The list has been handed in, the players advised. All that's left now is to head for Italy and go for the gold. Hockey Canada named it's roster for the Turin Olympics today, a list of twenty three names on active duty and three others standing by if needed, a group heavy on experience and featuring few real surprises.
The exclusion of Sidney Crosby has had a few fans chattering all night long, but the backlash against the rapid rise of the Nova Scotian of the last few weeks might have been a hint that he might not get the nod. The impression of the Pittsburgh franchise at the moment is one of a rather divided group, that's something the Olympic team would most definitely wish to stay away from in a short elimination tournament.
Crosby will no doubt get more than enough chances to take part in International hockey over the years to come, with many of the current players in what will surely be their last competition on the international stage, Crosby will be handed a torch just in time for the Vancouver Olympics of 2010.
Todd Bertuzzi and Dany Heatley made the grade and that seems to have a few folks concerned as well, many feel that the different situations the two have been involved in over the last couple of years should have weighed against their participation, the managers of Team Canada obviously saw things a little differently. The inclusion of the two will certainly not detract from the on ice effort, which in the end is pretty well all the folks on Team Canada were probably concerned about.
The goaltending situation looks fairly set, Martin Brodeur, Roberto Luongo and Marty Turco will be the last line of defence for the red and white, with Brodeur expected to receive the bulk of the work.
No one could argue with the selection of Joe Sakic to be the captain of Canada's team, Sakic has long been a participant in the International arena, his quiet leadership will be prove to be a solid choice to help bring together a veteran line up.
The joyous nature of the announcement was overshadowed a bit by the sadness at the passing of Wayne Gretzky's mother Phyllis, earlier this week. Gretzky of course could not attend the announcement today as he was tending to family matters in preparation for the funeral, but he did issue a statement thanking Canadians for their kind words in his families time of sorrow. He also congratulated the successful aspirants to the quest for Olympic gold.
With less than two months to go until the puck drops in Turin, there will be lots of debate regarding the names selected today. The Canoe website has a good number of stories on today's development, available from this link!