Carter starts Team Canada's first practice alongside Crosby and Kunitz
Team Canada captain Sidney Crosby laughs as he and his teammates take part in their first men's hockey practice during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia on Monday, February 10, 2014. (Nathan Denette / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Stephen Whyno, The Canadian Press
Published Monday, February 10, 2014 5:23AM EST
Last Updated Monday, February 10, 2014 1:21PM EST
SOCHI, Russia -- Jeff Carter is getting the chance to play on Sidney Crosby's right wing because Mike Babcock wants him to shoot.
That's not what Babcock saw Carter do in Team Canada's first practice Monday night.
"After watching him pass it back today I'm not so sure," Babcock said. "Carter shoots the puck in L.A. If he passes the puck back to Sid, he can't play with him."
Carter will likely get that message as Canada ramps up its preparations to open the Olympics on Thursday against Norway. It's an opportunity he's excited to have, even though he wasn't giving his spot in the lineup much thought.
Line rushes were mixed and matched at Bolshoy Ice Dome as Babcock put his players through what he likened to more of a morning skate than a full practice. John Tavares said he and some of his teammates didn't see the lineup posted in the locker-room before stepping on the ice and were just going with the flow.
Jonathan Toews centred Patrick Sharp and Rick Nash, while Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry were together and joined at times by Tavares or Patrick Marleau. It looks as though Marleau is the left-winger there and that Tavares is centring the fourth line between Jamie Benn and Patrice Bergeron.
Marty St. Louis rotated through, and assistant coach Ken Hitchcock said Matt Duchene and St. Louis will get looks even though they appear to be the extras. Every team in this tournament can dress 20 skaters, and Canada figures to go with 13 forwards and seven defencemen.
The top three pairs at the first practice were Duncan Keith with Shea Weber, Marc-Edouard Vlasic with Drew Doughty and Jay Bouwmeester with Alex Pietrangelo. Judging by that it appears either P.K. Subban or Dan Hamhuis will be the seventh defenceman.