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Chill Canada

from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,

And now comes the fun part.

In the wake of today’s announcement of Team Canada’s roster for Sochi (and the Frenglish filibuster that proceeded it), a hockey-crazed nation and some interested outsiders have descended into second-guessing, name-calling, despair and recrimination over the players who did, or didn’t, make the cut.

But allow me to offer a bit of advice.

Relax, Canada.

Steve Yzerman didn’t make a single mistake in naming his team today. Not one. That opinion, of course, is subject to change if O Canada isn’t the final anthem played in Sochi, but, now, at this moment, this squad looks fully capable of defending the gold medal an Yzerman-built team won in Vancouver four years ago.

So what if your favorite guy didn’t make the cut? Let it go. This isn’t about favorites. None of these players were the sentimental choices of one man. The best hockey minds in the country (the protestations of Oilers’ fans are duly noted here) spent months vetting these players and with upwards of 60 legitimate options, and just 25 roster spots, there were bound to be a few choices that raised the ire of a nation of armchair GMs.

continued

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
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Comments

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First off, I really don’t have any big problems with the selection, but not everyone who does have a problem is simply making it about “favourites”.

Rick Nash is, very possibly, never going to see a minute of gametime but it’s hard to fault someone who says “maybe the guy who’s 90th among Canadian forwards shouldn’t have gotten the nod when there are two guys in the top ten and nine in the top twenty who were overlooked.

Posted by Garth on 01/07/14 at 06:39 PM ET

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You know, I was kinda surprised to see Nash there, but I can’t really fault them for taking him.  Nash, Toews and I think it was Richards or Bergeron were a dynamite checking line back in Vancouver.  No other team could match up with them.

Other teams were forced to keep their best defensive guys on Crosby and the 2nd line leaving Toews and Nash to really keep the pressure on the other teams and they killed a lot penalties.  They were probably the best line over the course of the tourney for Canada.

Why not try it again this year?  Neither Nash nor Toews are out of their prime yet and putting a guy like Carter or Sharp on that line could be a great idea.  Three guys who are strong defensively and having two snipers on a line with a passer is never a bad idea.

And, realistically, there aren’t a lot of guys who are better left wingers than Nash right now who are eligible for team Canada.  Yeah, there are higher scoring Canadian players, but not every centre can play left wing and not every right winger can switch sides.  Why play a guy out of position when you have a very talented left winger in Nash?

Posted by Canucklehead from Ottawa, Ontario on 01/07/14 at 07:28 PM ET

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And, realistically, there aren’t a lot of guys who are better left wingers than Nash right now who are eligible for team Canada.

He’s 20th in the league among Canadian left wingers and 90th among Canadian forwards.  To say that there are no better choices than Nash is a little ridiculous.  It’s one thing to choose someone like Patrice Bergeron who is a great two-way forward is one thing, but to take a streaky scorer who is having a down season is a genuine question mark, especially at the expense of someone like Marty St.Louis, who has twice as many goals, more than twice as many points as Nash, is a great leader, has the heart if a lion and is more of a multidimensional player than Nash could ever dream being.

Posted by Garth on 01/07/14 at 08:53 PM ET

Luongo-is-my-hero's avatar

i have to agree, im pretty choked they didnt include st.louis AGAIN.  Was winning the art ross at 38 not enough of an accomplishment? HE has been underestimated all his career and he has shown time and time again that he is the real deal.  To perform at his age the way he does is amazing, he is so smart and although hes lost a step, compared to his prime, he is still heads and tails above a whole lot of players on the team.  Such a travesty, the fact he maintained it even after stamkos got injured is a testament in itself

Posted by Luongo-is-my-hero on 01/08/14 at 06:25 AM ET

Luongo-is-my-hero's avatar

cant believe giroux didnt make it either, I know he had a slow start but god how can u leave a guy like him off the team.

Posted by Luongo-is-my-hero on 01/08/14 at 06:27 AM ET

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He’s 20th in the league among Canadian left wingers and 90th among Canadian forwards.  To say that there are no better choices than Nash is a little ridiculous.

He’s also played 10-15 games less than pretty much everyone ahead of him.  He’d be top 10 scoring otherwise and then the selection isn’t so crazy, is it?  When he’s on his game, Nash is in the top 5 LW in the league, in my opinion (which, granted doesn’t mean a whole lot).

And, I wouldn’t have been upset to leave Nash at home, but I have zero concerns about his ability to bring it when he’s playing at the Olympics.  I have more concern about a couple of the defense choices that were made.

Posted by Canucklehead from Ottawa, Ontario on 01/08/14 at 08:38 AM ET

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He’s also played 10-15 games less than pretty much everyone ahead of him.  He’d be top 10 scoring otherwise

Maybe you want to check your stats page.  He’s got 18 points in 27 games.  If he played 18 more games, at his current pace, he would have 30 points which would put him at #67 in the NHL and #30 among Canadian forwards.

I’m not sure…is either of those numbers in the top ten?

When he’s on his game, Nash is in the top 5 LW in the league, in my opinion

Great, but my point is that he’s not on his game.  He is having the worst offensive season of his NHL career.

When he was at his best Maurice Richard was the best player in the world, so does that mean you’d put him on the Olympic team in 2014?  No, of course not.  The smart money is to put the best players now on the team that is playing now.

Posted by Garth on 01/08/14 at 09:06 AM ET

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The smart money is to put the best players now on the team that is playing now.

Well, Yzerman seems to be putting the money on Nash finding his game at the Olympics and doing what he’s capable of.  I still think he’s a better option at LW than most of the guys ahead of him in scoring.  He’s big, talented and very familiar with the big ice.  Those are good reasons for putting him on the team.

And, just as an FYI, as of right now, if he had 30 points, he’d be #10 for highest scoring Canadian LW (according to the NHL site).  So, that kinda would be top 10 scoring, would it not?  I don’t think comparing him to guys playing RW and C really makes sense because he was put on the team to play left wing.

Either way, my original posting just stated that I couldn’t fault them for taking him over other Canadian LWers.  And, I still feel that way.

Posted by Canucklehead from Ottawa, Ontario on 01/09/14 at 11:28 AM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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