Team Canada’s Executive Director Steve Yzerman had 23 roster spots to fill for Canada’s entry in the 2010 Olympic hockey tournament. Given the amount of talent that Canada boasts at a professional level, very few players were guaranteed to have a roster spot. So when the team was announced, there were some of the expected names and a few that came right out of left field. Get the roster and analysis after the jump.
Goaltenders: Martin Brodeur, Roberto Luongo, Marc-Andre Fleury
Defencemen: Dan Boyle, Drew Doughty, Duncan Keith, Scott Niedermayer, Chris Pronger, Brent Seabrook, Shea Weber
Forwards: Patrice Bergeron, Sidney Crosby, Ryan Getzlaf, Dany Heatley, Jarome Iginla, Patrick Marleau, Brenden Morrow, Rick Nash, Corey Perry, Mike Richards, Eric Staal, Joe Thornton, Jonathan Toews
The goaltenders were a foregone solution even before the Olympic evaluation camp kicked off this summer. Cam Ward’s injury early this season made it a certainty.
There were some surprises on the blueline. None of the Calgary Flames trio of Dion Phaneuf, Jay Bouwmeester, or Robyn Regehr was selected despite being popular on many predicted Team Canada rosters. Mike Green led the NHL in scoring last year and is leading the way so far this year but was left off the squad as well. Of the seven blueliners, Drew Doughty is the most surprising name. The second year player earned consideration from Yzerman and company at last year’s World Championships when he picked up his performance as the tournament went along. His play has trailed off slightly since the start of the season but he’s easily the leading blueliner on the Kings. The name Brent Seabrook may be unfamiliar to most Canadian hockey fans but he’s a defensive rock for the Blackhawks this year while Duncan Keith is the offensive leader of the Chicago defensemen.
Of the Team Canada forwards, the inclusion of injury-prone Patrice Bergeron was the biggest surprise. While he is the best player on the Bruins this season, he hasn’t exactly lit up the league since returning from a concussion last season. What he does provide is a steady defensive presence and great faceoff work. Staal doesn’t seem to fit too well on this team, in my opinion. He’s an offense only player, though he does come up big in pressure situations. He’s been the Canes leader in their two playoff runs since the 2006 Olympics. I’m also not fond of the inclusion of Jonathan Towes. He’s a good leader but I think you can get the same offensive output from Mike Richards with better defensive work.
So that’s Team Canada. How do you think it will work out in Vancouver?