Thursday, December 22, 2005

 

Bertuzzi v. Crosby

sacamano went over the roster yesterday; as I mentioned in a handful of previous posts and comments, I would have preferred Crosby and Shanahan to Bertuzzi and Doan. I think they're missing some potential tangible and intangible contributions from those guys that they won't get from Bertuzzi and Doan, but nevertheless, the roster is pretty awesome.

Here's what was the biggest surprise to me. I listened to a couple of hours of call-in shows yesterday, plus McKenzie and a few other pros, and while many challenged the wisdom of selecting Bertuzzi, not one person based their challenge on merit. Is it really that obvious that, based on hockey only, Big Head Todd should be on the team? I'm not so sure at all.

This was even less clear 3 weeks ago, but he's played his way back into form recently, it seems. However, Bertuzzi is still a pretty inconsistent contributor, and when he's bad, he's horrid. Find a Canucks message board and scan through the October and November comments; there are scores of comments to the effect of, "why does Todd look so lazy". He's had stretches, or perhaps entire seasons, where he looked like the best power forward in hockey; however, he has virtually no Team Canada experience (which was ostensibly highly valued by the selectors), and the only thing he's ever won is a 1st-round playoff series against St. Louis.

Maybe I just haven't watched him enough over his career, but I just don't see why the question of whether he should be on the team is one of ethics only. I think you could argue that Shanahan deserves his spot on merit.

UPDATE: I guess I missed one--apparently Michael Landsberg made this same point.

The linked story (├×Hockey Pundits) also talks about how the Canadian Olympic Committee may put the kibosh on Bertuzzi. You've got to be kidding me. If the COC really had a problem, they should have just told Hockey Canada flat out, last week, that Bert would not be an acceptable selection. It's too late now. (Note that the COC is supposedly "concerned" about Heatley and Doan, too; what a nakedly bogus attempt to appear morally consistent rather than image conscious).

Comments:

Two things:

1) I still firmly believe that Gretzky has a thing about giving second chances. He took Fleury when most said he shouldn't, and it paid off. I think Bertuzzi was selected for similar reasons.

2) Even without the sentimental reasons, I actually think Bertuzzi should be there on merit - if only because over the last few weeks he has looked pretty good.

Also, I agree that Shanny should have been there, and I sure wish that one or both of Doan and Draper would have been sacrificed for one or two of the kids.
 


I think the best comment I heard was right before the announcement, I think it was Pierre Mcguire who said it, (and i'm not a McGuire fan). He said, "there are some players who no matter what, just can't play themselves OFF the team, and conversely, there are some players who, no matter what, simply cannot play themselves ON the team."

I'd say Shanny, Crosby, Staal, and Cujo are the players who no matter what couldn't play their way onto the team.

I'd say Doan, Bertuzzi, Luongo, Smyth and Draper are the guys who couldn't play their way off the team.

Also, remember 5 months ago, when asked straight up, Gretzky told the press that if he was legally able to play, then Bertuizzi would be on the team. So, once again Gretzky keeps his word.
 


We already have enough stars on the team. Forget Doan, Bertuzzi and Shanny. I want Green, Peca, Brind'Amour and Madden.
 


I wouldn't necessarily mind having Madden on there, actually--he might be the league's most underrated player. Bertuzzi has been terrific in the Oiler-Canuck games, but if you go by that data set then Naslund would probably get dropped from Team Sweden...
 


Thanks, sacamano, for saying what I was thinking: Bertuzzi is borderline based on merit alone. When I draw up the lines, he's currently my #13 forward.
1) gagne-sakic-iginla
2) nash-thornton-heatley
3) richards-lecavalier-st. louis
4) smyth-draper-doan
He's better than the fourth line guys, but he's no defensive stopper. Yet if he continues to play as well as he has in December, he is sure to take someone's spot.
normie (yes, that normie)
 

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