Friday, April 29, 2005


World Championships: Will Cockiness Kill Canada?

Time to look at Team Canada and their chances for gold at the World Hockey Championships in Austria. Although some big name stars like Mario Lemieux, Rob Blake, Chris Pronger, and Joe Sakic said 'No', Canada still has a roster that 'pwns' - at least on paper. Ryan Smyth, who is really the true Captain Canada if we have ever had one, is wearing the C for Canada for the 6th straight World Championships.

Now, I wonder...Has all of the recent success (besides the two recent losses to the US in Gold Medal games) given the honchos at Hockey Canada a case of Big Head Syndrome?

I speak mainly of two negative traits that I've noticed with Team Canada this time out.

i. The lack of Game-Shape players - Only 8 of the fellows named below have been playing high-level hockey somewhere in the world this season, with another 2 playing in the very low minor leagues. Although Canada beat the Czechs 2-1 in an exhibition game yesterday, they have looked rather slow (so have the Americans) in the games I've seen on TV. Once the heated action starts, Canada could quickly see themselves out of breath once the European teams, full of game-shape players, skate circles around the donut-eating Canucks.

ii. The obsession with 'Size' and 'Physicality' - If this was the World Cup, or an NHL game, the Canadian roster would be absolutely perfect. In International hockey, however, size and strength is not such a great advantage as it would be in the NHL. IIHF refs are very prone to call penalties if you so much as blow a kiss too hard in another player's direction. The combination of out-of-shape Canadian players plus their propensity to bodycheck could equal a lot of Penalty Killing time for Canada...and to think Team Canada actually wanted an out-of-shape ape in Todd Bertuzzi, who's 'physicality' cost the Canadians in a previous World Championships (just ask Roman Cechmanek and Lubomir Sekeras).

Instead of taking game-shape players who have been skating in Europe this season (Daniel Briere, etc), and players with the most 'skill', Canada seems to have gone with a roster build to win in the NHL's Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Final Roster

Martin Brodeur
Roberto Luongo
Marty Turco (Djurgaarden)

Dan Boyle (Djurgaarden)
Scott Hannan
Ed Jovanovski
Chris Phillips (Brynäs)
Wade Redden
Robyn Regehr
Sheldon Souray (Färjestad)

Shane Doan
Kris Draper (Motor City/UHL)
Mike Fisher (Zug)
Simon Gagne
Dany Heatley (Kazan)
Kirk Maltby
Patrick Marleau
Brendan Morrison (Linköping)
Brendan Morrow (Oklahoma City/CHL)
Rick Nash (Davos)
Ryan Smyth
Joe Thornton (Davos)
Scott Walker

The lines for Canada in the game vs. Czechia looked like this...


Redden - Hannan
Regehr - Boyle
Souray - Phillips

Doan, Draper, Maltby
Nash, Thornton, Gagne
Heatley, Morrison, Smyth
Marleau, Fisher, Morrow

Rick Nash and Joe Thornton played together with the Swiss Champions in Davos. It will be up to these big guys to supply the bulk of the offence. Size, Speed, Skill...Canada has it all. No other roster is as 'complete' as Canada's.

Canada will always be a favourite to win any tournament it enters, but this year's tourney could easily turn Gary Busey ugly for Canada if the lack of conditioning becomes an issue. It won't surprise me if Canada somehow finishes this tournament without a medal.

im sorry but NOBODY CARES
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?