Team Canada has announced it’s roster for the 2014 Olympics. The defending champions are once again looking strong, hoping for a repeat of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, during which Sidney Crosby clinched gold for the Canadians, scoring in overtime to beat the Americans. Crosby is once again on the team, one of the 11 players from 2010 to make it onto the roster this year. Here is the full roster:
Jamie Benn, Patrice Bergeron, Jeff Carter, Sidney Crosby, Matt Duchene, Ryan Getzlaf, Chris Kunitz, Patrick Marleau, Rick Nash, Corey Perry, Patrick Sharp, Steven Stamkos, John Tavares, and Jonathan Toews.
Here are the players I believe were snubbed:
Joe Thornton is 4th in scoring among Canadian skaters and 5th overall in the NHL. Thornton is a veteran power forward who would be an excellent third-line anchor for the Canadians. Tyler Seguin has had a tremendous first half for the Dallas Stars. Seguin is 10th overall amongst Canadians and 15th in league scoring. His line mate and captain Jamie Benn was selected to team Canada, and I believe it is a mistake to leave Seguin off, partly due to his own high level of skill, and partly due to the chemistry he has with Benn. A huge reason Chris Kunitz was selected for the roster was because of his chemistry with the NHL’s leading scorer Sidney Crosby. I strongly disagree with Kunitz’s selection for many reasons, but the biggest is the fact that he was likely chosen over veteran forward Martin St. Louis. St. Louis has been a consistent scorer in this league for years, and he’s been able to do so without riding on Sidney Crosby’s wing, which is arguably why Kunitz is so successful. Claude Giroux had a horrendous start to the season, but has picked his play up lately with 38 points in 42 games. Giroux can play either center or wing, and his sensational playmaking abilities are too good for Canada to pass over. Finally, Eric Staal is a similar story to Joe Thornton’s. Staal was on the gold winning team in 2010, during which he scored 6 points in 7 games, while adding a physical component to the game that helped Canada beat the physical U.S. team.
Defensemen play entire seasons with their partner, reading off of each other and correcting one another’s mistakes. Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook make up one of the most successful defensive pairings in the league for the Chicago Blackhawks, and they were also one of Canada’s most successful pairings during the 2010 Olympics. Dan Boyle is another veteran who was passed over in favor of a younger player. Boyle has a tremendous offensive awareness, and it’s a shame that we won’t be able to see him making terrific stretch passes out on the big ice. Dion Phaneuf is a tremendous physical player with plenty of offensive upside. He is a leader, as he is the captain of the pressure cooker that is Toronto.
Josh Harding has been phenomenal for the Minnesota Wild this year and has the 2nd highest GAA as well as the 3rd highest SV% amongst Canadian goalies. Roberto Luongo has been inconsistent in pressure situations before, and I believe that it’s time to give someone new a shot between the pipes.