Big Picture Getting Clearer
Canada’s “Orientation Camp” which ended last Friday provided on lookers a glimpse of what could be the final team this February. Three seperate reports from three seperate newspapers basically agree on what the final roster will look like, based soley on last week’s camp.
First off, the three reporters who’s reviews I am using are: Pierre Lebrun of the Canadian Press, Robin Brownlee of the Edmonton Sun and Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province.
It was unanimous that Patrick Roy deserves to be the #1 goalie with the #2 spot to be filled by either Cujo or Brodeur.Lebrun points out that “the difference might be that Brodeur (29) will be around for the 2006 Olympics while Cujo (34) will not. Brodeur will be angry enough that he’s not #1 after being Roy’s backup in Nagano and not playing a single game. Gretzky and company risk losing his loyalty down the road by making him the No. 3 goalie for Salt Lake.”
The top three defensive spots are occupied by Blake, Niedermayer and Pronger. Al MacInnis and Eric Desjardins were unanimously picked to join them. The last two starting and the final spare blueline spots will fall to these three players: Eric Brewer, Adam Foote and Ed Jovanovski. Brewer was the best young defenmen at the camp while playing along side MacInnis, his probable partner in February. On the outside looking in are Scott Stevens, Wade Redden, Derek Morris, Jay McKee and Richard Matvichuk.
There are only 8 spots still available on the forward lines after Sakic, Kariya, Nolan, Lemieux and Yzerman nailed down the first five. It looks like Eric Lindros (if healthy) will be the #2 center. Keith Primeau will line up next to him. Ryan Smyth had, reportedly, “the best performance of anyone at the camp and is now considered a lock”. Theo Fleury earned a spot, as did Mark Recchi, Mike Peca and Pierre Turgeon. Alex Tanguay took full advantage of Simon Gagne’s absence and turned a few heads. After camp, the odd men out are: Gagne, Brendan Morrow, Brendan Shanahan, Jason Arnott, Anson Carter, Jarome Iginla and Joe Nieuwendyk.
Suggested lines are:
Of course, injuries and performances between now and December 22nd will be the final test. This article is based soley on the reports from the conditioning camp in Calgary last week, at what the writers of those reports have decided since then. My personal opinion is slightly different.