Now that Hockey Canada’s Summer Orientation Camp is over, it’s time to weigh in with another opinion.
Seems everyone and his brother has decided who should play for Canada’s national hockey team at the 2010 Olympics, so why not join the conversation…
1) Let’s start with the captain. Yeah, I have no quarrel with Scott Niedermayer or Jarome Iginla. I even think Shane Doan would make a great captain. But for my tax money, I’d like to see Sidney Crosby get the job. For one thing, he’s the captain of the current Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins, for another thing, he’s not afraid to tell an official what he thinks.
Remember, this is international hockey. Out-yelling your opponent around the officials is vital and Crosby has a reputation for being one of the biggest whiners in the NHL.
Now, frankly, I’m not sure if that’s true (most reputations aren’t), but if it is, he’s the natural and only choice for captain. Remember, this isn’t necessarily about “leadership.” Hell, there are two dozen guys who will be cut from this camp who can lead a hockey team. However, Sid the Kid is the guy who will make sure the officials get an earful of Canada’s position on penalties, penalties that weren’t called, penalties that should be called, offsides, icing, you name it. Sidney will be in the referees’ ears with passion.
And, hey, he’s not a bad player, either. However, it’s not about the most veteran guy or the guy the players look up to that will make a great international captain. It’s the guy who will intimidate the officials at every turn. That’s the type of guy the Russians will choose. That’s the type of guy the Czechs will choose. If you’re going to play that semi-crooked international game, you’d better go into it with your weapons loaded.
2) Onto the starting goalie: Martin Brodeur. And I’m not going to justify it. He’s simply the best. Roberto Luongo is No. 2 and Cam Ward is a solid No. 3 because he’s the type of guy who has won a championship before and yet, like Eddie Belfour in 2002, he’ll just be proud to be part of the team.
3) The forward lines. These are my choices, they might not be yours:
1. Sidney Crosby/Vincent Lecavalier/Jarome Iginla
2. Mike Richards/Rick Nash/Ryan Getzlaff
3. Jonathan Toews/Dany Heatley/Martin St. Louis
4. Eric Staal/Shane Doan/Milan Lucic
No. 13: Corey Perry
4) The defensive pairings:
1. Scott Niedermayer/Shea Weber
2. Jay Bouwmeester/Dan Boyle
3. Dion Phaneuf/Mike Green
No. 7: Brent Burns, Duncan Keith or Drew Doughty (all three would be fine, take your pick)
OK, so if I had to make a decision on the seventh defenceman it would probably be Brent Burns because he can also play up front. However, I do believe Drew Doughty is going to be the NHL’s next great defenceman.
Regardless, if you selected Robyn Regehr over Dion Phaneuf or Jordan Staal over Shane Doan or Brrenden Morrow over Marty St. Louis, I would not put up a fight.
This camp in Calgary had so many great players, Canada could probably send two teams to Vancouver and if they were properly coached, they could win two medals.