Wednesday, April 25, 2007

2007 Team Canada IIHF World Championship Roster - Disappoinments abound

The final 6 players named to round out Team Canada's roster are:
Colby Armstrong
Matthew Lombardi
Nick Shultz
Jonathan Toews
Chris Mason
Cory Murphy

The two most interesting of the group are Toews (the hero of this year's World Junior Championships for Canada) and Cory Murphy. Murphy played for a team in the Finnish Elite League, and although I don't know a lot about him, but I suspect he is no slouch. Prior to the start of Canada's exhibition game, Murphy was awarded the Top Defenceman Award for the Finnish Elite League. Canada has a history of adding Canadian born European players in this tournament, and oftentimes they serve as a very reassuring presence. They have a familiarity about the international game that NHLers seem to miss. Jamie Heward is a guy that played this role in the past, and he has actually used this tournament as a springboard to a legitimate NHL career (in fact, Murphy has just signed on with the Florida Panthers). Glen Metropolit is another player of that ilk.

Toews was a player added onto the 'practice roster' to fill in missing spots on the team, and obviously the coaches felt strongly enough about his pre-tournament play that he was added to the team. He was playing in between Nash and Doan and looked and that group apparently looked good in Canada's exhibition loss. Apperently, Chicago (Toews' NHL franchise) had been practically begging him to join the team at the end of the year. We shall see how he stacks up against NHLers I guess. I expect him to play on the 3rd/4th line.

Chris Mason is a bit of a coup for Canada. He played exceptionally well this season and last, and I think could play the number one role for Canada. As usual, Canada has an embarressment of riches in net, and I would be pretty comfortable with any of the three goalies starting. I would say Ward is the least likely starter because he had a bit of a sophmore slump and is the youngest, but I think they'll all be evaluated.

Nick Schultz is a veteran of this tournament, and I expect he'll play a 3rd pairing role with Mike Commodore.

Here's the projected lineup breakdown:

Nash - Cammaleri - Doan
Lombardi - Staal - Williams
Meyers - Chimera - McClement
Armstrong - Staal - Toews

Brewer - Jackman
Hamhuis - Weber
Schultz - Commodore



Even though this Team Canada edition looks pretty good, I think there were a lot of disappointments in terms of players turning down Canada. While I can't name names because I don't know the specifics, there are a lot of guys, that, in my opinion, should be outright crossed off the list of 2010 Olympic hopefuls. Team Canada needs to be very explicit that if you want to be considered, you have to attend these smaller tournaments.

In an interview by Dan Tencer, Andy Murray expresses his disappointment:

"The reasons that you gave are not legitimate at all. We've got Shane Doan over here who left 4 children to come over here and he's represented Canada every time Canada's called. The fact that you can't give two weeks to your country makes me shake my head when we're talking about young players. You talk about risk of injury...aren't players supposed to be playing in April and May? I take a look at the Edmonton Oilers...let me tell you, every time you call the Oilers and you ask for a player the team supports it.

Other than a veteran player who has served Canada many times in these situations, there is no excuse. Unless you've got a bone sticking through the skin, I can't see there being an injury that would cause a player not to come...I recognize knee injuries and stuff that players have to have done, too. Some of the reasons we've been given just are not satisfactory." (Source)

Read the full interview here.

Canada's participation in the tournament starts April 28th at 6:15 MST on TSN. The full schedule can be found here.


Black Dog said...

You never know how these tournaments go - (I always follow them - hockey hockey hockey) - but I think this squad might get smoked.

What are your thoughts? Big plus having Murray behind the bench and they have some nice youngsters out there but Horcoff and Smyth would sure help. I don't begrudge either of them not coming though.

I think Toews is going to be a star in the NHL.

Kyle said...

Well, I'll say this BD; The team doesn't have a lot of scoring depth, but Canada's goalies and defence are about as good as it gets.

It's always hard to predict anything in the Worlds, because the team that wins usually isn't the best on paper, it's usually the team that is more than the sum of its parts.

That said, Canada is always a favourite.

Scarlett said...

Yeah it's hard to predict the worlds. Canada always is a favorite and stands a great chance.

I would agree that those who turn down a chance to play for their country need to be put on a list for 2010. It doesn't mean they won't be able to go in 2010, but you keep an eye on those who turn down Canada more than once. I think once is too much. Get your asses over there and play for your country. Asses!