April 30, 2010

Canada's World Championship Team Very Young

In Canadian eyes, the World Championships pale in comparison to the Stanley Cup playoffs and the Olympics. Nonetheless, great hockey will be played in Germany as Team Canada looks for double gold in 2010.

GM Mark Messier (assisted by Doug Risebrough, Michel Goulet and dad Doug Messier) and coach Craig MacTavish will finalize their roster in the coming couple of days. So far the team looks like this:

Goal: Chris Mason

Defense: Marc Staal, Brent Burns, Mark Giordano, Kris Russell, Francois Beauchemin (reports late Thursday night also had Michael Del Zotto and Tyler Myers named to the team)

Forwards: Steven Stamkos, Corey Perry, Evander Kane, Steve Ott, John Tavares, Ray Whitney, Rich Peverley, Rene Bourque, Steve Downie (reports late Thursday night also had Matt Duchene, Brooks Laich and "Captain Canada" Ryan Smyth named to the team)

What you immediately notice is with the exception of Ray Whitney, there will be very few veterans on this team. That is no surprise. Hockey Canada does not usually pressure veterans after a long season. While it may be nice to have Jarome Iginla, Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis, Brad Richards, Eric Staal, and Rick Nash, they have all answered the call time and again for Canada and have nothing to prove to them. Canada tends to use the Worlds as a way of demanding loyalty from future Olympians.

It will be interesting to see if Canada approaches any of these veterans though:
  • Martin Brodeur - Highly unlikely he'd play, but ideally Canada would take the top two Canadian goalies who were knocked out of the NHL's first round of the playoffs. Aside from Ottawa's Brian Elliot, Brodeur is about the only goalie to choose from in this category. Will the legend look to redeem his last start in international hockey?
  • Ryan Smyth - Captain Canada. He can't say no when Team Canada asks. And you can bet old Oilers buddies MacTavish and Messier will ask. And Smitty might even enjoy another chance to wear the red and white. (Update: reports late Thursday night had Smyth named to the team)
  • Drew Doughty - At 20 Doughty is hardly a veteran. But his place with all Team Canada's in the future, so he has nothing to prove here. Many argue Doughty is the best defenseman in the NHL already, so you can bet MacTavish and Messier desperately want the Olympian to commit to Germany. (Update: reports have Doughty turning down Team Canada due to a wrist injury)
  • Dan Hamhuis - He's been a Team Canada regular at the WCs, but his status as probably the most sought after unrestricted free agent this summer will probably mean he'll sit this tournament out. A serious injury in Germany could cost him millions, so why risk it?
  • Cam Ward - No secret here. He's having surgery later this summer to repair his herniated disc injury and  is not available. 

I do think there is a high chance we'll see more youngsters like Matt Duchene, Wayne Simmonds, Travis Zajac and Chris Stewart join the team.

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