Let's speculate who remains on Yzerman's radar by ranking the players who were invited to the original orientation camp. The players are listed by alphabetical order and by position. I have reduced the original list down to 30 players for this exercise.
Goaltenders: Martin Brodeur, Marc-Andre Fleury, Roberto Luongo,
Canada's three goalies are set, but who will be the starter? That will be a matter of debate right up until the Olympics, and probably beyond. My bet is Brodeur.
Niedermayer, Pronger, Boyle are probably locks. Bouwmeester, Green, Keith, Weber and Regehr probably fall in the next grouping, with Phaneuf, Doughty, and Seabrook as long shots. I guess it all comes down to what theme Team Canada wants the blue line to adopt. Given the Yzerman/Babcock connection, mobility and puck movement will be keys.
Forwards: Jeff Carter,
Not on original orientation camp list: Brad Richards,
Carter, Morrow and St. Louis are probably the lowest on the list, although Canada is hoping they can catch fire in the last couple of weeks here. I was going to include Eric Staal's name here, but Team Canada was scouting him on Saturday, suggesting he's still in the mix.
It will be interesting to see how many set combinations Team Canada will bring with them. With no time to build team chemistry, will Yzerman parachute in existing combos such as San Jose's red hot Thornton-Heatley-Marleau line, or the Getzlaf-Perry and Richards-Carter duos?
In other Olympic news:
- The IIHF has unveiled all of the IOC
money grabbingcompliant Olympic jerseys.
- Vladislav Tretiak, who has a vested interest in the KHL's success, recently suggested Team Russia may be half made up of KHL players. That would not be a huge surprise, though could such KHL cronyism hurt Russia's chances?
- Miikka Kiprusoff will only go to Vancouver if he's the starting goalie. I understand his concerns, but that's not being a good team player.
- Sweden has named their women's Olympic roster. Canada recently pared down their roster to 24.
- There will be no "taxi squads" for these Olympics, designated players in case of injuries. Instead teams will be able to name any player in such an event. While the list may not be made public, expect Steve Yzerman to put extra players on stand by.
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