One question that looms over the Canada hockey right now is, Who will be the Captain in Vancouver? Who will lead the Canadians to Gold? Or better yet, who CAN lead them to the gold?
Let’s look at the list of suitable candidates.
Jarome Iginla: Iginla represented Canada at the last two Olympic games in Turin and Salt Lake City. He wore an “A” in Turin and was instrumental in the Gold Medal game against the USA in 2002, scoring two goals in the historic victory. He has been the Captain of the Flames since 2002 and has represented and been victorious for Canada at every level; World Junior Gold in 96’, World Championship Gold in 97’, World Cup Gold in 04’ and of course the ultimate Gold in 2002. He is in the prime of his career and is a standout on an Olympic team chock-full of talent. After skating on a line with Crosby and Nash during the Orientation camp last week, it has to be apparent that Iginla is up for the challenge and relishes the opportunity to skate for his country. Jarome is a born leader and deserves every shot at leading Canada into Vancouver.
Scott Niedermayer: A perennial leader. He has won everything there is too win at every single level, be it the NHL or Internationally. Memorial Cup, World Juniors, World Championships, World Cup, Olympics, and not to mention 4 Stanley Cup Rings and the Conn Smythe in 07’. He captained New Jersey for half of the 04’ season once Scott Stevens went down due to injury. He signed with Anaheim after the lockout and was immediately named the teams Captain. Clearly a player that demands respect both in the locker room and on the ice, Scott is one of the games best. He was sorely missed in 2006 in Turin as he could not play due to injury. The team looked out of sync the entire tournament and the loss of Niedermayer was bigger than most had anticipated. With the threat of retirement over the last couple of seasons, these Olympic games are most likely a prime reason he is still playing hockey. 2010 offers a chance at redemption for the 2006 Italian debacle, both for him and for his country.
Sidney Crosby: The future of hockey in this country, Crosby was crowned the “Next One” even before he played a game in the NHL. At the end of only his second season in the NHL, he was named team captain of the Penguins and led them to the Final in 08’ and sealed it this year with the Penguins first Stanley Cup in 17 years. After recently just celebrating his 22nd birthday, Crosby is still very young and most likely has many more chances at leading his country (assuming the NHL’s continued involvement in the Olympics). Not being included on the 06’ team was a shock for some but even he admits that he did not expect to make that squad. This team is slated to be one the younger ones in recent memory but I am not sure Crosby, at such a young age, would be ready to lead a country of superstars to the Gold medal. In addition, I do not think Yzerman or Babcock would want to put additional pressure on arguably their best player.
Looking at the options, it comes down to Iginla or Niedermayer.
Either one will suffice. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t cheering for Iginla, but I will not be surprised or angry when I see the “C” being stitched on the #27 Team Canada jersey.
This has been,
Newman on Team Canada