Friday, March 07, 2008

Keeping an eye out for May and maybe beyond!

Canada plays host to the World this spring, as the World Hockey Championships arrive on Canadian soil for the first time in their 100 year history.

Team Canada opens up its training camp in late April with the first game of the tournament set for May 2nd in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Steve Yzerman and Luc Robitaille have been tapped as two thirds of a trio to oversee the creation of the Canadian team. A squad that Hockey Canada hopes will lay claim to the championship on home ice, something that hasn’t happened in seven years now.

But while Yzerman and Robitaille will be getting the high profile appearance time once they get a little further along in the NHL season, the early work is being taken care of by Doug Armstrong, the former Dallas Stars executive who is already compiling potential lists for the team in his capacity as assistant GM.

Armstrong and Robitaille will be offering guidance and suggestions for the head boss Yzerman, crossing off potential players as the NHL playoffs move forward, adding those that are no longer in the hunt for the Stanley Cup and tracking those that go into the first and second rounds, just in case.

Chris Johnson of the Canadian Press provides an interesting look into Armstrong’s day to day routine, tracking his work as he prepares to pare down his short list for Yzerman’s consideration.

The article paints a good working relationship between Armstrong and his boss, and highlights in glowing terms many of the points that most everyone mentions that has had dealings with Yzerman. Comparing him to Bob Gainey, with a quiet but dedicated manner and studios knowledge of what he wants to put on the ice and how they plan on going about it.

An added bonus for Team Canada’s management this year, beyond the prospect of playing for the home folk, is that in a way this team could very well be an audition squad for the 2010 Olympic roster.

Show your stuff in May of 2008 and you could very well find yourself going for gold in February of 2010, a nice little carrot that Team Canada can dangle as NHL teams find themselves leaving the Stanley Cup pool but still looking to end their personal season on a high note.

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