| Calling the Team Canada
Several Sharks make the cut
|12/1/13 - By Zack Bodenstein -
There is no doubt that when it comes to the Winter
Olympics, the Hockey event is the most popular and exciting event around the
world. Every four years, the same teams are mentioned as so called
"contenders", with Canada always having the biggest spotlight. When it comes to
the breadth and depth of talent around the world, Canada produces the most and
best quality of talented hockey players around the world, always giving them
tough decisions when they need to name their Olympic roster.
been a debate for the past year, and will continue to go on until the roster is
named on December 28th. Canada suffered a huge blow with the leg injury to
Steven Stamkos, who was believed to be a lock for the team. If he is unable to
go, this sets up another spot for players such as Matt Duchene, Patrick Marleau
and Jamie Benn to get them noticed and on the roster. Underneath here are my
honest and unbiased (San Jose Sharks fan) predictions of Team Canada's final
roster. Again, this is just an opinion based on my knowledge of the game and
whom I feel would best help the team win.
Crosby (C) Pittsburgh Penguins-
I don't think there is much to debate
about this one. When he entered the league in 2005, Crosby was involved in a
huge debate about who the next up and coming player was between him and
Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin. Crosby's consistent dominance has
detached himself from Ovechkin's category, putting himself into a league of his
own. He is a player who everybody is safe saying "The best hockey player on the
planet." Crosby is probably even a lock for the Captaincy position on this
Logan Couture (C) San Jose Sharks-
Obviously there is
going to be speculation with this pick. With Logan playing out west in San
Jose, Steve Yzerman and crew do not get the opportunity to watch Logan Couture
play as much hockey as they would in an east coast player. At age 24, Couture
has established himself as one of the most electrifying young superstars in the
game today. His offensive game lacks nothing, while his defensive game is no
slouch either. Couture plays a terrific 3-zone game, which is an important
aspect to consider while picking this team on the Olympic ice. He blocks many
shots and is a stud on the penalty kill. Logan can be effective in a role with
top scorers such as Sidney Crosby, or a shutdown line with a guy like Patrice
Bergeron. At the end of the day, this kid plays the game efficiently and the
right way, so I definitely think he's under looked and should find his way on
John Tavares (C) New York Islanders-
has established himself a top 5 player NHL player. He has the effect of making
the players around him better, something that not many other players can do. He
helped Matt Moulson become an elite sniper in the game, as well as Kyle Okposo,
who is in the midst of a stellar breakout year. He has the skill and the hockey
sense to be an essential lock for Team Canada. If JT can help young,
inexperienced players find their stride, imagine what he can do with the best
players in the world surrounding him.
Jonathan Toews (C) Chicago
The Blackhaws knew what they were going to get when they
selected Jonathan Toews, a skilled, smart, competitive leader. Jonathan Toews
plays a terrific 3-zone game, forcing many turnovers, with a terrific offensive
upside. Toews was brilliant in the 2010 tournament, and I have no reason to
believe that he won't find more success in 2014.
Steven Stamkos (C)
Tampa Bay Lightning-
Barring a horrific injury on November 11th,
Stamkos had surgery to repair a broken tibia and can be out anywhere from 3-6
months. The best-case scenario is that he is healthy just in time for the
tournament. However, he may not be ready in time, or Yzerman will rest him for
the NHL regular season. Regardless, he'll play if he's healthy. If not, he will
have his name on the roster, a true young superstar who may have emerged as the
top goal scorer in the world.
Ryan Getzlaf (C) Anaheim Ducks-
Getzlaf was part of the stacked 2005 NHL Entry Draft, and he's been a stud ever
since his draft day. His 6'4 and 221 lbs. figure makes him an absolute force on
the puck. He's got a terrific hockey sense as well. He can shoot, pass and
deke. He's a terrific skater and point producer, and to top it off, he's an
effective leader. Getzlaf was great in 2010, and he's reminding everybody that
he's still got plenty of game left in him.
Corey Perry (RW) Anaheim
Playing on a line with Getzlaf, Corey Perry has emerged as a
pure sniper in the NHL. His goal production is slowing down, but he still shows
he can play at around a 40 goal pace consistently. He has lots of chemistry
with Getzlaf, while he also provides a big and gritty body that will come in
hand against teams like Russia and the United States.
(C) Boston Bruins-
With all the talk about point production, Bergeron
does not fit this category. Why put him on the team? There was a lot of
controversy in 2010 when Bergeron made the team. He is an under looked player
due to his lack of point production compared to other contenders to make the
team. Teams will need shutdown players in order to be efficient in the
tournament. Bergeron provides a 3-zone game, skating ability, an incredible
work ethic and faceoff ability. All of these are much needed on a team that is
already filled with a tremendous amount of offense.
Claude Giroux (C)
Claude Giroux is a player who everybody expected
to make this team initially, but they feel as if he's playing his way off of
the team. His Flyers have struggled mightily, and as this is written on
November 14th 2013, Claude Giroux currently has one goal. However, the way I
see it is a learning process. Giroux is coming off of offseason finger surgery.
I don't believe many players would be at full form with a recovering finger.
Giroux's defensive game has taken a bit of a hit, but his offensive upside
makes him a possibility for Team Canada. I believe he is turning things around.
He was responsible for the breakout seasons of Jakub Voracek and Scott
Hartnell. He plays a mean game and he is very competitive. He has not played
his way off of the team, like Eric Staal has, in my opinion.
Duchene (C) Colorado Avalanche-
Duchene plays an electrifying game.
When I watch this kid play, he always amazes me. His work ethic is phenomenal
and his flashiness is like no other. He has fast hands, killer speed and a
quick release. If you have Duchene to play with guys at top end talent, watch
out. He's one of those players who can make something from nothing, making him
elite. It's close between him and a few other names like Marleau, Benn, Kunitz,
Hall and Ladd but Duchene would edge these guys out for the role that he will
play on this team.
Rick Nash (LW) New York Rangers
Nash is a
huge body who competes at a high level. He developed lots of chemistry with
Crosby, a lock for the team, in 2010. Nash currently has a concussion, but if
he can be healthy in time, which he should be, I see no reason to leave him
out. He has tons of speed and a heavy shot that would be crucial to have with
Sidney Crosby as a go to guy and a protector.
Martin St. Louis (RW)
Tampa Bay Lightning-
Not to take anything away from Steven Stamkos,
but St. Louis' leadership and skill set has had a huge impact on the successful
career of Steven Stamkos. Marty led the NHL in points in last years abbreviated
season, still proving that he has a lot of game left in him. This team is
lacking veterans, who I believe are needed to win championships at any level in
any sport. Marty provides speed, a veteran presence, a smart hockey sense and a
quick release. He's a huge competitor and you see it off the ice as well. His
work ethic at his age makes him special, too special to leave off the roster.
Joe Thornton (C) San Jose Sharks-
Ah, the controversy. "He's
too old." "He's a choker." "He's washed up." It's honestly amazing the
criticism that Joe Thornton gets from the hockey world. Joe is a competitor who
brings it to the rink every single night. He's a top faceoff man in the league,
and he's arguably the best playmaker of his generation. Joe Thornton is 34
years old and still going strong, leading the NHL in assists. His incredible
performance is under looked by the fact that he hasn't led the Sharks to a
Stanley Cup yet. When in reality, Joe Thornton is probably the best playoff
performer the Sharks have had in their nine consecutive playoff appearances.
Joe makes everybody around him better, a huge threat on the powerplay with a
big ice surface. His speed concerns me a bit, but he would be a great fit with
2 fast players such as Duchene and St. Louis. Joe also gives the team another
veteran, crucial for a gold medal. He can be used in all situations, but it's
important not to overwork him. His passing range on a wide ice surface makes
him an absolute force. He's debatably one of the smartest players in today's
Eric Staal (C) Carolina Hurricanes-
Staal's production this season has not been up to par, but the reality remains
that he's a dominant, big bodied centreman that can move his legs and bring his
game to another level in the clutch. He won a Stanley Cup in 2006 and he was
great in the 2010 Olympics. He may have to fight for a roster spot, but for now
I'll put him as a reserve.
Chris Kunitz (LW) Pittsburgh Penguins-
has emerged as a top goal scorer in the NHL. He and Sidney Crosby have
developed a substantial amount of chemistry over his years in Pittsburgh.
Kunitz is also a very gritty and hard-working forward. He's a great player to
have on the roster, based on his versatility and compete level.
Duncan Keith (D) Chicago Blackhawks-
Keith has recently won
two Stanley Cups. He is the best left-handed shot on defense that Canada has.
Keith is all but a lock for this team on defense. He moves the puck extremely
well and has a great scoring touch as well.
Shea Weber (D) Nashville
Weber has always been known as an absolute force on the
blue line. He has a killer shot, shot blocking abilities and bone crunching
hits. He can do it all. He's a great fit for this team because he provides a
great offense game and an even better defensive game.
(D) St. Louis Blues-
Alex has really emerged as a top defenseman in
the NHL since being drafted. He skates very well, shoots well and is a great
puck moving defenseman. He essentially has all the tools to be the next great
defenseman in hockey.
Drew Doughty (D) Los Angeles Kings-
Drew Doughty has worked himself into the elite category for NHL defenseman.
He's a fast puck mover with a quick and hard shot. He's extremely good at
getting away from forecheckers and using his hands.
PK Subban (D)
PK is a special player. He can go end to end with
the puck at any given time. He is a straight up competitor. His attitude and
hot temper does sometimes get the best of him, but if this guy is focused on
hockey, he is probably the most electrifying defenseman on the roster. He's got
a bomb of a shot and amazing skating ability. My only concern is that he leaves
his defensive responsibilities behind him. If so, this is where my final
defenseman comes into play.
Marc-Edouard Vlasic (D) San Jose Sharks-
Who? Why? Vlasic has always been known as a stay at home defenseman,
but now he's emerged into much more than that. He's taken on a huge hit for ice
time, becoming San Jose's most efficient shut down defenseman. With a
tournament filled off offensive talent, Vlasic provides the important defensive
aspect of the game. His offense isn't too shy either, as he has 11 points in 18
games this season. If Subban decides to take a rush, Vlasic will always be
there to back him up. He makes all the right decisions on defense, and jumps up
on offensive chances when appropriate. He's got a terrific hockey sense, great
puck moving ability, an offensive upside and he's a shot blocking machine. Team
Canada lacks left-handed shooting defense, so Vlasic plays a key role on this
team for many reasons.
Brent Seabrook (D) Chicago
Seabrook has tremendous chemistry with Duncan Keith, and
they proved to be a great pairing in Vancouver 2010. Seabrook could provide
some much needed depth on the Canadian roster.
Jay Bouwmeester (D) St.
Again, a left-handed shot who has a lot of chemistry with
Alex Pietrangelo. He's a great depth defenseman and his offensive upside is
starting to show this season.
Price (G) Montreal Canadiens-
Carey Price is the best goaltender on
the roster. Despite a weak finish to the regular season and playoffs last year,
Carey Price is one of the most consistent goaltenders in the world. Every night
he brings his A game to the rink, so you know what you're going to get.
Mike Smith (G) Phoenix Coyotes-
I've got to say, he's proved
me wrong. After an incredible 2011-2012 season, I thought he was just a fluke.
Last year he wasn't great, so I thought I was right about him. This year, he's
been stellar and he's more than capable of beating out guys like Holtby and
Crawford of a spot on this team. My only concern is that he needs to come out
of his net more and cut off angles for shooters, especially at the Olympic
Roberto Luongo (G) Vancouver Canucks-
Leading them to
a 2010 gold medal, it is believed that the starting goalie job is Luongo's to
lose. He provides experience and his skill set is still very high. However, he
has the reputation that he can't come up big in the big games, which he will
have to do to be the starter.
FINAL TEAM CANADA LINEUP:
Contact Zack at at firstname.lastname@example.org
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