Wednesday, December 07, 2005



Having thought about it some more since Monday, taken in a bit more media, and read Gretzky's mind a bit, I'm ready to name Canada's Olympic men's hockey roster.

If there's one overriding principle here, it's that past (successful) experience in international competitions is relatively important, and performance to date in the 2005-06 NHL season is relatively unimportant. This is entirely consistent with the way Gretzky et al have done things in the past, so I'm pretty confident. (Example: why did Fleury make the 2002 team instead of Thornton? Because in '98, he was probably Canada's most consistently dangerous forward.)

Here you go.

Crosby, Doan, Draper, Gagne, Heatley, Iginla, Lecavalier, Nash, Richards, Sakic, Shanahan, Smyth, Thornton

Blake, Foote, Jovanovski, Niedermayer, Pronger, Redden, Regehr

Brodeur, Joseph, Luongo

Sorry, Pal:
Bertuzzi, Spezza, St. Louis, Staal, Hannan, McCabe, Phaneuf, Theodore, Turco

Here's the text of #99 commenting on Spezza, Staal, and Crosby:
"All three of those guys have been outstanding all year," Gretzky told reporters at Air Canada Centre on Tuesday night. "I saw Staal play the other night, he was tremendous.

"Spezza is leading the league in scoring and what else can you say about the 18-year-old (Crosby) who's kind of carried the league on his shoulders, he's had a lot of pressure. He's lived up to all the expectations, maybe even better than what people anticipated."

Now if you saw this clip on TV, I think you'd have to agree that right about at "what else can you say", Gretzky's tone changed from standard monotone (the hockey player special) to a quicker, more excited speech pattern with a not-quite-concealed smile. I watched it and thought, "Crosby's in--bank it." And who, on the executive team, is going to go to bat for Spezza? Jacques Martin? No disrespect to Spezza, but this notion that he and Heatley have some kind of inimitable chemistry is screwy. Heatley doesn't need Spezza to be a good goal-scorer.

I think there's a slight chance McCabe makes it in; if he does, I think it'll be at the expense of Special Ed. Draper, Doan, and Thornton won Canada the World Cup in '04; I think they're all in. Draper's having a bad year (statistically), but I doubt that outweighs the rest of his resume (besides the World Cup, I'll attest personally that apart from maybe Brad Richards, he was the best player the Flames faced in the 2004 playoffs).

CuJo is the only guy where I'm contradicting my "overriding principle" at the top; I just think that Gretzky won't be comfortable naming a team without a goaltender who's hot right now (although I suppose you could argue for Turco on that basis). Brodeur has basically already been named, and Luongo should be in based on past performance (and the quite reasonable assumption that he'll be playing better in February than he is now).

I am assuming that Mario withdraws. As I've mentioned before, I think once he gets a firm indication that Crosby's in (or will be, if Mario opens up a spot), that'll be all he needs to hear.

Also, I'll happily predict right now that not only will Crosby make the team, but he'll be on one of the top two lines in the medal round. I've seen all I need to see, and so has Gretzky--The Show kicks ass.


You really think Shane Doan would make the team? He kinda sucks this year, especially in my pool.

Yep. He's a good two-way player, and he scored the winner (and was 1st star) in the final of the '04 World Cup, where he, Draper & Thornton also shut down Finland's top line.

And I don't know if being a Coyote helps him, but it certainly doesn't hurt him.

I actually saw a different clip of the Great One talking about all three that made me think: "Crosby's in".

They asked him about Darryl, and WG said: "Oh, he's good, he's the real deal!" in an excited kind of way. Then he diplomatically said nice things about how well Staal and Spezza have also been playing and mentioned that it would be a tough call.

Ferraro also made a good point recently about McCabe with reference to his right/left shooting. I'm too lazy to look it up, but we are short on d-men shooting from one of those sides, and adding McCabe at the expense of Blake(?) would make it even worse.

Your little (?) made me think about it a bit more. Pronger, Niedermayer, Redden and Regehr are favoured to make the team AND have played well this year. Blake is somehow -10 on a team that's above .500 (someone named Brett Clark is +11 on the Avs' D). JovoCop is -4, worst of all the Canucks D. It makes Foote's -9 seem alright, considering how much crappier his squad is.

Anyway, I still think Foote is in on merit, and Blake is in if he wants to be, leaving Jovo as the most likely victim of a McCabe promotion.

Also, I thought I'd add: the roster I've shown includes 12/23 returning players (2/3 G, 5/7 D, 5/13 F). I don't think that'll dip below 10 under any circumstances. Also, since Shanahan would be one of only 5 returning forwards, I'm more confident than ever that he'll get picked (there's also those 17 goals this year, confirming that he's still fully capable).

Crosby, Shannahan going over Staal and Spezza would be a questionable decision. I think Nash is also questionable considered the guy's played maybe three game's all year - he's killing me in my hockey pool. How healthy Nash is likely is determinative of whether he goes or not.

Considering one of the best lines Team Canada could even hypothetically ice is Spezza, Heatley and Staal based on this season's performance it would be a rather severe mistake to leave any of them watching the games at home. I've watched Crosby play a couple times this season, and he's going to be good but at the moment he's a shadow of his hype.

At the world juniors he never looked like the best player on the ice, there were flashes of brilliance but that was about it. To be slightly curmudgeonly my impression is that he's the next Marion Hossa more so than the next Gretzsky.

Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?