Here we go again... The boys are all in town and prediction season is officially upon us as Canadians from all corners of this great country of ours begin the arduous task of trying to figure out what our Olympic team will look like. The fact is when you’re a nation like ours whose history, literally, can be traced along side this game we all love, it doesn’t get much better than this. Nothing seems more exciting than the prospect of proving on the world’s stage where this sport lives was born and where it continues to thrive.
So with a population as dedicated as Canada it is easy to see how there remains no shortage of opinion on the subject. The fact is that when the pool is as deep as it is at every position as Canada’s is it is actually conceivable that Canada could ice two rosters that might potentially bid for gold in Vancouver this coming February. But alas the IOC frowns on countries doing that and so our nation is left with a terrible advantage of having to cut all-world players in order to fill out our roster completely.
And so I come to my own predictions. Predictions that I myself am still rather conflicted about nevertheless I will throw my voice into the white noise of Canadian Olympic speculation. So here it goes:
1) R. NASH - S. CROSBY – J. IGINLA
What’s to say? Two of the very best triggermen in Canada’s arsenal (maybe even the world) paired with the best playmaker of his generation. I don’t see how this wouldn’t give goalies nightmares.
2) C. PERRY – R. GETZLAF – D. HEATLEY
The chemistry between Perry and Getzlaf is evident. Together they make one of the most feared lines in hockey but let’s not forget what Getz and Heater have done together at the worlds. And say what you will about Heatley but he’s a beast in international tournaments and I don’t see how he can miss this one.
3) E. STAAL – V.LECAVALIER – J. CARTER
Ahhh yes! The all center line. Look, there are way too many centers at this camp right now and not everybody is gonna get to play the position they are used to. In my mind these are the three very best options to play a different role at a high level.
4) M. LUCIC – M. RICHARDS – B. MORROW
This is the very definition of an energy line. Tough as nails and they can hurt you in every way imaginable. All three play with killer intensity and will force the other teams heads to be on a swivel at all times. I think Lucic is the next great power forward and I believe he is the best bet for a darkhorse candidate on this team. With the home crowd wildly behind him on every shift I can just imagine watching the other team shrinking up and running away.
5) J. THORNTON
Thornton bugs me. I see this giant, this freak of nature who seems to slow the game down at will, who can seemingly make any pass in the world. Unfortunately I only ever see that when it doesn’t matter. He’s the classic example of a guy who just can’t seem to be able to win you the big games. That being said, I hope he proves me wrong because he’s a force of nature when he wants to be.
I started this list by putting Doan in this spot only to realize I had forgot to put Toews on the list. That seems strange to me as I think Toews has the skill and heart to compete at every level. He could easily fit on any one of these lines and produce at a high level. No disrespect to Doan but if it's a choice between him and Toews I take Toews every time.
1) M. GREEN – S. NIEDERMAYER
A Norris nominee from last season paired with a living legend. Green scored at will last season if he can prove in the first part of next season that he can do it again he will make this team. The prospect of him paired with Scott Niedermayer… you remember him right? Is a scary thought. I believe this pairing has the potential to be, perhaps the most dynamic paring in the history of Canadian hockey.
2) J. BOUWMEESTER – D. PHANEUF
Phaneuf took a lot of heat last year and rightly so. But everyone seems to ‘conveniently’ forget that the guy was nominated for a Norris the year before and guess what… he’s only 24!! The guy will bounce back and if/when that happens he will make this team. Bouwmeester is a lock in my opinion as he may be the best (if not top 3) all around d-men in the game. The two should be paired up regularly in Calgary and you just can’t underestimate familiarity at this position.
3) C. PRONGER – D. BOYLE
These are two extremely mobile and extremely dependable d-men. They are both comfortable in their own end, imposing physically, can contribute offensively and both can take control of a game at any moment.
4) R. REGEHR
It hurts me to say it because I still believe the guy is maybe the best defensive d-man in the game but in a tournament setting where every game could be your last EVERYONE needs to be able to contribute offensively and that’s something I just don’t see reggie doin. That being said, I still say he makes this team in a reserve capacity as he can easily be inserted on any pairing.
5) S. WEBBER
Just a fantastic d-man at both ends of the rink. Maybe top 3 in his age group. He’s a perfect pick to fill the spot of anyone who might go down with an injury (knocks on wood)
1) R. LUONGO
This is Luongo’s chance to solidify himself as the best goalie on earth. I don’t buy the now seemingly trendy belief that this guy can’t play big games. Everyone points to his collapse in game 6 but they all seem to conveniently forget about the fact that he almost single handedly won Vancouver the division and without him they don’t get to game 6. I can hear them chanting “LOooooUUUUUUU!” right now (chills)
2) M. BRODEUR
It’s changing of the guard time but Marty will be there pushing Luongo to new heights.
3) C. WARD
With all due respect to M.A. Fleury and Steve Mason, Cam Ward should get this nod. All the guy has done in his pro career is win big games. The guy is a beast and should be given the opportunity to back up the two main attractions.
So there they are. Like? Dislike? Let me know.
Have a good one,