So the Hockey Canada has sent out it’s invites to who they consider the best of the best of Canada’s NHL talent. The list has some hits and some fairly major misses in my opinion. Let me break it down for you.
Roberto Luongo, Carey Price, Mike Smith, Brayden Holtby and Corey Crawford.
Hits: I am not Bobby Lu’s biggest fan but he bailed out Brodeur, and our Country’s ass, in the 2010 Olympics and kept us in medal contention so you can’t not pick him. Price didn’t have the best year last year but he’s been solid in the past. Holtby is young but when he’s hot he is sweltering.
Misses: Crawford won the Stanley Cup so I can understand the invite, but… I’m not sure he’s ready for the pressure of a Nation. And as for Smith. He is much too much of a diva and a baby to be of any value to Team Canada. His flopping and tantrums will go over like a lead balloon in an international setting. Also, I feel like Cam Ward should have gotten an invite. Yes, he was injured last year but he is still a stronger choice than Smith.
Patrice Bergeron, Jeff Carter, Logan Couture, Sidney Crosby, Matt Duchene, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Getzlaf, Claude Giroux, Taylor Hall, Chris Kunitz, Andrew Ladd, Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand, Rick Nash, James Neal, Corey Perry, Mike Richards, Patrick Sharp, Eric Staal, Jordan Staal, Martin St. Louis, Steven Stamkos, John Tavares, Joe Thornton, Jonathan Toews.
Hits: Anyone on the 2010 Gold Medal winning team deserves a callback (Toews, Nash, Getzlaf, Bergeron, E Staal, Perry, Thornton). I can’t deny they’ve gotten us there before… even though I am not a fan of Perry, Gretzlaf or Thornton. New additions that I am ecstatic about: Jeff Carter. I have really and truly fallen in love with the way he plays. He’s got grace, percision and size. Kunitz is another great choice. He is a sniper and paired with Crosby, especially, he is a goal-scoring-titan. James Neal. He’s brilliant, the end. JORDAN STAAL. Why is he in all caps? Because he is JORDAN STAAL. His transition year in Carolina was less than stellar but I have faith that shorty-scoring beast from the Penguins is still in there and ready to re-emerge. Plus he’s won with his brother before, on a Junior level. I’d love to see it again. Stamkos and Giroux are also strong and obvious choices… on paper. (More on that in the misses…)
Misses: Brad Marchand. He is not that good. And more importantly, he is the exact opposite of everything that is suitable to Olympic-style hockey. His cheap shots, ignorant attitude and genuinely violent style is not something I want associated with our Country on this stage. I honestly don’t think I can cheer for a team with him on it. Not even kidding. Other choices that leave me lacking: Milan Lucic (for very similar reasons as Marchand) and Couture, who I think is yet to actually prove himself in a pressure situation. Also, I adore Claude Giroux and his skills are unquestionably excellent, however, he and Crosby hate each other. I might be thinking like a “chick” here but are these two actually going to be able to play together? If not, I pick Mr. Golden Goal. Also leaving off Jarome Iginla after he set up the game winning golden goal, from his effing knees no less, is a travesty. Nothing short of a travesty.
Karl Alzer, Jay Bouwmeester, Dan Boyle, Drew Doughty, Mike Green, Dan Hamhuis,Travis Hamonic, Duncan Keith, Kris Letang, Marc Methot, Dion Phaneuf, Alex Pietrangelo, Brent Seabrook, Marc Staal, P.K. Subban, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Shea Weber
Hits: Pretty much the whole list. Even though I can’t stand playing against Keith, Seabrook, Subban and Weber I know they’ll be assets to my Country’s team. And I know, unlike Marchand and probably Lucic, they won’t embarrass us. I’m particularly happy about Letang and Hamhuis as I think Letang’s offensive defense and Hamhuis’ solid, clean defense is exactly what we’ll need. And yeah, the fact that Marc Staal’s inclusion means 3 out of 4 Staals could be on the Olympic Team makes me giddier than a Belieber at a Justin concert. I am a Staal groupie and proud of it.
Misses: I would have liked to see Kevin Bieksa, but maybe that’s just the Canucks fan in me. I think he was worth a chance.
If I was picking the final roster
The 2014 Socchi Olympic Team Canada Men’s Hockey Roster would be… drumroll….
Three Goaltenders: Roberto Luongo, Starter. Carey Price, Backup. Corey Crawford, 3rd.
14 Forwards: Jonathan Toews, Sidney Crosby, Chris Kunitz, Jeff Carter, Patrice Bergeron, Mike Richards, Jordan Staal, Eric Staal, James Neal, Claude Giroux, Steven Stamkos, Rick Nash, John Tavares, Martin St. Louis.
Eight Defensemen: Kris Letang Dan Hamhuis, Drew Doughty, Alex Pietrangelo, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Dan Boyle and Marc Staal for the STAAL TRIFECTA!
So what are your thoughts? Who do you think got missed? Who do you think, from these invites, should make the team?