Friday, February 13, 2009

Operation: Vancouver 2010 Quest For Gold Part I: Coaches and Defensemen

Executive Director of Olympic squad: envious position or gatekeeper to Pandora's Box?

With the Olympic Men's Hockey tournament one year away and 2 days away (first game is Feb. 16/2010), the watch is on and every armchair GM in their respective country has their version of what their team should look like. A lot will happen in the next 12 months, of course, but you can bet Executive Director of Team Canada, Steve Yzerman along with Bob Nicholson (CEO, Hockey Canada), Johnny Misley (Hockey Canada’s executive vice-president of hockey operations) and associate directors Ken Holland, Kevin Lowe and Doug Armstrong are relentlessly fabricating top secret mock rosters for Vancouver 2010. The pressure is on to recover the Gold after a disasterous result in Torino. The Hockey Spy envisions what this roster should be if selected present day. Part I will cover go defensemen and Coaches. Part II to follow will cover goalies and part III, forwards. Team Canada could easily dress 2 powerful rosters, making for some blatantly obvious difficult decisions ahead.

Mike Babcock, Brent Sutter, Claude Julien
Honorable mentions: Todd McLellan, Bruce Boudreau, Peter DeBoer

Jay Boumeester - Chris Pronger
Duncan Keith - Mike Green
Robyn Regehr - Dennis Wideman
7th dman: Dan Boyle (may be interchanged with Wideman)

*My assumption is Scott Niedermayer will retire after this season. If he decides otherwise, he would potentially bounce Wideman or Boyle.

I just love the way J-Bo has carried the Panthers this season. This smooth-skating thoroughbred should pair well with Pronger, who's not had the greatest of years, but if he's healthy, he should prosper on this team. Duncan Keith is amazingly underrated, super-solid defensively, and knows his way around the offensive end of the ice as well. He will be the defensive conscious of "The Rover, Mike Green. If you wonder what I think of Mike Green, read some of my previous posts. An offensive enigma, Green is rounding out his game and might just surprise you with a fearsome hit. Robyn Regehr is the Flames unheralded dman, who is one of the toughest dmen in his own zone. Positionally sound and super-physical, he'll give opposing foreign forwards nightmares. Dennis Wideman will probably raise the most eyebrows from readers, but this Bruin has proven he belongs. Tied for 6th in dman scoring this season, Dennis the Dangler also been rock solid in his own end, as evident by his NHL dman leading +29. Dan Boyle rounds out the last line of defense, having a great rebound in San Jose from an injury-plagued year last year in Tampa.

Honourable mentions: The following will be monitored closely, having the above Top 7 watching over their shoulders:
  • Dion Phaneuf: Last season, would've been a shoe in. He's undeniably going through some growing pains this season, but his physical and offensive game - if it all comes together - would be welcomed, but consistency will be the key.
  • Shea Weber: Hot start to the season, but has cooled off. Like Dion, brings a physical element along with his 2-way game.
  • Brian Campbell: This shifty dman, who can also hit is slick with the puck, but his play is also underwhelming at times.
  • Drew Doughty: This Young Gun may have to wait until 2014, but he will be on the radar; his 2-way play and poise impress me more and more every time I watch him.
Keep checking back as The Hockey Spy uncovers Team Canada's Goalies and Forwards. In the future, look for other contending nation's projected rosters.


Vince Feb 18, 2009, 1:53:00 PM  

Another couple of other coaches to consider are Joel Quenville (CHI) and Dave Tippett (DAL). Quenville did a pretty good job in Colorado when they weren't expected to do anything. Tippett somehow keeps Dallas in the playoffs every year, even when everyone writes them off.

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