Monday, February 16, 2009

Operation: Vancouver 2010 Quest For Gold Part III: Forwards

Feb 16/2010: 1 year from now the Olympic Men's Hockey Tournament begins!

Here's where the extremely difficult decisions lie for Steve Yzerman and "The Hunting Party". There are some sure-shot forwards, but ultimately some exceedingly tough cuts will have to be made amongst the forward ranks. If I were "King" of Hockey Canada for just a day the following are are the forwards I would go with:

1st Line: Rick Nash - Sidney Crosby - Jarome Iginla
2nd Line: Lecavelier - Marc Savard - Mike Cammalleri
Checking Line: Shane Doan - Mike Richards - Ryan Getzlaf
4th Line: Patrick Marleau - Joe Thornton - Jeff Carter
13th Forward: Jonathon Toews

Besides when he plays with Malkin, Iggy (my pick for team Captain) and Nash make dream linemates for Sid the Kid. It should be amazing to see the creativity he creates with these two making plenty of space for him.

The 2nd and 4th lines are interchangeable and I'm sure most would put Thornton's line as the 2nd. However, I just have a hunch about this one and love the way Savard "The Catalyst" is playing this year (has to be in consideration for the Hart Trophy) and his passing will be received quite well by Cammalleri whose one of the hottest players in the league and knows how to finish. Lecavelier should make for an interesting compliment for these two.

I really wanted to put the Newfoundlander Ryan Clowe on the LW of the checking line, but couldn't with good conscience leave Doan off the squad. The checking line will be extremely difficult to play against and will be able to score and be creative as well. Doan is likely an Assistant Captain to Captain Jarome. Mike Richards can play in any situation and is a great young leader. I would actually hand him the second "A". Getzlaf's size, skill and physical play makes this line agreat 2-way threat.

Carter, currently tied for 2nd with 34 goals behind Ovechkin in the Rocket Richard Trophy race, should be great on Thornton's and Marleau's right wing. Marleau has had a huge rebound year, currently tied for 10th in league scoring, after a sub-standard campaign last yr. Jumbo Joe will present "huge" matchup problems for whateven nation Canada plays.

Toews joins the squad as the 13th forward and will fit in wherever needed in the lineup. Already a captain at the NHL level, this will give him invaluable experience as he will be counted upon to be one of the leaders going to Russia in 2014.

Honorable mentions: This is a tough list to keep to a minimum, but I will highlight the toughest decisions.
  • Dany Heatley: He's done well internationally for Team Canada at several World Championship tourneys. My only reservation is the fact that the Senators are doing so poorly, but definitely can't blame everything on him. Most would likely replace Cammalleri with him.
  • Ryan Clowe: See above; I think this guy is so tough to play against and would be great in a checking line and energy type of role.
  • Brendan Morrow: If he returns from his injury to his former self, he's going to be a big contender on that same checking line.
  • Other names I took into strong consideration include: Simon Gagne, Eric Staal, Marty St. Louis, Corey Perry, Devin Setoguchi, John Tavares, Milan Lucic, Steve Stamkos (obviously not on his current play, but would watch him closely over the next 12 months).
Pierre Maguire has just picked his All-Canadian Monster Team for the Olympics on TSN. Click the link to see how his picks compare to The Hockey Spy's. At first glance, Carey Price and Brent Burns??? You have to be kidding me!!! I respect Maguire tremendously, but has he actually followed those guys this season?!? In the words of Barrack Obama, "Let me make this perfectly clear", Pierre: Burns and Price would NOT be on Team Canada II, if we were, in fact, allowed two entries, let alone our one and only entry at the Olympics in Vancouver 2010.

Keep your stick on the ice!


Vince Feb 18, 2009, 1:57:00 PM  

What? No Rob Zamuner?

Christopher Rock Feb 19, 2009, 1:20:00 PM  

That's hilarious Vince!!! I actually heard a couple hockey reporters talking about that "out of left field" pick! Maybe I should've picked Stephane Yelle for this team! ;)

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