Monday, January 30, 2006

The Thinning Blue Line

When Team Canada heads for Italy in February they may find that they're heading further and further down the depth chart for defencemen. Ed Jovanovski one of the anchors of the Canadian Blue line has pulled out of the Olympic games to tend to some immediate surgery on his abdominal area.

While the news for Canada is bad, it's potentially worse for his club team the Vancouver Canucks. It's expected that Jovanovski will be out for at least eight weeks, but some are suggesting he may be done for the season. That being said, Canucks GM Dave Nonis has a bit of breathing room in trying to find a replacement for Jovo, the Canadian team does not.

For Team Canada the list of defencemen is getting smaller and smaller each passing day, Bryan McCabe is expected to return to the Maple Leaf lineup this week, should he find his form quickly he may be promoted from the taxi squad to the regular rotation. But considering his time off due to injury of late, will the Canadian team be getting the same McCabe that was burning up the NHL in the first two months?

Another question mark is Scott Niedermayer from Anaheim who will have to decide this week whether he will head in for knee surgery during the Olympic break or take his wonky knee across the ocean to Italy. It's a tough call for any player, but one has to wonder what is the most important aspect to consider here, the need to play for one's country, to make sure you're ready to help out your club team for the playoffs or indeed to make sure that your personal health concerns are addressed above all.

If Both McCabe and Niedermayer join Jovanovski on the Injury list it could open up the roster to a whole new direction. Scott Hannan, Jay Bouwmeester, Dion Phaneuf and Dan Boyle are among many of the potential names being bounced around for inclusion to the Canadian Team at Turin.

It will be a tough decision to make for the Team Canada braintrust, losing the quality play of a Jovo, McCabe or Niedermayer won't be easy to deal with. Someone will need to step up and seize an Olympic moment. The next couple of names we hear could be the difference between gold, silver of happy to be there.

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