Friday, March 22 by The Hockey Daily
With the 2014 Winter Olympics less than a year away it is time to start speculating who will represent Canada in men’s hockey. As always there are a lot of great players to choose from. Canada could probably field two teams and have a chance at Gold and Silver. That being said, the competition is stiff. Russia, USA and Sweden all have a great shot to win as well.
Pierre LeBrun tweeted yesterday: “Steve Yzerman and Team Canada Olympic management staff met for about 5 hours today in Toronto. Went over player evaluations, etc.”
Although the NHL and IOC have not come to an agreement on NHL players participating, every country’s management must plan and prepare as though the big boys will be there. As fans, we may as well start preparing too.
I’ll list my team Canada to get the ball rolling. I included injured players because this is just for fun, may as well choose from the best of the best.
Carey Price – Montreal Canadiens
Corey Crawford – Chicago Blackhawks
Cam Ward – Carolina Hurricanes
Kris Letang – Pittsburgh Penguins
Marc Staal – New York Rangers
Duncan Keith – Chicago Blackhawks
Brent Seabrook – Chicago Blackhawks
Alex Pietrangelo – St. Louis Blues
Shea Weber – Nashville Predators
Drew Doughty – Los Angeles Kings
Sidney Crosby – Pittsburgh Penguins
Patrice Bergeron – Boston Bruins
Eric Staal – Carolina Hurricanes
Rick Nash – New York Rangers
John Tavares – New York Islanders
Steven Stamkos – Tampa Bay Lightning
Claude Giroux – Philadelphia Flyers
Jonathan Toews – Chicago Blackhawks
Ryan Getzlaf – Anaheim Ducks
Corey Perry – Anaheim Ducks
Jamie Benn – Dallas Stars
Jarome Iginla – Calgary Flames
Jordan Eberle – Edmonton Oilers
Honourable mention goes to:
Logan Couture and James Neal who were considered with Jamie Benn for the ‘under appreciated guy’ spot. All three young stars are far better than they get credit for. I went with Benn because for me, he’s slightly more complete. But it could go either way.
Taylor Hall, Matt Duchene and Tyler Seguin were all considered for the ‘young star’ spot with Jordan Eberle. I chose Eberle because I can’t argue with his history of clutch goals in a Canadian jersey. With Eberle there is a calming belief that he can score that big goal because he has done it before.
Martin St. Louis was hard to leave out. His chemistry with Stamkos is a hugh plus and he still produces at a high level. However, Claude Giroux, Corey Perry, Jordan Eberle and Iginla make the cut ahead of him on my RW.
Iginla just has to be there. He may not be the scorer he once was but he was a member of both the 02’ and 10’ Olympic teams and he’s not washed up yet. His leadership and experience make him a huge asset.
As for defense. I realized quickly that most of Canada’s top defensemen are right handed shots. It was tough to shorten the list to seven but the seven I chose all bring a lot of quality in both ends of the rink, which is important when playing opponents with four first lines in the elimination games. Some righties just didn’t make it even though there are a few that belong on that list.
I chose Corey Crawford as my third stringer over Luongo because I figure Price and Ward are the guys I’d want to start and Luongo has won before. Crawford has earned his right to be on this team. I would even argue Emery has as well.
It should be noted that since NHL players have been playing in the Olympics, North American teams make the finals when it’s hosted in North America (Salt Lake City 02, Vancouver 10) and European teams make the finals when the games are played overseas (Nagano 98, Turino 06).
Every obsessed hockey fan likes to create their own team Canada because it’s fun. If the Winter Olympics were right now, who would you have on your Team Canada? Please list your team in the comments section below. And take your time, Steve Yzerman may be watching.