Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Canada's Olympic Team...in 2010 (Part 2)

Yesterday we looked an article by Alan Muir from SI.com. Muir picked his version of Team Canada in 2010.

We've already looked at Canada's four forward lines and as promised today we'll look at the blue liners and the tenders.

Muir's Picks - Defense

Chris Pronger, Robyn Regehr, Dion Phaneuf, Shea Weber, Jay Boumeester, Dan Boyle and Brent Burns
Muir is expecting a lot of changes at defence. He's expecting only Chris Pronger and Robyn Regehr and to return. Although Muir must have missed the fact Boumeester played in Torino. So he's really expecting three players returning. With four spots to fill this will definitely be a new look squad. Muir expects to see Dion Phaneuf, Shea Weber, Dan Boyle and Brent Burns protecting Canada's goal. As Muir says: "...they boast size (averaging 6-3, 211 pounds), mobility, and the versatility to manage special teams as adeptly as they do five-on-five play."

Muir got the easy ones right. Pronger, Regehr, Boumeester and Phaneuf will be the core of this squad. As for the other three, they all come with a risk. Weber is still refining his game and can make the big mistake in the defensive zone at times. Boyle, while offensively gifted, doesn't have the size to clear the front of the net. Burns has only recently been converted into a defender so he's a bit rough around the edges defensively.

Who's Missing?
Former Olympians like Rob Blake, Adam Foote, Ed Jovanovski, Bryan McCabe, Wade Redden and Scott Niedermayer would provide valuable experience. But they would be on the senior side of the things by 2010 and other than Niedermayer will be a step behind on the speed department.

Up and comers like Brian Campbell, Mike Green, Braydon Coburn and Brent Seabrook have become elite defensemen the past season or two. On the downside, they don't have much experience in pressure filled situations.

Prospects like Drew Doughty, Luke Schenn, Marc Staal and Cam Barker will continue to develop and may play themselves into the mix. As with the forwards, having a top prospect on the team would be good for the future of Team Canada. But with only seven spots we're not willing to use one on a player that isn't road tested.

Waikiki Hockey's Picks - Defense

Chris Pronger, Robyn Regehr, Dion Phaneuf, Jay Boumeester, Mike Green, Brian Campbell and Brent Burns
We'll stick with the top four of Pronger, Phaneuf, Boumeester and Regehr ... it's hard to beat the punch -- both offensively and defensively --they will deliver. We all know that Phaneuf is a machine:

We'll mix things up with our last three picks.

Mike Green is on our team. He is more of an offensive minded defender but he can be used in any situation. Green put up 56 points last season which is the second highest total by a Canadian defenseman. Assuming, can keep his 2007-08 performance going we'll give the nod to him.

Brian Campbell made headlines with his monster deal with the Hawks but we want him on our team due to his mobility and creativity with the puck. The knock on Campbell is that he gets knocked off the puck easily but that won't be as big of a problem with the Olympic style of play as it is in the NHL.

For our last d-man we're torn between a more defensive defender or Brent Burns. Burns' defense may not be fully polished but having a player that can play both offense and defense could come in handy. We're hoping that by the time 2010 rolls around his development at the defense position will be complete, so we'll go with Burns.

Muir's Picks - Goaltender

Roberto Luongo
It's really a two dog race for the starters job. Muir goes with Luongo but it's a decision you really can't get wrong. As Muir points out Brodeur's play won't have slipped but Canada will have to make this switch eventually.

For the third goalie position, Muir correctly points out a youngster should get the job and the experience of watching the Olympics up close ... Marc-Andre Fleury is Muir's pick.

Who's Missing
Veteran goalies like Marty Turco, Martin Biron, J-S Giguere, Jose Theodore or Manny Legace would be nice to have in the dressing room and around in case of an injury to one of the big dogs.

As Muir pointed out added a younger goalie is a great way to get him some experience. Is Fleury the right guy? How about Carey Price, Pascal Leclaire, Cam Ward or Jonathon Bernier?

Waikiki Hockey's Picks - Goaltender

Roberto Luongo
We'll follow Muir's lead and pass the torch to Luongo. Hopefully, the Canadian coaches will give Luongo (if he's starting) a bit of a leash so he can find his groove. As for our third goalie we're going to go with Carey Price. He's only had one season but we expect him to put up big numbers as the number one goalie in Montreal. We think his upside is much higher than Fleury's and he could be the goalie who takes over for Luongo in 2014 or 2018.

No matter how you put together this team they have to be the favourite to win it all in Vancouver. There will be a lot of competition from teams like Russia and Sweden but Canada is better equiped to take home the gold than any other country.


Yotesin2012 said...

Jovanovski will be going. Gretzky is a coach and he has lots of Olympic experience.

I've watched him play a lot and while he has probably lost a step nobody clears the front of the net like him. If Luongo can see the puck he'll stop it.

The defense you picked will be pretty soft (other than Phaneuf, Pronger and to a lesser extent...Boumeester) they need another bruiser back there.

Jay said...

There is no way Jovo-cop is going. He's too old and slow and by 2010 he will be two years older and two year slower.

This isn't an All-Star game Gretzky is picking. 36 million people are counting on him to do the right thing. He will.

You do make a good point about the d being a bit on the soft side. My thinking was that they should focus on speed. A big bruising d-man is no good when Zetterberg flys by him. I wouldn't mind adding another big d-man instead of Burns to my list but I couldn't come up with anybody that I thought would be fast enough.

yotesin2012 said...

Jovanovski will be ~34 come Olympics time...by no means over the hill.

He's played for Team Canada on 7 occasions (it would have been 8 if he wasn't injured in 06).

When you have a team with so many "inexperienced" players you need a guy like him around

Jay said...

I looked again at Jovo's stats and they were better than I thought. He's been very injury prone but if he stays healthy I could see him making the team.

I still think he's too slow and will only get slow.

I like having this discussion though, makes me appreciate what Gretzky will go through in a few years.

Cammer said...

Gotta agree on the D... only one that's up for debate is Campbell, I don't think he's in that elite class & I think Weber will be better than him by 2010. Burns is on teh squad, we was awesome at the World Championships and is ready to be step into the Phaneuf stratosphere.

Agree with you on Price over Fleury... he blew it for us once at the WJC... I'm holding a grudge.