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Canada’s Olympic Roster

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As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, yesterday was the grand unveiling of the Canadian Olympic team, or as everyone in a small town Tim Hortons across our country is calling it THANK YOU LORD FOR SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT.

Talk about pressure for these guys. They have the opportunity to make/break/define their entire careers in about a ten day span. Win and you’re a hero. Lose and we’re making you play pond hockey with cement skates in the Fraser River. And hey – we’re all really interested in who has been picked by what team.  It’s a chance to back someone from Canada and to support them on their way to an Olympic medal. I’m sure some people will already be headed to their book makers or going on party poker and putting money down on who they think will win. Even if you aren’t sure how well Canada will do, give them the support they need to succeed.  Betting is fun. :)

The Roster:

Goaltenders:

Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils
Roberto Luongo, Vancouver Canucks
Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins

Forwards:

Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
Rick Nash, Columbus Blue Jackets
Jerome Iginla, Calgary Flames
Joe Thornton, San Jose Sharks
Patrick Marleau, San Jose Sharks
Dany Heatley, San Jose Sharks
Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks
Brenden Morrow, Dallas Stars
Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks
Michael Richards, Philadelphia Flyers
Eric Staal, Carolina Hurricanes
Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks
Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins

Defensemen:

Dan Boyle, San Jose Sharks
Scott Niedermayer, Anaheim Ducks
Chris Pronger, Philadelphia Flyers
Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings
Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks
Brent Seabrook, Chicago Blackhawks
Shea Weber, Nashville Predators

And like every other Canadian, I have my praise, and I have my gripes.  Here’s the main one of each:

The Gripe:  Scott Neidermeyer over Mike Green

The case isn’t that Neidermeyer isn’t good enough for Olympic hockey, because like countless other Canadian players, he is.  Problem though, is there’s only seven defense spots.

I rock a mohawk.

Neidermeyer, as we know, is a smallish, talented offensive defenseman, who plays a smart game.  What he isn’t, is a tower of defensive presence – he’s responsible, but certainly not tough to play against.

As well as working the powerplay, he transitions the puck well, giving his forwards the opportunity to play in the offensive zone.  In short, Scott Neidermeyers strengths are offensive ones.

My joints ache.

My joints ache. Like, constantly.

If that was something Canada wanted (and it should be – they’ve had their powerplay struggles internationally in the past), then why look past a guy who is possibly the single best offensive defenseman in the world today in Mike Green?

Neidermeyers value as a leader is worth loose change at best, since the team already has 10 or 11 NHL captains wearing the Red, White and Black (with more that could fit the mold - can’t give a ”C” to both Marleau and Thornton right? Or Pronger and Richards.).  They missed a chance to have one of the worlds best quarterbacks out there, and a young one at that, in favour of the romantic notion of Neidermeyer as a staple of Canadian international hockey.

{Probably an unecessary point, but I’ll be the pouting ten-year old and say it: Aren’t Yzerman and Neidermeyer both from Cranbrook?  Hmmm.}

The Praise: Duos

When you try to take guys that’ve played together in the past, you risk ending up with some hobos on your team.  Canada didn’t.

It just occured to me... how can the Sharks afford all that talent?

In a ten day tournament (or however long it is), you hate to spend four games figuring out the nuances of a linemate’s game.  Guys have tendencies, and in those “red button” situations (panic, emergency), it’s nice to know where to blindly throw the puck. 

Often, those little bits of information help transition the puck quickly, or keep possession of it, creating chances and opportunity for your team instead of theirs.  Having that on D is huge - Keith and Seabrook are a mobile, dangerous tandem for any team to contend with.  I love that duo.

Similarly, you have to love having Getzlaf and Perry, the trio of Marleau, Heatley and Thornton, and a number of players that’ve played together internationally before.  There was never any doubt that whoever Yzerman picked was going to make for a great roster, this just helps push it towards being a great “team”.

In the end, one the best points I’ve read was written here, saying that despite all the discussions Canadians are having over question like should we have, say, Bergeron, instead of whoever, what winning really comes down to is your top couple lines coming through when it counts.  You need your performers to perform, and whichever country has their guys peaking that week wins.  They’re all great players.

Winning is neat!

(Though he starts the article in the most ridiculous way, claiming to be “perplexed” as to why everyone is discussing who should fill out the “bottom end” of the roster.  Really, you’re wondering why?  Yeah, fuck it, lets just throw whoever down there, grab Justin Bourne and two friends actually, we’ll just roll three lines”.  Impressive to disrespect three players on every team in one fell swoop.}

Overally, I’m really, really happy with the roster.  I love a guy like Rick Nash getting the chance to play hockey with adults.  It must be so confusing after being a Blue Jacket since he was a fetus.  I bet each year he plays there his vision narrows into more and more of a tunnel shape as he realizes “damn, we’re much better off if I just do this myself…”

So there ya have it folks – the Bourne’s Blog take on the roster.  Now, for the prediction:

Canada to win gold, silver and bronze, then melt down the silver and bronze, cool them into puck shaped pieces of metal, and practice one-timers at the flags of the other countries, all while the medal ceremony is still going on.  And then respectfully shake there hand, eh, and give ‘em some maple syrup and a Labatts Blue.

Comments

13 Responses to “Canada’s Olympic Roster”
  1. Cassie says:

    Apparently – according to Russia, anyways – those rosters are just “provisional” and they can change at any time right up until the Olympics actually start. Talk about causing some problems. Yikes.

    http://www.ctvolympics.ca/hockey/news/newsid=24347.html?cid=PULSE_TW

  2. Deirdre says:

    Spoken like a true Canadian Bourne. I still miss the “Look, it’s a Canadian!” commercials from the early 90′s :-P

    My one issue with the roster would be Eric Staal…of course, as you’ve listed a Carolina Panthers player, maybe that guy is a more responsible player than the one on the Hurricanes :-P

  3. ann says:

    Not that this would be a valid reason for choosing him, but weren’t Niedermayer & Pronger paired together at some point in their tenure together in Anaheim?

    I was very pleased Yzerman chose Keith & Seabrook, for exactly the reasons you mention. Watching a Blackhawks game, it’s clear they are in each other’s head. One knows where the other is all the time. But I was surprised that Bouwmeester was left off as well.

    Cassie, I’ve heard the same thing. That the rosters are provisional and are not set until right before the tournament, so that if a player is injured leading up to the tournament, he’s easily replaced.

  4. Cassie says:

    Ann,

    They’re not talking about injuries, but just swapping out players for players on the roster. Such as, if a player gets hot between now and then that’s not currently on the roster, they can change out a cold player for him. Not due to injury, but due to performance. That’s what the Russian coach was suggesting with his comment.

  5. AiH says:

    Brilliant break down of Scott Neidermeyer versus Mike Green.

  6. ann says:

    I guess “provisional” means something different to the Russians than it does to the other countries. Seems the NHL & NHLPA are looking for some clarification from the IIHF now according to TSN, but according to the same story the IIHF is backing up Russia’s claim that they can make any changes they want up until 2/15. Interesting stuff…

  7. Neil says:

    Like you said, there are only so many spots for an offensive defensemen, and Yzerman said he passed on Green because he disappeared in the playoffs last year and was often a mess in his own end. I don’t watch either player enough to have a valid opinion but Yzerman’s decision for passing on Green was, according to Stevie, based on his belief that Green doesn’t play well in his own end when the games start to matter the most.

    The Prime Minister just shut down parliament for a month because of numerous controversies, including evidence that the government was willingly working with groups they knew to be torturing detainees in Afghanistan, and evidence that higher-ups were telling people who complained to look the other way and keep their mouths shut. I wouldn’t be surprised if the news releases were timed to come out when the Olympic rosters were named…. :o (

  8. Madeleine says:

    Thanks for a Canadian start to the New Year! Can’t wait until the Olympics, though for now I’m content with the World Juniors.

  9. Char says:

    Watching Patrice Bergeron set up Marco Sturm for the winning OT goal vs. the Flyers in the Winter Classic, I said aloud, “And THAT’S why Bergeron is on the Olympic team.” A textbook Bergeron play.

    As for Green vs. Neidermeyer, frankly, I wouldn’t take either one. Canada has plenty of offense. Green may be a good offensive defenseman, but his defense leaves plenty to be desired.

  10. Officer Koharski says:

    I am so bummed for Okposo, he is a better choice than Callahan or Backes. I don’t need to tell you but the kid is a fucking horse, he can just barrel through defenders and kick the puck free, when he is in the zone he creates offense by himself and is as good a setup man as he is ripping shots from anywhere. What a bad, bad decision by Burke. What does he think he’s getting in Backes that he would be missing with KO? Like Botta said it’s clear Scott Gordon didn’t have any say in the matter because if you know anything about the players besides looking at their point totals, Okposo is a clear choice. I would even say he’s more valuable to a team (because of his swiss army-ness) than Kesler.

  11. Tom Curran says:

    No offense to Mike Green, but when you have a choice between him and Niedermayer, where’s the choice?
    Sure Scotts long in the tooth but he has proven at every level in his career that he is a solid player.
    If the Canadians can send pros to Russia in four years, Green will be there for sure as he will have developed into
    a more complete player. Taking him to Vancouver just so he can be on the power play weakens the team overall.
    Having a Captain who has won every championship at every level will be a steading influence on the young boys
    that did get picked takes the pressure off of guys like Iggy who were considered Captain material going in.
    Don’t be surprised if Canada wins the gold and all the players say that the Captain was a calming influence in the locker room and kept their heads in the game! My only gripe with the team is Pronger! sure he is a force on the smaller ice surface, but he is a slow footed sasquatch with a penchant for taking stupid penalties when he is out-played as he will be by the faster teams in the tournament.

  12. Tom Curran says:

    To officer koharski,
    Okposo would be a great choice for the US but don’t knock the contribution a guy like Kessler will bring to that team! The kid plays all out, all the time and will sacrifice himself all over the ice, He has become one of the best 2-way players in the NHL and has a knack for scoring when his team needs it, His penalty killing skills are what Burke picked him for and thats where he got the nod over Kyle I think.

  13. Officer Koharski says:

    Tom: I admit I don’t see a lot of Kesler, perhaps his defensive acumen is what clinched his spot. But KO’s defensive game is pretty damn good, at least as good as Callahan’s and he has the skill and size as a bonus. I only used Kesler as an example because I’m frustrated Burke doesn’t see KO as being on that level. I suppose Backes is a given after scoring 30 and Callahan is there as the sparkplug, it’s just a letdown. Of the wingers I would have Okposo over Malone, maybe Langenbrunner and Drury too since there’s an extra center. It’s true they haven’t been going in for him so far this season but it’s a different situation with a whole new team and scenario.

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