Great players left off of Canada’s roster

WorldCup

The final rosters for the World Cup of Hockey will be announced today. Finland, Russia, Sweden and the Czech Republic filled out their 23-man rosters this morning, and the remaining four teams will be named this afternoon.

When Canada’s final roster is finalized there will be a lot of debate among passionate Canadian fans. Some very good players won’t make the roster, but will we see ten eventual Hall of Famers omitted?

That is what happened in 1991.

Canada has always had incredible depth. A second team could be very competitive in these tournaments, but I think the 1991 Team Canada omissions would be considered the greatest group of players not to play in the tournament.

The 1991 Canada Cup roster:

D

Paul Coffey

Pittsburgh Penguins

D

Éric Desjardins

Montreal Canadiens

D

Al MacInnis

Calgary Flames

D

Larry Murphy

Pittsburgh Penguins

D

Steve Smith

Edmonton Oilers

D

Scott Stevens

New Jersey Devils

D

Mark Tinordi

Minnesota North
Stars

F

Shayne Corson

Montreal Canadiens

F

Russ Courtnall

Montreal Canadiens

F

Theoren Fleury

Calgary Flames

F

Dirk Graham

Chicago Blackhawks

F

Wayne Gretzky

Los Angeles Kings

F

Dale Hawerchuk

Buffalo Sabres

F

Steve Larmer

Chicago Blackhawks

F

Eric Lindros

Oshawa Generals

F

Mark Messier

Edmonton Oilers

F

Luc Robitaille

Los Angeles Kings

F

Brendan Shanahan

St. Louis Blues

F

Brent Sutter

New York Islanders

F

Rick Tocchet

Philadelphia Flyers

G

Ed Belfour

Chicago Blackhawks

G

Sean Burke

New Jersey Devils

G

Bill Ranford

Edmonton Oilers

A pretty solid lineup, but here is a list of Hall of Fame players who did not make that team, so don’t be the fool who later today claims a player isn’t good because he didn’t make
Canada’s World Cup of Hockey team. Canada has incredible depth, and the best players don’t always make the team.

Adam Oates: 28 years old. He had 25 goals and 115 points in 60
games in 1990/1991.
Joe Sakic: 23 and scored 48 goals and 109 points.
Steve Yzerman: 25 when he had 51 goals and 108 points.
Cam Neely. Also 25 when he scored 51 goals in 1990/1991.
Ron Francis was 27 years old. Had 87 points in 81 games.
Joe Nieuwendyk was 24 years old coming off a 45 goal season.
Doug Gilmour was 27. He made it four years earlier but was left off this group.
Mike Gartner made it in 1987, but at 31 years old with 49 goals he didn’t make the cut.
Denis Savard wasn’t named in 1987 or again here at 29 years old.
Glenn Anderson was 30 years old, but didn’t crack the lineup.

**Ray Bourque opted not to play. Mario Lemieux was ill.**

Ten Hall of Fame forwards did not make the team. Head coach Mike Keenan opted for some more defensive-oriented checkers instead. It had many people fired up, but Canada won so it was hard to criticize his choices. Although I’d say Canada won because of their top-end talent, more than who was standing behind the bench.

The crazy part about the ten omissions was how different their styles of play were. Oates, Yzerman, Savard and Sakic were offensive geniuses. Gilmour and Francis were solid two-way players. Neely was a power forward. Anderson a reckless, have-no-fear winger who produced in important games. Nieuwendyk was a pure shooter who had scored an amazing 192 goals in his first four seasons. While Gartner was a veteran speedster who had amassed seven 40+ goals seasons in his first 12 seasons.

When you look at who didn’t make the 1991 team, don’t be surprised if some players not named to Canada’s World Cup team today will end up in the Hall of Fame as well. Canada has so much depth that many great players are left off the team every time the World Cup or Olympics come around.

We can go back to the 1987 Canada Cup and we’ll see some big names missing again.

C

Doug Gilmour

St. Louis
Blues

C

Wayne Gretzky

Edmonton Oilers

C

Dale Hawerchuk

Winnipeg Jets

C

Mario Lemieux

Pittsburgh Penguins

C

Brent Sutter

New York Islanders

C

Mark Messier

Edmonton Oilers

D

Ray Bourque

Boston Bruins

D

Paul Coffey

Edmonton Oilers

D

Doug Crossman

Philadelphia Flyers

D

Craig Hartsburg

Minnesota North
Stars

D

Larry Murphy

Washington Capitals

D

James Patrick

New York Rangers

D

Normand Rochefort

Quebec Nordiques

G

Grant Fuhr

Edmonton Oilers

G

Ron Hextall

Philadelphia Flyers

G

Kelly Hrudey

New York Islanders

LW

Michel Goulet

Quebec Nordiques

LW

Brian Propp

Philadelphia Flyers

RW

Glenn Anderson

Edmonton Oilers

RW

Kevin Dineen

Hartford Whalers

RW

Mike Gartner

Washington Capitals

RW

Claude Lemieux

Montreal Canadiens

RW

Rick Tocchet

Philadelphia Flyers

It is interesting to note Gilmour made the team in 1987 when he was 23, but didn’t make the cut at 27.

Scott Stevens didn’t make it at 23 years old. The following season, 1987/1988, he scored 72 points in 80 games and was a dominant physical force.

Al MacInnis was also excluded at 23 years old despite scoring 76 points in 79 games in 1986/1987. He was named to the tournament all-star team in 1991.

Denis Potvin was considered too old at 33.

Denis Savard was a spry 25 years old and scored 40 goals and  90 points in 1986/1987. The next
year he had 44 goals and 131 points, but he was never part of Canada’s best team.

Francis, Dino Ciccarrelli and Bernie Federko weren’t included in 1987 either.

Some players will be extremely disappointed later today when they aren’t named to Canada’s team and the other seven teams in the tournament, but they should realize many greats before them were also left off of these star-studded rosters.

ONE WEEK AWAY

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TONIGHT

I hope to see many of you tonight at On The Rocks for our 4th annual Karaoke contest. The winner takes home $1000 cash. The finalists have some talent. A huge thank you to Mr. Entertainment for donating all of their time and staff to run the event tonight. It is a great time. Contest starts at 7:15. Tickets available here or at the door.

Recently by Jason Gregor:  

  • Since this is a meaningless tournament, unlike the IIHF and the Olympics, I don’t mind if fewer Oilers were playing. Less chances of injury and the like.

    Also, how much hockey has a player played if they played in the IIHF Tourny, the World Cup, Pre-season and regular season, and playoffs?

    If the Oilers beat the odds and make the playoffs, that’d be a whole lot of hockey for McDavid.

    • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

      How do you think this is meaningless? The Canada Cup/ World Cup has supplied this country with some of the greatest moments in Canadian hockey history.

      • Free Bird

        I agree with nrXic, the composition of teams makes the World Cup look more like a gimmicky exhibition tournament and less like a serious international competition. You have an Under-23 North America team, and a regional European team composed of a random assortment of players, competing against country-based teams composed of those countrys’ best players… excluding top Under-23 players from Canada and the US.

        This World Cup is as official as the Ninety Nine All Stars Tour.

    • Seanaconda

      The world Cup is at an odd time for a tournament it’ll be curious to see if teams benefit from having guys in game shape/already playing real hockey at the start of the season or if it’ll cause guys to burn out. Tbh I’m not sure. I think most guys take a month off and then start training again anyways but I’m sure guys would be allowed to decline if they wanted (like jagr is)

      And playoffs/ iihf you only play one unless you’re knocked out early and even then it’s only a couple games for the iihf world championship.

    • This.Is.NHL

      I’m with you on having less oilers play so there’s less chance of injury, but this years fine with me. Next year though the oilers should decline and focuse on the regular season.

  • Randaman

    Can someone please explain how Giroux (out for 12 weeks after undergoing surgery) gets chosen over Hall? This makes absolutely no sense. I might be a little bias here but I feel Giroux hasn’t exactly been the poster child of success the last couple years.

    I hope Canada chokes on some of their (Babcock favours centres) choices.

    Go team NA

    • Kenny The Rat

      NOt gonna lie, I like the Flyers .. that being said…

      Giroux has the most points out of anyone in the league in the last 5 years. That, plus the NHL owed him one for letting Marty ST Louis cry/weasel Yzerman onto the team last Olys.

      Don’t worry about him, he will carry his weight on that team.

  • Oiler Al

    Hall’s defensive game is not the best, and that’s why he go passed up.Bacock is all defense, that’s why he likes all the centers on the team as they are most often more responsible on the defensive side of the game. That’s probably why some D-men who play a riskier game were passed on.

  • Pritchard

    Hall should b on the team . He’s played well on any Team canada squad he’s been on. He’s proven he can play with anyone…including Crosby. And his 200 foot game has come along ways , and should no longer be an issue or an excuse for omission from the roster. I don’t care at who’s expense he’s on the team. Pick a player. Point being he deserves to b there.