Thursday, December 31, 2009

23 names looking for a little Olympic glory

Steve Yzerman and his cadre of Hockey Canada consorts produced the much anticipated list of Canadian participants at the 2010 Olympic Game Hockey tournament, 23 names with many expected on the list expected while a few will fuel the debate through to February.

The Canadian roster mixes some familiar International hockey names with relative newcomers to the quest for Canada's honour and a stake of a claim of gold.

Only seven of the players named on Wednesday, were part of the disappointment of Turin in 2006 which saw Canada finish in seventh place overall and out of the medals completely, suggesting that a change in team chemistry was on the agenda for Vancouver.

And change it is for 2010, with the rising Canadian stars of the NHL of today set to be showcased in the Olympic tournament.

Steve Yzerman has made a nod to the on ice success of such teams as Chicago and San Jose in the NHL, featuring some high profile players from both teams to form up almost one quarter of his team, four Sharks and three Black Hawks made the cut. The Sharks providing their high flying line of Thornton/Marleau and Heatley to the mix with Dan Boyle on the blue line, while Jonathon Toews joins Chi Hawk defenders Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook on the roster.

From Yzerman's Detroit's vantage point came the inclusiong of three players that perhaps he and Mike Babcock have seen a fair amount over the last few years, as Team Canada added Ryan Getzlaf, Scott Niedermayer and Corey Perry to the list, Niedermayer so impressing the Hockey Canada brass that he was named team captain as part of today's unveiling.

If any city is going to have a vivid debate over the list however, it will be the former Olympic host city of Calgary, where Jarome Iginla makes for the lone Flame on the Canadian roster, leaving many to question the absence of Dion Phaneuf, Dion Phaneuf, Robyn Regehr and Jay Bouwmeester.

Many attribute the season's struggles of the Flames and especially their defence, as the main thought behind the addition of Drew Doughty of the Kings to the Canadian roster, the Team Canada brass seemed to be offering up the thought that Doughty earned his way onto the roster through his hard work this year and the enthusiasm he brings to the ice with LA.

If one particular position is going to be a controversial one in Vancouver, it will be the defense with its nod to youth over the more experienced blue liners in the game today.

The trio of Flames were not the only eyebrow raising moments in the roster announcement, the absence of the Tampa Lightning's Lecavalier and St. Louis, as well as league leader Mike Green of Washington, is helping to keep alive a bit of discussion around the nation's living rooms and watering holes heading into New Years Eve.

When it comes to the net, there were no surprises, with Martin Brodeur, Roberto Luongo and Marc Andre Fleury providing more proof that Quebec is the cradle of goal tending for hockey, if any position offered up restful nights it was most likely goal, where all three of those named today have played well leading up to announcement day. There was no number one named today, Mike Babcock offering up the thought that the team will be watching through January to see who carries the hot hand, but most have already ceded the job to Martin Brodeur, leaving Luongo and Fleury to audition for the second seat on the Team Canada bench.

Still to come will be an indication as to the line combinations and defensive pairings, though we suspect that the nature of the announcements will see whole units or portions of move into the slots on Team Canada.

With the anxiety of announcement day now come and gone, the focus will shift to moulding this collection of Canada's hockey best into a fully integrated unit, one with a singular objective in mind.

That of wearing a gold medal around their necks and joining in on the chorus of O Canada when the Olympic hockey tournament comes to an end.

Globe and Mail-- Meet Team Canada
Globe and Mail-- Yzerman hands team over to the coaches
Globe and Mail-- Lessons learned
Globe and Mail-- The new youth in Canadian Olympic hockey
Globe and Mail-- Babcock shows attention to detail in final picks
Globe and Mail-- What it will take to win gold in 2010
Globe and Mail-- Babcock's first 48 hours
National Post-- Pressure's on for Olympic men's hockey team
National Post-- Team Canada's roster set, Niedermayer captain
Toronto Star-- Next job for Team Canada is making it work
Toronto Star-- Team Canada's youth movement
Toronto Star-- Roster gets thumbs-up from Shanahan
Toronto Star-- Burke lavishes praise on Stevie Y's selections
Toronto Star-- Omissions stun Flames, Bolts
Calgary Herald-- Flames D strikes out on Team Canada bid
Calgary Herald-- Flames D-men forced to watch quest for gold
Vancouver Sun-- Canucks' Roberto Luongo will accept any role with Olympic team
Vancouver Sun-- B.C. blueliners a force on Team Canada defence
CBC-- Niedermayer to captain Canadian team
CBC-- Team Canada's fate rests with returnees

The 2010 Olympic Hockey Squad


Roberto Luongo, Montreal, Que. (Vancouver Canucks)
Martin Brodeur, Montreal, Que. (New Jersey Devils)
Marc-Andre Fleury, Sorel, Que. (Pittsburgh Penguins)

Dan Boyle, Ottawa, Ont. (San Jose Sharks)
Drew Doughty, Ottawa, Ont. (LA Kings)
Duncan Keith, Penticton, B.C. (Chicago Blackhawks)
Scott Niedermayer, Cranbrook, B.C. (Anaheim Ducks) - Captain
Chris Pronger, Dryden, Ont. (Philadelphia Flyers) - Alternate captain
Brent Seabrook, Tsawwassen, B.C. (Chicago Blackhawks)
Shea Weber, Sicamous, B.C. (Nashville Predators)


Patrice Bergeron, L'Ancienne-Lorette, Que. (Boston Bruins)
Sidney Crosby, Cole Harbour, N.S. (Pittsburgh Penguins) Alternate captain
Ryan Getzlaf, Regina, Sask. (Anaheim Ducks)
Dany Heatley, Calgary, Alta. (San Jose Sharks)
Jarome Iginla, St. Albert, Alta. (Calgary Flames) Alternate captain
Patrick Marleau, Aneroid Sask. (San Jose Sharks)
Brenden Morrow, Carlyle, Sask. (Dallas Stars)
Rick Nash, Brampton, Ont. (Columbus Blue Jackets)
Mike Richards, Kenora, Ont. (Philadelphia Flyers)
Corey Perry, Peterborough, Ont. (Anaheim Ducks)
Eric Staal, Thunder Bay, Ont. (Carolina Hurricanes)
Joe Thornton, St. Thomas, Ont. (San Jose Sharks)
Jonathan Toews, Winnipeg, Man. (Chicago Blackhawks)

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