Monday, December 12, 2005

Who to pick, who to pick?

While Canada’s junior team goes through its selection camp and the coaches work on their short list for a final line up, there’s one person glad for the change of spotlight for a few days.

Wayne Gretzky who is responsible for Canada’s Olympic team is probably thankful that the Juniors are taking some of the public’s heat for this week. Gretzky has to name his roster on December 21st and there’s no shortage of arm chair GM’s ready to share an opinion or two.

The folks at Canoe have solicited the wisdom of a current NHL GM, who remained nameless in order to offer up his selections for Turin. The Canoe GM offers up a few surprise selections for Canada’s Olympic squad. Starting with a starting goaltender named Marty. The unknown would pencil in Marty Turco as the guy to take the load when the Canadians arrive in Italy. With Martin Brodeur having an up and down year so far, the mystery GM feels that Turco would be a more than fitting number one selection. This would leave Brodeur to be the number two guy with Roberto Luongo along for insurance purposes.

On the blue line the GM recommends that Scott Niedermayer, Chris Pronger, Ed Jovanovski, Wade Redden and Robyn Regehr set up shop in the Team Canada defensive end. To help them out he suggest adding Rob Blake and Dion Phaneuf the Calgary phenom who has had an amazing debut year in Calgary. It would be a courageous Gretzky if he would take a gamble on a rookie on the blue line, but you really can’t argue with the way Phaneuf has played so far, add on his International experience with the Junior program and you can see the wisdom of the idea.

On the front lines Joe Sakic, Vincent Lecavalier, Joe Thornton, Brad Richards, Martin St. Louis, Simon Gagne, Jarome Iginla and Dany Heatley are all pretty well sure bets for inclusion on the Canadian roster. This leaves the Team with five spots to fill. The Unknown GM has a short list of five that he feels will make the difference when in the Red and White. Kris Draper, Todd Bertuzzi, Jason Spezza, Eric Staal and Sidney Crosby all were given the nod to go over the boards for the country. The three young guns have been attracting a lot of attention of late, and most observers figure that two of the three are most likely ready to make the jump. Our unknown GM decides that all three will make an impact.

By skipping over such players as Shane Doan with Phoenix and Bryan McCabe with Toronto, the unknown GM avoids a problem that Gretzky and Quinn will have. Both play on the coaches respective teams, it’s going to be a very hard decision to have to tell a current player on the league team that he’s not up to the standard for the Olympics.

That’s why they took on the jobs they did, to take on the responsibility to make the big decisions when the time comes. But unlike our Unknown GM, they have nowhere to hide once they put that list up on the dressing room wall!

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