Sunday, May 16, 2004


Canada's World Cup Team - Part II

Now that the team has been selected, let�s look at who didn�t make the cut.

Jose Theodore � He might have been a better pick than Belfour for the #3 spot given his youth, but remember that Belfour was chosen as #3 for the Olympic squad and was his attitude was exceptional. Theodore is a bit too shaky in terms of elite goaltenders, so it�s no shock to me that he wasn�t selected.

Curtis Joseph � Remember the last World Cup? Remember who choked big for Canada back then? There are many things Joseph is, and a proven winner is not one of them. Keep him the hell away from the team!!! He�s a curse!!

Bryan McCabe � If you believe the Toronto mediots, McCabe should not only win the Norris Trophy, but he should also have a street named after him and be given the keys to the city.
I�ll admit, McCabe had a fine season this year on the offensive side of the ledger. In 75 games, McCabe had 16 goals, 37 assists, and finished with a +22 rating.

What Leafs fans and the media don�t seem to realize is how shaky McCabe can be defensively. If it wasn�t for Belfour, McCabe wouldn�t be sporting such a nice +22 rating.

So why didn�t McCabe get the nomination?
I present Exhibit A - His play against the Flyers in the playoffs, which may have cost him his World Cup spot. Exhibit B � Robyn Regehr�s stalwart play in the playoffs, which caught Gretzky�s eye: "We really feel that Robyn Regehr's play this year in the playoffs has gone to another level," stated the Great Endorser.

Could McCabe finally have put it all together? Canucks, Islanders, and Hawks fans (are they are Hawks fans left?) still have nightmares of McCabe�s baffling defensive mistakes costing them games.

McCabe certainly wouldn�t have been a bad selection for the squad, but may have been passed over because he wouldn�t take kindly to being simply a �reserve� player.
I�d take him as the #1 injury replacement, however.

Keith Primeau � If we take playoff performances into account, it�s a little puzzling that Primeau wasn�t named to this squad. Primeau has played for Canada at big events before, and he�s been a 2-way force for the Flyers in the playoffs.
But look at it this way, the guy had 7 goals and 22 points in 54 regular season games, and is nowhere near the offensive �force� that he used to be. Primeau was quite ordinary during the regular season, and a short playoff run can�t mask the fact that Primeau�s game has deteriorated quite a bit this past year.

Vincent Lecavalier � Until he can learn to play every game like he does against the Montreal Canadiens, and learn to stop acting like a spoiled brat, Lecavalier still needs to prove himself to be an elite player. If Mario Lemieux can�t play, Lecavalier would be the perfect replacement as an offensive center. Vinnie should make the 2006 Olympic squad, if the NHLers take part.

Alex Tanguay � A deft offensive winger who has lived on the good fortune of playing with Joe Sakic and Milan Hejduk. Take Tanguay away from those 2 guys, and you have just an above-average offensive winger that offers little else. Tanguay has talent, but he�s not in the class of the offensive stars chosen already.

Paul Kariya - Really, I couldn't feel happier for this money-grubbing shill that he was left off of the team. When he wasn't injured, Kariya was ineffecitve at both ends of the ice this year, and has never really grown into the elite player that he could have been. Thank you, Gary Suter.

Todd Bertuzzi � The most noticeable omission by Gretz and company. While most Canuck fans are crying in their Sleeman�s, I�m actually happy that Bertuzzi wasn�t chosen for the squad.

Team Canada decided not to choose Bertuzzi to avoid any distractions and problems that would arise around his suspension, which is the diplomatic answer you�d expect him to give. Still, isn�t this suspension a blessing in disguise?

If Bertuzzi was available to play, I don�t think it would be anywhere near a slum-dunk that Bertuzzi would be chosen for the team.

Think about it this way�without Todd Bertuzzi, Canada still has plenty of offense and plenty of size up front. Losing Todd Bertuzzi isn�t any sort of blow whatsoever, so they aren�t hurt by not having him play.

Bertuzzi, however, is exactly the type of player that could hurt Team Canada by playing.

How so?

The lack of discipline should be rather obvious�
a. 10-game suspension for jumping off of the bench to participate in a fight.
b. Indefinite suspension for his cowardly attack on Steve Moore.
c. Like Pronger and Tkachuk, Bertuzzi is easily baited in the playoffs, and has taken his fair share of bad penalties in the playoffs. 82 PIM�s in 24 playoff games. How many times has Bertuzzi killed a late-game rally or a Power Play with an ill-timed penalty? I wish some site kept track of those stats, because I�m sure Bertuzzi would be near the top.
d. Poor Defence � For all of his offensive skills, Bertuzzi is still rather poor defensively, but this isn�t recognized nearly as much these days with his inflated +/- and gaudy offensive stats.
e. World Championships 2000 � Despite his 9 points in 9 games, Bertuzzi also totalled 47 PIMs and cost the Canadians a chance at the gold medal with his ill-timed penalties against the Czechs (Running over Cechmanek with the extra-attacker on the ice). His check-from-behind of Slovakia�s Lubomir Sekeras earlier in the tournament was dangerous, and Bertuzzi was lucky that he wasn�t suspended for that.

Let�s not forget that the guy slept through the regular season and piled up a whopping 17 goals in 69 games. (Thanks for the fat paycheck, Brian).

For all of his offence, I could live without the negatives he brings to the table. In the end, it will be better for Team Canada that Bertuzzi won�t be available to them for this tournament.

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