THE TEAM….

Canada finally announced their 2014 roster for the Sochi Olympics, and without a doubt the biggest surprise is Claude Giroux not making the team.

There are eleven returning players on the 25-man roster, but in my eyes Rick Nash continues to be the most overrated player in the NHL. Nash has had one 70-point season, and since the 2010 Olympics he has scored 185 points in 228 games, 25th most amongst Canadian-born players. In that same time span Marty St.Louis has scored the most points, 271, while Giroux is third with 255.

Giroux is flat out more competitive game in, game out than Nash. Nash has only two goals in 16 NHL playoff games, but Hockey Canada seems to put more onus on the fact he has played well at the water-downed World Championships.

Nash did play okay at the last Olympics, but how much of that was because he was on Toews line, and Toews was the best player in the tournament.

Nash has 18 points in 27 games this year. No one can say he is playing well, or close to the level of Claude Giroux, but Hockey Canada choose him because he’s played for them before. I guess Giroux should not play crappier in the NHL so his team could miss the playoffs and he can pad his stats at the World Championships.

Here is the roster, returning players have **.

Goalies:

  • Roberto Luongo**
  • Carey Price
  • Mike Smith

Defence:

  • Jay Bouwmeester
  • Drew Doughty**
  • Dan Hamuis
  • Duncan Keith**
  • Alex Pietrangelo
  • PK Subban
  • Marc-Edouard Vlasic
  • Shea Weber**

Forwards:

  • Jamie Benn
  • Patrice Bergeron**
  • Jeff Carter
  • Sidney Crosby**
  • Matt Duchene
  • Ryan Getzlaf**
  • Chris Kunitz
  • Patrick Marleau**
  • Rick Nash**
  • Corey Perry**
  • Patrick Sharp
  • Steven Stamkos
  • John Tavares
  • Jonathan Toews**

I still believe Canada is the favourite, because of the blueline and their top-six forwards; Crosby, Tavares, Stamkos, Getzlaf, Perry and Toews.

It will be an awesome tournament and I can’t wait to watch, but picking Nash over Giroux makes little sense. Essentially they are basing it on seven good games that happened four years ago. Horrible decision.

Which decision surpised you?

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR 

  • Spydyr

    Defence looks great can the Oilers get one of them please.

    Nash and Marleau would not be on my team. Replace them with Giroux and St.Louis. Although one of them should replace Stamkos eventually.

    Goaltending may be an issue.

  • Oilerz4life

    Your article failed to mention that the Edmonton Oilers are being considered to represent the best that Canada has to offer in Interpretive Ice Dancing at the Sochi Games.

        • paul wodehouse

          …no not the police but if you don’t have anything else but donkey things to say (ice dancing) then drop the Oilez4life moniker and go with mister irrelevant instead…

          • Oilerz4life

            Its an Oilers site. In case you haven’t noticed, alot of lifelong fans make fun of the current plight of the Oilers around here. Interpretive Ice Dancing is an Olympic sport that I think the Oilers would represent well this year. Why don’t you write up a set of site rules for us all to follow. Or since it aggravates you so much to see an Oilers comment you don’t like on Oilersnation.com and being that you’re in Ontario, you could stick to policing Leafs blog sites.

    • Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

      And Gagner’s in the Luge! The guy LOVES to slide on ice!

      And bonus….his feet don’t hang over the back of that little wee sled!

  • Oilerz4life

    It is not all about the points. Most people think if you build an All-Star team you win. I really don’t care that X got more points than Y. Look at J. Toews Bergeron 2 way players that put up points. YOUR BUILDING A TEAM.

    Nash has an incredible record for international hockey.

    • S cottV

      Yeah – hard to ignore that Nash is much bigger with more reach, is skilled and doesnt give up anything in speed, as compared to Giroux.

      As long as you can move, that stuff comes in handy on the big rink.

    • A-Mc

      Giroux has a much better compete level at both ends of the ice. Nash has basically built his reputation on about 3 really unbelievable highlight reel goals. He’s a decent top 6 forward but you can’t say that he’s better defensively or offensively. Also Giroux can play wing or center, Nash can’t.

  • Tikkanese

    World Cup is superior to the Olympics.

    1. Every team gets an actual training camp. This eliminates the debates over who should have been named to the team. It also creates chemistry for the teams by not relying on one or two practices for that chemistry.

    2. No interupted NHL schedule

    3. No condensed NHL schedule

    4. No 5 A.M. game times due to time zone issues

    5. Gives us hockey in the summer

    6. The players will like it better as they will get paid for it as opposed to the Olympics

    7. If Olympics are back to the amateurs, it gives the possibility of another “Miracle On Ice” to happen again

    8. An amateur Olympic program in the past gave us great players such as Cliff Ronning, that would have never made it otherwise. It also strengthens other tournaments such as the Spengler Cup

    9. There would be more parity in the Olympics. Even the USA domination of basketball is another example for things to change

    • Spydyr

      I also like the World Cup idea but it should be every four years not every two. If it happens too often players will start to back out after long playoff runs.

      They should also find that old Canada Cup trophy , award that and call it The Canada Cup.

      Gretzky to Lemiuix….. Will it ever get better?

      • Serious Gord

        It will be every two – twice the dough ray me.

        And twice as many discussions like this.

        I love the idea it should be the cda cup. and the cup is on display at the HHOF – it has a slight bend in its tip and looks fantastic.

        So every two years – the rotation would be: Canada – Russia/Eastern Europe – United States – Scandinavia. – Thus big crowds every year – not the empty stands like you are going to see in seoul.

    • Zamboni Driver

      I think that most of this post was written in a language only Esa Tikkanen would understand.

      Particularly #8 and #9.

      CLIFF RONNING??!!

      Also, pros already play in hoops, and the Americans have had to work their asses off lately to win. In fact they won a bronze in 2004.

      • Tikkanese

        Yea 5’8″ Cliff Ronning who probably would have never got an NHL shot if it wasn’t for the Canadian program. 869 points in 1137 career NHL games. That’s nothing to “??!!” about.

    • Johnnydapunk

      I’m prepared for a trashing here…

      I don’t know if I would call the World Cup superior, it’s different and is for a different market.

      I’m not going to question all of your points as there is only a few that I kindof disagree with.

      4. Regarding time zones, that 5 am start thing, it only applies to North America as 5 am as in Europe it is a normal evening time. I don’t see that being an issue if the “World Cup” is actually held worldwide.

      5. I could be wrong, but the NHL has an 82 game schedule which is one of the longest hockey schedules worldwide, and I don’t know how much the players would want to play or prepare for a summer tournament. I think the players breaking down would be an issue.

      6. I. Not sure where payment would come in unless there was some type of prize money involved, there is also the issue of insurance as I don’t think too many team owners would be or even are happy with releasing their 5 mil a year player for a summer tournament.

      7/9 I don’t think there is any fear of a “Miracle on Ice” moment not happening as there is quite a bit of parity among Olympic teams, it just takes time, and you are seeing it with teams like Switzerland for example, who beat Canada in 2010 in the round robin part. I think the IIHF is doing a tremendous job of raising the level of international hockey with their World Championship structure. No one really expected the Finns to win the World Juniors this year, so gold is not guaranteed for anyone.

      8. I don’t think there is any country that has a full time “National team” anymore, I can only guess that it is a money issue as a National Team program can’t be cheap. Something similar to football(soccer) scenario with national team breaks can’t really work either as the season is pretty packed as it is.

      The idea of a “World Cup” of hockey in the format that was used in 2004 and before, seems only popular in North America as a lot of Europeans take the Olympics and IIHF World Championships as their “World Cup” they both are massively important and popular to watch and players take it very seriously (well Europeans )

      Ideally it would be good for the IIHF to move the world championships to a later time so it would get more North American interest, but I guess that affects the European leagues.

      Apologies for the novel, I get on a topic and latch on to it 😛

      • Serious Gord

        Follow the money.

        The various Hockey federations make bupkiss sending teams to the olympics. Hell the NHL wasn’t even allowed to put a video of the gold medal goal on its website. Because of that the olympics have been a dead cat in terms of marketing revenues for the NHL/KHL.

        A World Cup will make tons of dough every two years for everyone – including NHL players who won’t even be playing via revenue sharing. The KHL and Swedish Elite leagues will be all over it.

        The only reason why the pros went to Sochi was as a peace offering to the KHL. Now that that has been done the Pro leagues will sit down and hammer out the format for a pro world cup in 2016.

        Played in last half of sept and first week of oct. – Think world cup final on Canadian Thanksgiving every two years…

    • Serious Gord

      It will never go back to amateur. It will be U20 just like soccer. that means a few NHLers and KHLers will be eligible and will play.

      And thus it will be the world juniors on steroids – and the imbalances will remain.

  • Zarny

    Some questions for sure, But if we win it was correct, if we lose
    then we will further question these picks for 4 more years.

    Go Canada ! once you have that jersey on , no matter if i agree or not
    you are my boys !.

  • Spydyr

    Look at all these Oiler fans talking about who should and should not be on the team.

    Your credibility is lacking most of you thought the Oilers were a playoff team this year.

    Ha Ha Ha

  • A-Mc

    surprises:

    left off – St Louis, Giroux
    included – Nash, Benn, Marleau

    I’m not surprised Hall didn’t make it. Ithink he should be there as 13 or 14th fwd at teh very least. And I just can’t believe he’s not included in the notable ommissions. Didn’t we just go through Team Canada coming in 4th (WJHC) with a “safe team” and with the “best fit”.

    Hall hurt by playing for a losing team? WEll Nash starred on those powerhouses in Columbus and NY. And Marleau’s SJ Sharks have disappeared in the playoffs as many times as the oilers have missed. But the 2 Memorial Cup winner& MVP doesn’t.

    How many natural wingers on the team? I count 5 (source NHL.com) and 9 natural centers. I guess knowing how to play wing isn’t a consideration. They’ll adjust.

    I wish them good luck. They going to need it!

  • Mo Playoffs Mo Problems

    Imagine Canada’s “B-Team”. They could probably still contend for a medal:

    Hall – Thornton – Couture

    Neal – Giroux – Eberle

    St. Louis – E. Staal – J. Staal

    Lucic – Seguin – Ladd

    Reserves: Marchand – M. Richards – Doan – J. Williams

    Boyle – Seabrook

    Giordano – Phaneuf

    Letang – M. Staal

    Reserves: Girardi – Beauchemin

    Bernier

    Harding

    Ward

    • ToppsSmith

      Ward shouldnt even be considered on a “C” Team. Terrible right now. That would be like saying Dubnyk should start in net.

      There is no way Marchand makes any of my teams on a big ice surface. Too many other better and well-rounded players. You dont need an agitator in the Olympics.

      Only difference on the B squad as opposed to the A squad is that the B squad would let in a pile more goals. There arent a lot of players on that list that are defensively sound.

      If Harding was healthy, he should have been the third string goaltender instead of Smith. What a steller year he is having!

    • Zarny

      Canada’s B team is no doubt impressive, but you have 3 players who shoot left (Couture, Staal and Ladd) playing RW. That won’t work.

      Luckily St. Louis is actually a RW so you can move him to the 1st line.

      Otherwise, you probably have to move Seguin to RW, Staal to C, and cut Ladd for Doan, Williams, Little or most likely Iginla.

      Giordano and Phaneuf are both left D that shoot left.. So is M. Staal although Letang is a righty. Giordano or M. Staal likely move to the reserves for Girardi who shoots right.

      G is where Canada’s B team would be weakest.

    • Newj

      based on the selection of the team i would say it is indeed 87, however that’s getting off topic of my original point that they should have taken MSL to be the veteran leader.

          • Zarny

            Its not even close because Jonathan Toews is one of the most respected men in hockey. Dont let his age fool you, his demeanor, his hockey IQ, his “Messier-like” attitude to put the game on his shoulders, and he is a born winner. Not Whinner, which is what a lot of people think of Crosby. Yes, he got us the golden goal 4 years ago, and yes, he is one of the best athletes in the world, but skill isnt the only determining factor in naming a Captain. Respect is. And i believe that Toews has the respect of just about everybody in the league. And he deserves the C come Olympic time.

            Id like to hear an arguement on who is a better candidate? Cause, personally, I dont see a Scott Neidermayer on this team…

          • Zarny

            Toews would be an excellent choice for Captain; but to say it isn’t close is simply wrong.

            Crosby, despite your impression, is an incredible leader and has put Pit on his shoulders numerous times. He also has the respect of everyone in the league…and is the odds on favorite to be named Captain for Canada.

            Oh and it’s spelled whiner not whinner.

          • Spydyr

            You used a semicolon incorrectly. “But to say it isn’t close is simply wrong” is a dependent clause and needs a comma, not a colon.

            Before you hand out grammar/spelling lessons you should tighten up your own.

  • Newj

    No Joe Thornton?

    Until Tavares 5pt night yesterday, he was tied for 3rd in NHL scoring & leading the league in helpers.

    I get the issue that he is behind Syd, Getzlaf & Bergeron at centre, but he could not make a valuable winger?

    Many say he is too slow? He wasn’t invited to the summer camp, but somehow I’ve got to believe he’s capable of helping Team Cda.

    What am I missing..he wasnt on many radars of the so called pundits.

    Only one I didnt agree with was Nash on the team..should have been Jumbo Joe or MSL.

  • S cottV

    I thought Kevin Lowe was comic relief for team Canada executives. Claude Giroux not making the team was probably Lowe’s bright idea..Erroneous Erroneous

    • A-Mc

      being a canadian hockey fanatic….my heart will always cheer for canada (and the oilers) i definitely think on paper we still have the strongest team. It’s just fun to debate decisions that the higher ups make.

      everyteam had question marks really (i.e. no bobby ryan, belov for russia, etc…) i’m just looking forward to 3-4am hockey games in february

  • S cottV

    I wonder where the Oilers had Jamie Benn in the 2007 draft?

    They took a lot of guys ahead of him that never turned into anything close to this guy.

    He would sure look good at centre for the Oilers.

    • A-Mc

      It might spark some epic LULZ if someone were to ‘leak’ edmontons draft rankings over the last 8 years.

      I’m rather curious about the disparity between teams’ rankings, and their reasoning behind it.

      • Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

        If you look closely at the Oil Change episode that covers the draft there are several frames of video where they show last years list but they blur out the names……but you can actually figure out the names based on the blurred letters, combined with the names we know are on the list, and the LENGTH of the names.

        If I remember correctly they had Monahan at 4 and Nichushkyn right after Nurse. But my memory is bad….someone should go back and view it again.

    • pkam

      29 other teams passed on him for 4 rounds. Oilers didn’t even have a 2nd and 3rd round picks that year. So in a sense, we were better than the other 29 teams since they all had more picks than us yet they passed on him.

      • S cottV

        I guess he played in the BCJHL, in his draft year, so Vancouver comes out looking the dumbest. He put up a lot of points that year in Victoria, so – the Oilers should have been aware.

  • Admiral Ackbar

    I know y’all dislike Nash and consider Giroux a ‘better hockey player’. I believe this is true in a top 6 role. Nash however played on a checking line with Toews & Richards in the 2010 games. That line was magnificent at shutting down Dats-Ovi-Malkin.

    Sadly, Giroux’s passion will be Ieft out. I still remember him laying out Crosby 30sec into Game 5 before the Flyers knocked out The Pens 2012. Perhaps the rapport between Crosby & Giroux played a roll!

    I believe Babcock will put Toews-Sharp-Nash together for a checking line. No one can score on these guys!

    My lines.

    Kunitz-Crosby-Stamkos
    Benn-Getzlaf-Perry
    Sharp-Toews-Nash
    Duchesne-Tavares-Carter
    Bergeron
    (Marleau-extra)

    My alternatives:
    Mike Richards>Marleau
    Seabrook>Hamhuis (chemistry is a premium in this tourney, he & Keith)
    Anyone>Bouwmeester

    • Zarny

      On big ice Marleau > Richards. He also plays the W not C like Richards. Same goes with Carter…he can play RW. Joe Thornton would make the team at C before Mike Richards.

      Duncan Keith will play with Drew Doughty on the top pair; Seabrook and Keith were never going to be paired together this Olympics.

      Hamhuis shoots left; Seabrook shoots right. That’s what the decision is based on. I suppose you can disagree with that strategy, but Babcock has won a Stanley Cup and Olympic gold so his opinion counts more.

      Bouwmeester is one of the best skating D in the NHL and plays regularly with Pietrangelo. He also shoots left which after Pronger and Neidermeyer retired Canada is in short supply of.

  • paul wodehouse

    How in the world Hockey Canada took Nash, Duchene, Carter, and Kunitz over guys like Giroux, Thorton, and Eric Stall. Is simply baffling. Even if you want to make the argument that Kunitz is there to play LW and that’s good because all we have is a bunch of centres. How you take Duchene over Eric Stall is just stunning.

    I like that they took Boumester over Seabrook as Hitchcock explains the international ice as much more of a lateral game than the vertical one played in the NHL.

    Our defence and goal tending should give us a chance for gold as long as the coaches aren’t afraid to pull the goalie at the first sign of trouble during the round robin and give the job to whichever 3 is the hottest.

    I’m really excited to watch Stamkos and Crosby play on a line together, and to watch the classic Canadian style of hockey whatever line they put together with Toews.

    If I was doing line combos it would be:
    Kunitz Crosby Stamkos
    Tavaras Getzlaf Perry
    Benn Toews Nash
    Sharp Bergeron Carter

    Defence I really don’t think it matters.

  • Time Travelling Sean

    What if Crosby gets injured? Or Crosby hits an awful dry streak? Kunitz will be dead weight if that happens.

    I’d rather have someone not ride Crosby’s coat tails to success but could rather make Crosby better or if Crosby falters pick up the weight himself and help move the team/line.

    Nash is getting there on legacy, I’d rather have Giroux on big ice than Nash on big ice.

  • Time Travelling Sean

    Team Canada will not win any medal at Sochi, so stop stressing over who made or didn’t make the team. Oilers players can rest and relax, start fresh the second half and knock off teams trying to make playoffs.

      • Oilerz4life

        I m saying Oilers will play spoilers, they are not going to make playoffs this year or next year with Eakins. I don’t smoke, I see Oilers getting smoked each game is enough for everyone.

  • A-Mc

    I hope stamkos can play but doing a little google searching brought me to this excerpt from an article:

    “The fact that he has a broken leg, that it has required surgery, the typical recovery time for surgery for an injury of this nature is in the four- to six-month range,” Wells said.

    The range of estimates, according to media reports, point to at least eight to 10 weeks for the bone to heal. Shadgan says the mean length of time taken to return to training is about five to seven months, though.

    Doesnt look good..

  • paul wodehouse

    Vern…my concerns are two…goaltending and the big ice surface but I like that there’s a righty and lefty on each D pairing…I like that Kunitz made it…I like that we have no smurfs (yes your MSL is big hearted)…but I worry about those things I mentioned…

    • A-Mc

      i agree…but like every olympics or WC or anything international….Canada has the best skaters in the world bar none from 1-22, of course there are the datsyuks of the world, but overall Canada > REST of the World. BUT it’s always the goalies that are in the spotlight right or wrong, they’re the last line of defence and whenever canada loses, goaltending is almost always the first thing pointed out.

      Big Surface is another problem. Canadians NEVER play on such a huge surface from their minor hockey to CHL they are always trained in NA ice, whereas all europeans USUALLY will have some experience on the surface. Having played minor hockey in edmonton i have never even seen an international rink (outside the TV) so yea that’s definitely a concern.

  • Oilerz4life

    Every player cannot be the same. You need to build a team, they picked team Canada with that in mind. Each player has a role to play with different strength’s. Hall did not make this team because the didn’t need another player with excellent speed. They needed something different.

    • ToppsSmith

      You people turned me. Get Nash out of that uniform. We will make Crosby do the grinding on the 3rd line, Stamkos will goon it up on 4th, and the highly over rated MSL can be our penalty killing specialist. It makes perfect sense.

  • PlayDirty

    Was there more anticipation to find out who was on the team so we could start getting behind the guys or so everyone could start b!tching about who was omitted? I think it took TSN all of 3 seconds to turn the focus away from supporting the team to leading the complaints about who was left out.

    Bottom line is we have the best players. Let’s focus on getting behind those who are going and forget about those who aren’t.

    G’Oh Canada!

  • ToppsSmith

    Lets face the truth Hall looked horrible on the big ice last year for Canada. He looked like a Junior hockey player using his speed to go through 5 players. It did not work and Ruff benched him. Sorry but that is the truth.

    • Zarny

      Let’s face the truth, Hall turned 22 less than 2 months ago.

      In Vancouver, Canada had one 22 y/o on the team…Sidney Crosby. Everyone else was 24+. And Hall is 3 months younger than Crosby was in 2010.

      Hall has barely played 200 NHL games. He was the youngest player at the orientation camp by almost a year. Duchene was the only other ’91 invited and he’s 10 months older than Hall with almost 100 more NHL games experience.

      It’s not surprising when a 21 y/o struggles a bit. It really isn’t. Not even in the slightest.

      That is the truth.