Monday, May 17, 2004


Canada's World Cup Team - Part III

To finish off my thoughts regarding Team Canada�s World Cup roster, just so that it can be beaten to death like a clubbed seal�

Patrick Marleau and Brendan Morrow were not horrible selections, but I don�t think they were the greatest picks, either. With the full International Grind Line � in full effect, there wasn�t really a need for Morrow. Marleau has had a good playoff performance, but there are certainly other players more deserving of his roster spot. Marleau seems like a true �B�-team candidate, like you would take to the World Championships.

If I were picking the team, there are two guys that were excluded from the roster that the mediots rarely mention, that I would have taken or strongly considered given their skill level and track record.

Glen Murray, RW � Boston

While Joe Thornton was basically a �Slam Dunk� pick to most people, his linemate, Glen Murray, who has had 2 extremely productive seasons, was basically not even considered.

In addition to Murray�s gaudy production in the last 2 years (152 points in 163 games), he brings the much needed/wanted/craved size and power-forward type game to the table. Murray is a good skater, and he�s far more talented than Brendan Morrow.

Team Canada seemed to be considering chemistry in their selections, and the Murray/Thornton combination has been one of the best in the NHL over the past 2 seasons. Murray played fairly well at the World Championships, although he didn�t produce huge offensive numbers (4 pts in 9 games), so perhaps the directors that his production wasn�t good enough in such a short sample size.

To me, Glen Murray would be my #1 offensive-winger replacement for Team Canada, and it�s somewhat of a shame that most people haven�t seriously considered him in that role.

Brendan Morrison, C � Vancouver

I know Brendan Morrison wasn�t seriously considered by Gretzky and his Superfriends, nor did the (l)Eastern mediots think of him as a viable candidate, which is a shame.

Just look at what Morrison can bring to the table and you can see that there really aren�t that many better 2-way centermen in the league. Morrison is a good skater, a great playmaker, and is very capable defensively. Rather than an old, creaky, and injured retread like Steve Yzerman, Morrison could have provided the same (or better) skill level and more speed, to boot.

Morrison�s performance at this year�s World Championships (7 points in 9 games) proved that he could excel in International competition, and Morrison was one of the few Canucks to play effectively against the Calgary Flames in the playoffs.

Unlike Lecavalier, who floats like a butterfly, and whines like a member of the Hospital Employees Union, Morrison is a solid citizen, and would be my #1 center ice replacement in case of injuries.

Keith Primeau, the sequel

Listening to the crying from Flyers fans and some mediots, you�d figure that Team Canada has just denied a player in the calibre of Eric Lindros (in his prime) off of the team. Is it really that much of a tragedy?

Sure, Primeau has had a pretty good playoffs (though he started quite slowly), but he was ordinary during the regular season, as I mentioned earlier.

The main reason why Primeau was left off was likely due to the pace that will be dictated at the World Cup. Right now, Primeau is in his element as the Hitchcockian Flyers are masters at slowing down the game to a chess-matchian crawn (Now I sound positively Don Taylorian).

Once the World Cup starts, the games will be played at much faster pace with all of the speed demons and superstars playing. Team Canada will not be able to slow down the game to nearly the level that the Flyers have been doing in the NHL Playoffs. A guy like Primeau could easily get in over his head in this type of tournament, which is why Kris Draper was tabbed as the #1 defensive center for Team Canada.

Other Notes:

The Wilted Garden - The Flyers could have Eric Desjardins back for the Stanley Cup Finals, provided they make it that far. The Courier Post Online has the story, here.

Normally, I would be quite hesitant to add in a half-healed (Desjardins will not be anywhere near 100%) player who has played very little hockey in the past few months to the roster in the Finals. We saw how a half-healed Eric Lindros came back to the Flyers during their playoff run a few years back, and he greatly detracted from the team.

Given the current Flyers injury situation in the defence corps, however, the Philly crew have little choice but to welcome back Eric with open arms.

** Master comedian and handsome devil Bob Saget turns 50 today. Now that the Olsen twins are almost legal, I�m really starting to feel old these days.

As the World Cup rosters must be named by May 25th, I�ll be speculating on the Czech and Slovak roster nominations in the coming days.

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