I’m not sure if this is news or not, but earlier this week, it was noted that there would be no long shots for the mens Canadian Olympic hockey team, when the games hit Vancouver in 2010.
Translation: if you weren’t asked to the 46-man orientation camp later this summer, you have better shot at getting on Megan Fox than you do getting on Team Canada.
OK – This isn’t really news. And I guess its a 45-man roster, now that Joe Sakic has announced his retirement. And not that it helps much – deep down, I think everyone knows their favorite players not on that list stand little chance of making the squad, but that doesn’t mean we have to like it.
I’m disappointed. I’m tired of seeing “seniority placements” in Canadian Olympic teams. That was the biggest problem with the 2006 Torino team. Part of the reason Yzerman was brought in to build this hockey team was to add a fresh feel with younger talent who would make the team better for that tournament and that tournament alone. I always thought one of Yzermans’s underlying mandates was to pick the best team without worrying who’d be offended. As a proud Canadian, I want Canada to win and I don’t care who has to be on and off the team for that to happen.
So if Robyn Regehr has a slow start to the 2009-2010 NHL season, should he really be on the team? Should he really take the place of Shea Weber, Duncan Keith or Brent Seabrook even if he has a strong start to the year? It’s time for change and it’s not like any of the three guys I just mentioned lack international hockey experience.
There will always be guys that are locks to make the team. But that should be because they have consistently shown they can play at world class levels throughout their careers. So when I see names like Ryan Smyth and Joe Thornton on the orientation roster, I have to wonder why. They are great players that I’d love to see on my team any day – but honestly, are they the best players for Team Canada come February 2010?
I’d rather see some of these guys replaced with younger and faster upcoming talent. These are the guys I’d consider seniority placements. First thing’s first: replace Smyth with Brendan Morrow – an absolute must if Morrow is healthy. Next, there are atleast 4 centerman that are more effective than Joe Thornton (Vinny Lecavalier, Ryan Getzlaf, Eric Staal, Mike Richards) and I’m assuming the younger guys won’t make the squad and Sidney Crosby will be playing left wing. And Marc Savard and Jason Spezza are considered ‘long shots’ since being omitted from Yzerman’s orientation list.
As far as defence goes, Regehr, Chris Pronger and Dion Phaneuf shouldn’t make the team. Not when you have players like Weber, Scott Neidermayer, Dan Boyle, Duncan Keith, Brent Burns, Jay Bouwmeester and Drew Doughty who right now, are stronger hockey players for the kind of up-tempo/fast moving style Canada wants to play.
For goaltenders, despite Martin Brodeur being the all time most winning goalie in the NHL ever, I’d like to see Roberto Luongo named as the started. Despite his career achievements, Brodeur’s season last year wasn’t good and ended horribly in the Devils disasterous collapse against the Carolina Hurricanes in the first round of the playoffs. I still think Marc-Andre Fleury should be the third goaltender on the roster.
Please, Steve Yzerman, don’t just pick the team based on who’s been on it before. Let’s see the very best of what Canada can offer at that very moment. Not the best of what once was.
Stay classy, Team Canada.