World of Hockey
Time to fire some pucks on the Olympic 'Net:
- It will be interesting to see if Team Canada 2010 will include a player who was not at the summer orientation camp. Team Canada says it is certainly possible, of course, although history tells us it has never been done before.
There has been a lot speculation that Steven Stamkos may break into the ranks, but I think Brad Richards' name needs to be discussed. He's having a great rebound year, can play any forward position plus the PP point, and has a good history with Team Canada including at the Olympics. Why wouldn't Steve Yzerman be interested in the former Conn Smythe trophy winner who reminds many people of Yzerman himself?
- One drawback on Richards is he's primarily a playmaker. Canada really should not shy away from elite level shoot first players, like Stamkos, Jeff Carter and Corey Perry. In such a short tournament where one loss ends gold medal hopes, teams should encourage players to be a little bit greedy when it comes to trying to score goals. Too often in the past we've seen top players a little too respectful of one another, passing the puck off out of too much respect rather than just bearing down and getting the job done early.
- The short tournament allows no time to practice together at all. Therefore the team that gels together the fastest usually does well. One way for Canada to increase the cohesion factor is to bring in set combos from NHL club teams. Richards and Carter in Philly. Getzlaf and Perry in Anaheim. And how about the entire top line on the top team in the NHL - Thornton, Heatley and Marleau - all bubble players at orientation camp - of the Sharks.
- If I had to pick Team Canada today, here's who I'd go to war with:
Goalies: Brodeur, Fleury, Luongo
Defense: Niedermayer, Pronger, Boyle, Keith, Green, Bouwmeester, Weber
Forwards Lines: B. Richards - Crosby - Iginla, Nash - Getzlaf - Perry, Doan - M. Richards - Carter, Marleau - Thornton - Heatley, Toews
- I'm not sure there is quite enough grit on this roster. Canada would love to see Brendan Morrow pick up his game in the next few weeks. Robyn Regehr may be the perfect 7th dman for Canada, a bruising shut down guy when needed, but could be sat down in favor of offense when needed.