Tuesday, April 08, 2008

2008 World Hockey Championships - Coaching/Roster Announcements

Hockey Canada has made a couple big announcements over the last 24 hours (or so) regarding coaching and roster decisions for the 2008 World Hockey Championships.

Yesterday they named the teams assistant coaches; Craig MacTavish, Pat Burns and Mike Johnston.

A couple of notes;

I love the MacT 'hiring' (in quotations because I don't think there's any money exchanging hands). I've never made any secret of my admiration for MacTavish and I think he'll be a nice presence on the bench.

Pat Burns is a bit out of left field but nice to see as Burns' health wasn't looking so hot not long ago. As far as I know this is his first foray into coaching since his cancer diagnosis a few years ago, AND it's his first foray into a Team Canada coaching role since 1987 when he assitant coached the World Junior team. I mean, to say I didn't see this coming would be an understatement, I think I would have predicted Mike Keenan ahead of this fellow. That said, Burns is a 3 time Jack Adams winner, a Stanley Cup winner. Given his coaching record, how will he feel taking a backseat to Hitchcock?

Now Mike Johnston has certainly become an interesting case to me. He's an assistant coach to Marc Crawford in Los Angeles and last year he was also named as an assistant. Given the prevalance of NHL assistant coaches named to help out Team Canada I can only assume Hockey Canada has a lot of respect for this guy (although they also loved Marc Habscheid so make of it what you will). In addition to his Gold medal last year's World Championships, Johnston also:

"... led Canada to a fourth-place finish as head coach and general manager at the 1999 IIHF World Championship, and was an assistant coach at the IIHF World Championship from 1994-98, winning a gold medal in 1997. Johnston is also a two-time gold medal winner with the National Junior Team, winning as an assistant coach in 1994 and 1995." (Hockey Canada)


Now, the roster announcements are VERY exciting and very encouraging for Team Canada. A couple of suprises and some very big coups.

First up, the goaltenders: Cam Ward and Pascal Leclaire. Now, neither of these guys are big suprises, but I would argue they are both Hockey Canada's top choices. Officials knew there was no chance of getting Roberto Luongo, and I would argue they didn't even want him in his current mental state. In post season interviews he sounds absolutely mentally exhausted, and the timing couldn't be worse for him in terms of his private life. I'd say the guy has earned some time off with his family.

Cam Ward won the gold in last year's Worlds, he's won a Stanley Cup, and he's won a Conn Smythe. Still, there is no question Canada's current top two goaltenders are Martin Broduer and Roberto Luongo, and if Cam Ward wants to go to the Olympics two straight World Championship golds would go a long way to convince Hockey Canada.

Pascal Leclaire has just had a stellar year. He finished 24-14-6 on a team that won 34 games total. 9 of those wins were shutouts. If Leclaire had been healthy, the Bluejackets may have actually made the postseason, but his injury list reads like a triage: Hamstring injury, viral infection, neck injury, head injury. Obviously Hockey Canada has made this guy go through a physical, but you have to question his durability.

I belive Garon was a near lock for a place on the roster before his injury, but obviously he is not ready to go. I also thought Dwayne Roloson might take part after last year's success, perhaps he is hurt or perhaps he declined, either way I am a bit disappointed.

On defence we had three players named, one of which I think might be suprise to some people based on my naming criteria, but nonetheless made my shortlist of guys I believed would make the team.

Steve Staios was nothing but an absolute warrior for Edmonton this year, especially over the last three months. Was it in Calgary a couple weekends ago where Staios blocked two high shots in one shift? Every Oiler fan knows what Staios brings to the table but suffice to say he'll be a true leader for this team, he'll play tough and as importantly he brings a wealth of international experince. You heard it right, as Staios played on two gold medal World Championship teams, in 2003 and 2004, (along with a very young Shawn Horcoff, Cory Cross, Anson Carter, Mike Comrie, and last but not least, Ryan Smyth). I felt it was a huge oversight when Staios was not named to the 2005 team, and I felt he would have been a good addition last year. He's an older guy, but what a competitor.

Jay Bouwmeester is another guy who has a chance to star for Canada in 2010. Many of the early predictions of the team (including one by Bob Mckenzie) didn't have Bouwmeester on the team, but the fact is that this smooth skating eagle wingspanned defenceman is an absolute force, and I would suspect he wants to solidify his 2010 position. I remarked many times last year that he should be named to the team, and perhaps the fact that he was skipped over for a single year means he was hurt. He brings an absolute wealth of experince for Team Canada; 3 World Junior tournaments (two bronzes and a silver), two World Hockey Championships (two golds) a World Cup of Hockey 1st place, and the Turin Olympics.

Duncan Keith is a bit of a suprise to me. If asked about Chicago defenceman I would have said Brent Seabrooke. Keith hasn't served Team Canada in any former capacity that I know of, but his roster selection has an obvious reason: look at that ungodly plus minus!! Keith finished the season with 12 goals and 20 assists but he had a +30!! Nick Lidstrom beats him out with a +40, but to put it in perspective, Chicago has a +4 goal differential on the year, while Detroit has a +73 goal differential. Do the math.

Certainly at this point I think there's one obvious disappointment; Where is Eric Brewer? Since the World Junior Championship he has done nothing but win for team Canada. 2002, Olympic gold, 2003, 2004 World Championship Gold, 2004, World Cup 1st place, 2007, World Championship Gold. What am I missing here? He's a guy with a bit of an up and down career but he's always brought his 'A' game to the international stage. Here's hoping he is just undergoing a physical or something like that and is only yet to be named.

Now Hockey Canada also named a smattering of forwards; Nash, Doan, Toews, Roy, and Staal are all explained in my previous Team Canada column, so is St. Louis, a fantastic suprise. Chimera and Meyers are holdovers from last year, and given the job they did I can certainly understand their inclusion. The fact that McClement was not named to the team says to me he's hurt, as he shared an instrumental role on that team as well, however, with his not being named there's one spot left open on the third 'shutdown' line.

I peersonally felt that probably only two of the three of last year's guys would be named, but I thought the third member would be Fernando Pisani. He's had a short year so I felt he would still have some energy, and he's played so well I thought he earned the inclusion. Whether he wasn't asked, is hurt, or declined I don't know, but I think he would have made a great addition to the team.

I also missed the target on a couple of other Oilers. I felt Penner as well as Cogliano and Gagner would be named to the team in some capacity. It seems as if I've missed on all three. I think Ray Whitney is a suprise; not a lot of team Canada experience etc. His 25 goals and Stanley Cup obviously made him an attractive inclusion but I think he perhaps took Penner's spot. Given the inclusion of both Staal, Roy and Toews, Gagner has lost his energy line position, and Cogliano really doesn't fit anywhere either. As I mentioned before though, this could be a side effect of the tournament being held in Canada this year; more veterans are willing to participate so the really young guys lose a spot.

I also missed the mark with Boyes and McDonald. If they haven't been named yet, they probably won't be. A Team Canada edition with no recent Stanley Cup winner suprises me, but that looks like what we have, barring an early exit by the Ducks.

Patrick Sharp is another suprise to me, simply because of his lack of international experience, but like Duncan Keith he has an impressive plus minus. 20 goals with a +20, no question Sharp can play a line on at least two and probably three of the forward lines.

We're still 3 weeks away from the opening game (May 2nd) but now we're starting to see the team take shape.

Doan- Staal- Nash
Whitney - Roy - ???
Meyers - ??? - McClement
Sharp - Toews - ???

Bouwmeester - ???
Keith - ???
Staios - ???



Anonymous said...

Sorry for my bad english. Thank you so much for your good post. Your post helped me in my college assignment, If you can provide me more details please email me.

bondage by my sister stories said...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE Its wrong. This was the friendlyrape scenario she always assumed John capable of, only she assumed he wasonly capable of trying such a stunt in a private setting.
gay incest sex stories
outdoor masturbation stories
gay boys sex stories
erotic movie star sex stories
sex stories post com
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE Its wrong. This was the friendlyrape scenario she always assumed John capable of, only she assumed he wasonly capable of trying such a stunt in a private setting.