State of the NHL: Is Canada being caught up to?
Canada has long been the place where NHL-ers are bred, born, and brought in from. The game the Canadians made popular is, in the Canadians’ opinions, played best by Canadians.
However, is the rest of the world catching up to Canada? I point to the Detroit Red Wings as your answer- YES.Up until recently, a team’s top players were mainly Canadians, either born there or raised and trained there (such as Owen Nolan). Of course, there were a few non-Canadian born stars on the teams even then.
Now look at the Wings.
The top line of Detroit is Brett Hull, Pavel Datsyuk, and Henrik Zetterberg. Hull, born in Ontario, is American trained and plays for the US in international tournaments (again, he’s an American as much as Nolan is a Canadian). Datsyuk is from Russia, and Zetterberg from Sweden. The top line is absent of Canadians.
The top 4 defensemen on Detroit, in order: 1) Nicklas Lidstrom, 2) Chris Chelios, 3) Jiri Fischer, and 4) Mathieu Schneider. Swede, American, Czech, American. If you make the argument (which I don’t) that Dmitri Bykov is a better player than Jason Woolley, you have the top-5 as non Canadians.
In goal, it’s solidly Canadian, with CuJo. Just last year, though, you had a Czech born goalie at no. 1(Hasek), a top-4 defense (Lidstrom, Chelios, Fischer, Olausson) that were not Canadian, and only Boyd Devereaux on the Hull-Datsyuk-Devereaux top line, as Canadian.