My reaction coming on the podcast in stereo at 8pm ET but here is Ryan’s take on Team Canada.
In my roster prediction last night, I had Mike Fisher, Martin St. Louis, Shane Doan, and Jay Bouwmeester on the team instead of Patrice Bergeron, Eric Staal, Mike Richards, and Drew Doughty.
I like the roster that Yzerman has put together, but would’ve liked to see Jay-Bo and St. Louis. Don’t get me wrong, Doughty has definitely earned his Olympic bid; Bouwmeester is a versatile defenseman with more experience. And St. Louis brings a veteran presence who can be slotted on any line. But that’s why I’m not officially picking the team.
Looking at the possible line combinations… I think you could see Crosby, Iginla, and Nash on the top line; Toews or Staal put alongside Getzlaf and Perry; the Sharks trio of Marleau, Heatley, and Thornton on the ‘third’ line; Morrow, Richards, and maybe Toews on the fourth line. I don’t know what the strategy will be with Bergeron, whether if he’s the 4th line center or the 13th forward. We’ll wait and see.
On defense, I like how Pronger and Niedermayer along with Keith and Seabrook can be blue-line pairings. Which leaves us with Boyle and Weber as another pairing, with Doughty as the potential extra D-man.
We can expect to see Luongo and Brodeur to battle it out over the next four to six weeks for the starter spot. I have a hunch Brodeur will get the nod. Fleury should be the emergency net-minder.
The snub list is too long to dive in to… but I know Mike Green is not a happy camper today. Shall injuries occur next month, though, Yzerman has a lot of choices as far as replacements go.
Coach Mike Babcock certainly will have some tough decisions in a month or so, but it’s a great problem to have. There’s no reason why this team shouldn’t win Gold on home-ice in Vancouver. Every ingredient is included on Team Canada, and will be heavy favorites when February rolls around.