hero of the 2010 Olympics, has yet to score in Sochi.
In a rematch of the 2010 finals, Canada will face the U.S. on Friday, with the winner advancing to the gold medal game.