Everyone has been doing their analysis on team Canada so I decided to do one also. Now that the world juniors is over, congratulations to the USA for winning, all international hockey eyes focuses on the Olympics. Here are my line ups would be and I doubt the fourth line would be used as if playing NHL game where they only used for 5 minutes they would get their fair share of time.
Nash – Crosby – Bergeron
Heatley –Thornton –Marleau
Morrow – Richards – Iginla
Perry –Getzlaf – E. Staal
Niedermayer – Pronger
Weber – Boyle
Seabrook – Keith
I see the two young players being the 13th forward and 7th defenseman but still will be used quite a bit. If you are wondering why I have Bergeron playing with Crosby and not Iginla it is because of their world junior experience together and playing well together. Also ignla is a great two way forward whom uses his body well and can be used as a third line player that can defend and also score. Nash would complement the top line very well with his size and scoring capabilities. The Sharks line obvious why they would be together as a line, you could probably pick a few more players you would want to replace Marleau with but you cannot deny the fact he is playing well with Heats and Jumbo Joe. We just got to hope Heatley won’t complain that he is not getting first line minutes, all jokes aside he is a great player. The third line could be one of the best shutdown lines with strong scoring capabilities. Morrow makes it being h e is a winger and Canada short of natural wingers. Morrow is 9th in the NHL with hits right now with 131 hits in 42 games. Some people could say J. Staal should have made it instead of M. Richards and they would have a valid point, he won’t bring as much scoring to the line but bring a better defensive game and be better on penalty kill. While the fourth line which could also easily be the second line should also be a strong line with the two ducks Getzlaf and Perry and having E. Staal on the wing. All three players coming from teams near the bottom of their conferences, but Getzlaf and Perry almost point a game, Getzlaf in 42GP 11 G 33 A 44 +4 Pts; Perry 45 GP 18G 27A 45Pts. While Staal had a slow beginning to the season but has been heating it up as of late, in 31 GP 9G 19A 28Pts. I am most anxious to watch Getzlaf at the Olympics being you do not see much of him in the east.
Now to the defense probably one of the areas where people feel could have been better. Pretty much Niedermayer, Pronger and Boyle were locks to make it from the beginning. Pronger and Niedermayer most likely would team up together being they played together in Anaheim and played well together. Niedermayer is -11 right now and hopefully steps it up during the Olympics and playing with a better team would help that also. Weber and Boyle would be a good pairing because Boyle likes to pinch and Weber can defend well, while Boyle pinches and has a heavy shot from the point. Seabrook and Keith would be paired together of course and they play very well together both are very good at the defensive side of the puck while also at the offensive side. Keith in 46 GP9 33A 42 PTS +16; Seabrook 44GP 3G 17A 20Pts +22 122 Hits, Seabrook also has a great slapper. Keith and Seabrook can be a great shutdown pairing for team Canada. Doughty is young but has been playing amazing hockey, he has the second most points in the team in 46GP 9G 25A 34Pts +8 80 Hits. He is very versatile and can be used in many situations. At the end of the tournament all of Canada will see how valuable he would be to Canada. I will get to the defense they let off a bit later in the article.
The goalies were pretty much set and obvious from the beginning. So won’t get much into it. Starter would be pretty much for Brodeur to lose. Most likely be his last Olympics and he would be handing the reigns to Luongo or Fleury. Brodeur been playing great this year and if translates to the Olympics Canada should be good in nets. The backup job could be up for grabs between Luongo and Fleury. I would give it to Fleury because he has more experience in meaningful games known as the playoffs.
There have been a few key omissions of course being Canada has plethora of great players. I will focus on the top omissions because this could take forever if I speak about all the players which could make it and did not.
I will first start with forwards:
Jeff Carter – 44GP 16A 21A 36Pts -1 29 Hits – To go with the theme of players playing together Carter and Richards play together on the same line on the power play. Jeff Carter has always stepped it up when he has played it internationally for Canada such as in the world juniors where he was amazing. I think he will play well with Richards and he’ll throw a lot of shots on net. Lately he has been playing great picking up 8 points in 6 games. He has been showing his playmaking ability lately which can be useful for team Canada. I see him as one of the next call ups if a forward goes down.
Jordan Staal – 47 GP 13G 16A 29Pts +11 64 Hits – He is not a player whom will be putting up the points but he is a player which will always think of his defensive end and be great penalty killer. He is one of the best penalty killers in the league, especially in a tandem with M. Richards. He would complement the 3rd line quite well. He is gritty will bring some tenacity to the team.
Steven Stamkos – 44GP 23G 21A 44 Pts -3 – He is young but this year he has been playing very well and playing the best out of the Tampa Canadian trio. He has a very good shot and would be a very good compliment to a line with Thornton or Getzlaf, or would be the 13th forward. I would like to see Stamkos over players such as Lecavalier because he is doing better than him. Also Canada has quite a few playmakers and a scorer would be a better choice.
Jay Bouwmeester – 46GP 2G 15A 17Pts +12 42 Hits - He was one of the key omissions from Team Canada Defensive core. He is a solid defenseman which will sneak into the front of the net for a good chance. This year he is not as offensive as he was last year he will not match his 15 goals of last year being he only has 2 half way through the year. He has projected stats of the year of 3 G 26A and 29Pts which is not close to his last year mark of 15G 27A 42Pts. He is having a better plus and minus year but that is also due to he is playing for a better defensive team. Jay Bouwmeester is an all around good defense man but the seven chosen for team Canada are very good defensively and could all put up points. Comparing J-Bo with Seabrook, Seabrook has the upper hand better points 3G 17A 20Pts +22 122 Hits. Pretty much Seabrook beat him out of the team being they are similar players. Seabrook has the third best plus minus in the league at +22.
Robyn Regehr – 45GP 0G 11A 11 Pts + 0 74Hits – Regehr does not make the team because he can put up points well, he cannot really last goal came two years ago. He would be their because of his defensive play as a shutdown defenseman. If you compare Pronger and Regher, Pronger is just a nastier and more offensively minded version of Regher they pretty much can do the same thing. Keith is another player which can be used a shutdown defenseman he is going to be the Norris winner but for sure nominee. He is also putting up great numbers. Pretty my Regher was not in the team because Keith outplayed him and took his spot.
Mike Green – 43GP 10G 33A 43Pts +20 68 Hits – Yes he is a offensive defensive star in the NHL and puts up great points this year he is at a point a game pace which is better than most forwards. He is an defensive liable player though he would make mistakes in his own zone even though is +20 does not show it being he plays for a good team which scores a bunch of goals. The reason which team Canada did not chose him was because of his defensive play. While they went with a player which does put up quite good numbers but also plays well in all three zones and that is Drew Doughty, 46GP 9G 25A 34Pts +8 80 Hits. Doughty plays a much stronger defensive game meaning he can be used in more situations than Mike Green can. If Mike Green would have made Team Canada probably would be mostly just used for the power play.
There is No real goalie omissions all them which did not make the team would have been the 3rd goalie the ones which had chance to be third goalie were Cam Ward, Steve Mason and Carey Price
My Reserve List
Forwards – Jeff Carter (PHI), Jordan Staal(PIT)
Defenseman – Jay Bouwmeester (CAL) , Mike Green (WAS)
Goalies – Carey Price (MON)
If Morrow, M. Richards or Bergeron goes down to injury I would want Jordan Staal to be the call up because he can handle the defensive game better than Jeff Carter. But if any of the other forwards goes down to injury than I would want Jeff Carter to be the call up.
For defense mainly if Doughty goes down in injury than Mike Green should be the call up if any other of the defenseman than Jay Bouwmeester should be the call up. If any goalies go down then the call up would be the 3rd goalie and I would want a young goalie to be called up to get the experience and I would chose Carey Price because he is young and he is getting better and soon enough he will be a great goalie, and has the best stats than the other three.