Team Canada Set to Defend Gold
Yesterday Hockey Canada announced the 25 man roster for the upcoming Winter Olympics. Canada is in the enviable position that it could probably name two (maybe three) rosters that could compete for Gold. So naming a single 25 man team is going to come with a certain level scrutiny of the selections.
Canada’s 25 Man Roster
Goaltenders: Roberto Luongo, Carey Price, Mike Smith
Defence: Jay Bouwmeester, Drew Doughty, Dan Hamhuis, Duncan Keith, Alex Pietrangelo, P.K. Subban, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Shea Weber
Forwards: Jamie Benn, Patrice Bergeron, Jeff Carter, Sidney Crosby, Matt Duchene, Ryan Getzlaf, Chris Kunitz, Patrick Marleau, Rick Nash, Corey Perry, Patrick Sharp, Steven Stamkos, John Tavares, Jonathan Toews
I can’t really disagree with any of the players that Steve Yzerman and his assembled uber-staff chose to name to the team, as they are all certainly deserving. I would however have made some different choices. There are just a couple players that I would have not wanted to leave off my team.
Before I get to that, I am glad to see Jamie Benn and Matt Duchene named to the team. These are two players that were not on many people’s lists early on, Benn even being omitted from the summer orientation camp. In my opinion, and clearly that of Hockey Canada, both offer skills needed for Canada to retain the Gold medal. Benn is big and physical, but has a knack for putting the puck in the net. Duchene is a great skater that is having a career year offensively. Skating will be that much more important on the larger ice surface.
Now for guys I would rather see on the roster. I get that Chris Kunitz is speedy and putting up great numbers alongside Sidney Crosby for the Pittsburgh Penguins, but if I am picking a player like Chris Kunitz I would lean toward Martin St. Louis. St. Louis has proven himself over a longer period and in more immediate time frame was the Art Ross winner last season and has continued despite the loss of Steve Stamkos. While I think Kunitz is still a good hockey player if he didn’t play with Crosby, I couldn’t place him above St. Louis just evaluating them on their own. I’m sure Kunitz will be fine though.
Patrick Marleau was added tot he based largely on his versatility, but I might have went with his younger teammate Logan Couture. Now Couture had surgery to repair an injured hand just prior to the announcement and health might be a consideration but I believe Yzerman when he says that they ignored that as they could have replaced any injured player. Perhaps I keep Marleau and remove Rick Nash who is not having a great season, but Nash has a history of being great for Team Canada.
Again, I would not pretend to have the hockey knowledge that the selection committee had, and I think they put together a great squad. I just would have liked to see these tweaks.