Stevie Y The Classiest Ever?
Steve Yzerman decided last Sunday that he would not be playing for Team Canada in Turin. Given that the NHL’s longest serving Captain, who was guaranteed a roster spot, declined (as he did for the World Cup last year), this leaves an extra spot on the team for a younger player to join the ranks of Sakic, Iginla, etc. Will this spot go to a younger player like Crosby, Staal or Spezza, or will we see another veteran like Smyth?
There have been A LOT of people predicting teams in the recent past. There has also been a lot of discussion about who should be there and who shouldn’t. Personally, I think that the team that Gretzky, Kevin Lowe, Steve Tambellini, Marc Habscheid, Jacques Martin and Pat Quinn will be stacked in all three areas and will compete for the gold medal. In all honesty, there are enough quality players to make two Canadian teams and have both be good enough to be legitimate medal contenders.
As I have yet to add my $0.02 as to whom Canada will bring, I’ll make them here:
Jarome Iginla – Joe Sakic – Martin St. Louis
Dany Heatley – Jason Spezza – Simon Gagné
Brad Richards – Vincent Lecavalier – Alex Tanguay
Ryan Smyth – Joe Thornton – Chris Draper
Chris Pronger – Rob Blake
Wade Redden – Scott Neidermayer
Ed Jovanovski – Robyn Regehr
Extras (1 D-man, 1 Forward):
Forward: one of: Todd Bertuzzi, Sidney Crosby, Paul Kariya (depending on how well he’s playing at the time), Patrick Marleau, Rick Nash (depending on injury), Keith Primeau, Mark Recci, Eric Staal or Steve Sullivan
Defenseman: one of: Scott Hannan, Brian McCabe or Dion Phaneuf
In all honesty, think the extra D-man is a lot easier to go with, and I’d probably go with Phaneuf at this point. To Toronto fans that will respond with the likes of “How can you not take McCabe. He’s the best offensive defenseman in the league!”, well, here’s my pre-emptive response: Sure, he’s great offensively, but I just don’t think his style of defense is what it takes to win tournaments. To answer the +/- comments bound to arise: the fact that he’s leading the league in points (by defensemen) and that his +/- is near average is a testament to the fact that he’s not all that great defensively.
As for the extra forward, it’d likely be the one that is best performing by the end of the month (on that note, some of the extras might end up being shifted in to the actual lineup with these players being shifted out). It’s just so hard to predict who’ll make it when the talent pool is so DEEP!