Canadian Olympic Snubs

All of Canada was glued to the television, radio and internet Tuesday morning to find out who would represent the country at the Olympics. And it will be a point of conversation -- shoulda, woulda, coulda -- until the Games close. Were the right men taken? Are there obvious snubs? Let's discuss.

I like the additions of Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Dan Hamhuis to the squad. They're smart "unsung" players who play the game quietly and very, very well. Canadian hockey fans may not know much about them because they just aren't sexy. But their reliability will help carry the team.

Fans will question Chris Kunitz until the cows come home. They shouldn't. Sidney Crosby is probably one of the hardest players in the world to play beside. Kunitz "gets" Sid -- there's no guessing. And that means there's no learning -- or mistake -- curve in a very short tournament.

But there are guys "cut" who were likely hard decisions to make. Claude Giroux. Martin St. Louis. Eric Staal. Joe Thornton. Logan Couture. And then Brent Seabrook, Dan Boyle, Marc Staal, James Neal, Milan Lucic and Corey Crawford. And maybe even Marc-Andre Fleury.

Wait -- that's a pretty nice core to a second team that would compete for a medal ...

Thoughts? Criticisms? Kudos? Post them here.


By: dwaldner
On: 1/7/2014 9:03:00 AM
I was surprised at a number of picks: Mike Smith, as a third-string goalie, will likely not get any ice time, and the chance to expose a younger goalie like Jonathan Bernier or Josh Harding to an Olympics would be an invaluable growth opportunity. Also, Dan Hamhuis over Dan Boyle or Dion Phaneuf was surprising, given the solid play of both. I think the biggest snub was for Joe Thornton considering his play internationally, and his excellent campaign this year. His chemistry with teammate Patrick Marleau, who also made the team, would have been a natural fit. Similarly, this will be Martin St. Louis' last opportunity to play in an Olympics, and his history of feeding Steven Stamkos saucer passes would be an easy selection over Rick Nash.
By: airjan23
On: 1/7/2014 11:35:00 AM
On defense, the other possible snub is Kris Letang but part of that is the lefty-righty balance and Letang has been injury prone.

As a Rangers fan, have seen first-hand how much Nash has struggled, but they like his skating ability on open ice and ability play both wings. I would not have had an issue with St. Louis over him. If Stamkos is not 100%, who gets the call, Thornton, but his lack of foot speed could have been a reason he was excluded, Couture, if his hand heels, or probably Giroux, who deserved to be taken? They could go St. Louis because several of the forwards on the team can also play center. One other possible snub is Jeff Carter, but he is further down the list.
By: Janet Eagleson
On: 1/7/2014 11:43:00 AM
Carter was selected, probably because of his ability to play both wing and center. You'd have to think Giroux is the guy they'd call on first in event of injury, but it's a wild card. The coaching staff have a serious case of man-LOVE for Nash, as they believe the gold from 2010 was the result of his chemistry and success with Jonathan Toews.
By: airjan23
On: 1/7/2014 1:01:00 PM
Janet, thanks for the correction, brain cramp on Carter.
By: dwaldner
On: 1/7/2014 1:14:00 PM
Janet/Jan, to me, Carter was selected for his ability to play on the PK alongside Bergeron, Toews, and presumably Perry. Also, Team Canada is going to need a shutdown line that will try to negate the top line from other teams. When I tried to guess what that would look like before the announcement, I had a Patrice Bergeron-Jeff Carter-Mike Richards line, so it looks like I wasn't too far off.

Who do you guys think will play on that top line with Crosby and Kunitz?
By: dwaldner
On: 1/7/2014 1:20:00 PM
Interesting - if you look at the 2005 World Junior team, Ryan Getzlaf and Jeff Carter were on the same line to great success. They finished 2nd and 4th respectively in tournament scoring. Perhaps Carter-Getzlaf-Perry for the "C" line (I only say C because can you really call that line a "third line").
By: clemeno
On: 1/8/2014 3:15:00 AM
I think you're onto something with the second team, Janet. Is the secessionist movement still alive in Canada?
By: pennucci42
On: 1/8/2014 7:17:00 AM
The Carter selection was one of the more surprising ones for me. I felt it was more of his scoring rate and definitely the center/wing combination, although it appears most forwards on the team can fit into that category. I'm wondering if they overthought things with the whole left/right thing being a justification for leaving certain players off. Have to wonder if the whole build this like an NHL team thing will backfire at the first sign of struggle (ie a goal being scored).

I like Jan's point regarding Letang, although the healthy probably factored into it, however he has looked spotty the times I've watched him this season. The Hamhuis-Vlasic pick was a nice one, two guys that will get the job done as they already have plenty of players to move the puck and create chances.

I like what they did by keeping pairs together, such as Pietrangelo-Bouwmeester, and the Getzlaf-Perry, Toews-Sharp, Crosby-Kunitz thing. Who goes on the wings. Does Matt Duchene move over to left wing on one of those lines?

If Couture is healthy, I think he's a definite.

The press conference Tuesday did nothing to alleviate the crushing and, unjust, weight of the whole country put on the shoulders of these kids. Heaven help us if PK Subban or Jeff Carter make a mistake that leads to a goal. The hue and cry will be enormous compared to if Rick Nash or Toews make a mistake.

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