Thursday, April 24, 2008

Team Canada World Hockey Championships: The Dream Team

Some more roster announcements today (some last night) from Hockey Canada; Edmonton Oilers' players Mathieu Garon and Sam Gagner were both announced as extras (Garon as the 3rd goalie and Sam Gagner as the 14th forward), a surprise to myself as I initially had them on the team, and when they weren't announced with Staios' addition I assumed they missed their chance. Nice to see both guys go, especially as an Oiler fan.

Now, also named were a couple of guys I hoped would stay home (damn their patriotism!) Both Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza were named to the team, and despite their embarrassing playoff performances, I truly hope they make me look like a fool for counting them out. Heatley has been very disappointing in recent team Canada outings (World Cup 2004, Turin 2006) but he has been absolutely terrific for Team Canada in the World Championships. His 2004 World Championship performance was particularly dominating, leading the tournament in goals and points, and winning tournament MVP en route to a gold medal.

Right now a concern of mine is ice time distribution. Who is the top line? This roster bosts Nash, Doan, St. Louis, Staal, Spezza, Heatley, Roy, and Getzlaf. Oh, and Jonathan Toews. Who is the 3rd line? What is everyone's role? I still feel the mentality of rolling 4 lines without any real roles was a massive issue in 2006 because all those players are used to 20+ minutes a game. This could become a real issue as the tournament roles on. A nice problem to have I guess, but a potential problem nonetheless. Is this a playoff roster, or an all star game roster?

As expected, Brett Burns and Dan Hamhuis were named to the team, as well as surprise addition Ed Jovanovski. Jovanovski is a guy who when he is on, he is ON. I feel that he's represented Canada very well and that he was missed in 2006, good on him for going. Flames fans should be very excited to see familiar face Mark Giordano was added as the 'extra' defenceman, (boy, glad we got rid of that loser!)

This makes for 6 defenceman, so I would expect one more will be named. I still would not be surprised to see Robyn Regehr, and his naming could be delayed as he undergoes physicals or mulls over the decision. Dion Phaneuf has turned the team down and that's ok because he's probably distracted with other things. I would be too.

Rounding out the group being named are Ryan Getzlaf and Chris Kunitz. I expect Kunitz will center Chimera and Meyers while Getlzaf will play on one of the top two lnes.

One thing I'll say about this team; It's probably the deepest and most talented group I've ever seen go over, that includes the 2005 edition with all the locked out NHLers. The defence is a bit unknown and a bit young, but on paper this is a hell of a team.

Doan - Staal - Nash
St. Louis - Spezza - Heatley
Chimera - Kunitz - Meyers
Toews - Roy - Whitney

Bouwmeester - Jovanovski
Hamhuis - Keith
Staios - Burns


(mini update: There are some reports going around that Whitney has an ankle injury, so that might sort out the 13th forward issue we're seeing right now).

update #2 Friday 25 8:40am: Robyn Regehr will not be attending the IIHF World Championships. I'm 90% sure he wasn't even asked, which IMO is a massive oversight by team Canada. For shame.

update #3: Mike Green from the Washington Capitals has been added. I think a good choice, more than anything Green will be there for the PP and occasional even strength spot duty. He lead all defenceman in scoring this year with 18 goals.


walkinvisible said...

after the tournament they had together last year, i was sortof surprised to not see lombardi on there anywhere.... and by 'sortof' i mean utterly (and keep checking back to see if there's been an error)...

is lombo too bruised to go, or did he seriously get snubbed like regehr ?? iggy ??

therealdeal said...

I thought I heard on the radio yesterday that he was asked but declined (along with Iginla, Langkow Dion), something about all their wives being pregnant (except for Dion).

Looking at the roster though, it seems as if team Canada had more 'first choice' guys, and when I say that I'm talking about big name guys. Lombo probably would have been more effective than Spezza, but this is a really big Olympic test and Lombo I think simply isn't on the radar.

I still can't believe Regehr wasn't asked.

walkinvisible said...

maybe regehr's pregnant....

therealdeal said...

As reported by the Herald, Dion and Iginla are family issues, Lombo was injury.

Regehr: pregnant.

MetroGnome said...

Im really hoping to see some of Giordano during the tournament. It's somewhat impressive he was simply chosen for the roster, but it'd be nice to see if he's progressed at all during his time over seas.

therealdeal said...

MG, Canada loves to take a guy who's had a good year in Europe and slot him into the roster, so I have high hopes. Jamie Heward, Cory Murphy, Glen Metropolit etc.

I think it says a lot that we wouldn't offer him a one way contract yet he makes a very deep Team Canada blueline (albiet as a reserve forward).

But we knew that already, didn't we?

I thought he looked good in the exhibition games for whatever it's worth.