MY TEAM CANADA

With Hockey Canada unveiling their Olympic team on Tuesday, I decided to take a stab at this year’s roster.

As we have already seen with the US squad, there will be arguments for days about the additions and omissions. Canada is deeper than the USA, so we can imagine the scrutiny of this team when it is announced.

GOALIES

R. Luongo

C. Price

M. Smith

I have no idea who may be the starter but it’s safe to say Luongo and Price will be 1-2 in any particular order. However, Luongo’s recent injury could change this. If you have to use your third goalie, you are likely in some trouble anyways so I’m not going to focus too much there.

DEFENSE

There are 3 no brainers in Keith, Weber and Doughty.

The rest of the corps is up for grabs.

Keith (L) Weber (R) Doughty (R) Hamhuis (L) Bouwmeester (L) Pietrangelo (R) Subban (R) Vlasic (L)

Notable Additions

Dan Hamhuis – He plays all the hard minutes for the Vancouver Canucks and someone (likely a lefty) will need to play the left side with one of Weber or Doughty. He’s not an offensive guy but he can make a good first pass, he’s a veteran and isn’t going to be overwhelmed by the big stage.

You need to have stability on the back end. Canada’s strength in their defense in my opinion is their ability to have “two-way” type defenseman. It won’t hurt them to have one guy that creeps even farther to the defensive side of things.

Bouwmeester could easily be in the top 4 but they may want to keep him with Petriangelo who are teammates in St Louis. The other 2 additions are Vlasic and Subban.

PK Subban –  He is making all the headlines right now and it will be up for great debate if he is left off the team. There is no question of this guy’s ability. In my opinion he has be to on the team but I don’t know how much he plays until necessary. If the back end is struggling to create offense or the power play needs some pop he will play. The extra roster spots this year give you that flexibility.

He’s a wild card in that he can be careless and a defensive liability. We all saw what the USA did with Keith Yandle. In a short tournament there are many questions Steve Yzerman and the gang must ask themselves when picking a guy like Subban.

Can you trust him to not cost you with his high risk, high reward play? Are you better off picking “safer” players? If he’s not playing the minutes he wants, will he be a distraction; will he be a good team guy?

He’s the Norris trophy winner and I think he has to be named.  He’s too talented but I expect he will be added with extreme caution and will need to earn the coaches trust.

FORWARDS

I’m not going to bother putting people on certain lines and decide which is my second, third or fourth line but I expect you will see pairs. In a short tournament finding quick chemistry is big.

Kunitz Crosby

Sharp Toews

Getzlaf Perry

Stamkos

Giroux

Tavares

St. Louis

Benn

Marleau

Bergeron

Couture

Steven Stamkos – Obviously he gets named but you have to think it’s in pencil. Coming back from any injury is so tough. Who knows how he is physically. The bone may be healed but has he had enough time to strengthen the leg? Then there is the timing and the speed factor. This isn’t the NHL, this is another level.

NOTABLE ADDITIONS

Chris Kunitz – He makes the team in my opinion as a safety blanket. In a short tourney and all the concerns of chemistry, I think he’s called upon. Are there more talented and better players? Sure.

Is there a better fit with Crosby in a short time frame? Your guess is as good as mine.

He may not have the notoriety or draft status of some guys and he’s definitely painted with the “carried by Sidney Crosby” brush but he’s still a pretty good player. He was a first liner for the Anaheim Ducks when they won the Stanley Cup in 2005-2006 and he’s third in the league in scoring right now.

He can hang with the best and if the best player in the world wants him there, then he will be there. If it doesn’t start out well you plug in one of your extras. I won’t lose sleep either way but I think Team Canada picks him.

Claude Giroux – Played his way back on to the team after a slow start.  He has really elevated his game at the right time.

Martin St Louis – Has experience and is still getting it done at his age. He also knows that Stamkos guy pretty well. It’s not a bad thing having a couple old guys around.

Patrick Sharp – Can snipe, has familiarity in Toews and can play up and down the lineup if needed.

Jamie Benn – I’ve played with this guy and if he wasn’t in Dallas people would be more aware of who he is. He skates well for a big guy, has phenomenal hands and he can play a heavy game. I think he’s a perfect fit beside Getzlaf and Perry. At the Vancouver games, the line with Morrow-Getzlaf-Perry was very effective.

Benn is more skilled than Brenden Morrow and has the ability to adapt his game to a more physical style if need be. The thought of a line like that excites me.

Patrice Bergeron – Great role guy, can fill a lot of holes when called upon

Patrick Marleau – Still one of the best skaters in the league, he can score and kill penalties. His experience and the big ice should be an advantage to him making the team.

Logan Couture – Also a guy that can kill penalties, there are only a handful of forwards they are picking from that kill on their NHL squads. He goes to the dirty areas and I think those things give him an edge to squeak into the top 14. I could see Duchene replace him or Marleau as well to add a little more offensive flare.

NOTABLE CUTS

Rick Nash – Hasn’t had a tremendous season, but I wouldn’t be shocked if he is still named. Experience is on his side.

Joe Thornton – There’s no question he is one of the best players in North America but on the big ice I worry a bit. He wants to slow the game down and they are so deep down the middle.

Jeff Carter – Definitely there if Stamkos can’t go.

Eric Staal – Could be there, I just don’t see it with their center depth right now.

Milan Lucic – On North American ice he’s a no brainer. On the bigger ice there isn’t as much hitting, it’s harder to get to the guy before the puck is moved. I think the Canadians have enough skilled size and grit that can get around a little better.

 James Neal – You could interchange him and Benn. He’s close.

Taylor Hall – I think he just misses out. His two-way game isn’t quite there in my opinion and when you look at where he would likely need to play, he doesn’t fit for me. I don’t think he cracks the top 6 and he doesn’t have as many intangibles some other bottom 6 guys will bring.

Unfortunately I also think his lack of playoff experience at the NHL level may hurt him a bit. In 4 years he’s a lock.

Matt Duchene – Same as Hall. Great talent, just not as well rounded as some older more experienced guys.

TUESDAY

It will be exciting. I’m not sure you can go very wrong with any of the bubble guys. Canada is so deep, many are interchangeable.

Who’s on your squad?

  • Truth

    I hope they don’t name Kunitz.

    Everyone’s reasoning for thinking he makes the team: Chemistry with Crosby, plus he’s a decent player.

    Firstly, I like the looks of Crosby + any other Canadian you listed including the notable cuts, with the exception of Joe Thornton, instead of Kunitz as a pair. How about Giroux – Crosby – Marleau as a line instead of Kunitz – Crosby – Marleau, for example. Not even close who I’d rather have playing. Also, once you remove Kunitz you get to add any other player from the list of cuts to the team. All of which are much better players than Kunitz.

    It has been mentioned a ton out there the last couple of days, but if Hall played on practically any other team in the league and put up identical numbers I think he would a lock to make team Canada.

  • Nuge&Connorvs.Sam&Sean

    Honestly it’s so close it probably doesn’t matter. However I hate hearing about safe picks. That worked really well for the Junior team. Maybe the high risk high reward guy (Subban) is the guy who scores the OT winner instead of the safe guy who played really great D in a 2-1 loss.

    I have Hall on my team but I’m obviously biased, just would make the team more fun to watch as an Oiler fan.

  • **

    Nash has no place on this team. Dude only has 7 goals and 16 points this season. I get that he has been a Team Canada fixture in the past, but he has not been very good lately.

  • **

    I would bring Thorton instead of Benn. If I’m bringing MArleau and Couture, then Thorton is a no brainer, he leads the NHL in assists, and the chemistry team would work out great with those 3 on the same line. I leave Benn out for the same reason Lucic and Staal are being left out, and Carter for that matter: there’s not much need for big hitting forwards on the bigger ice.

    I would bring Giordano over Subban. If a game is tight or if there is an injury, I think Giordano has more character and grit to hold the fort. Somehow I got the feeling Phaneuf makes the team.

    Either way, Canada’s back end is going to be sick.

  • Nuge&Connorvs.Sam&Sean

    Hall for sure should not be on the team, no oiler knows how to play defence and in a one-game scenario, no friggin way to take that chance.
    The one guy who gets no love is Matt duchesne. Jesus this guy is unreal, best and fastest skater in the league, he’d draw 3 penalties a game just because of his speed, lethal player should be automatic. Anyone who has seen him live knows what I’m saying

  • Nuge&Connorvs.Sam&Sean

    Hello, this year they play on the big ice right?

    Do you think that team USA took that into consideration when making the roster?

    Thank you for your answer Mr. Sutherby

  • Spydyr

    If Neal is really interchangeable with Benn, then you put Neal on the team. He also has a lot of chemistry with Crosby. Add to that the fact he is second in the league in points per game and fifth in the league in goals per game this season.

    IMO, Neal should be on the team.