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11-02-2012, 07:41 PM
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Big Phil
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Does Canada ever lose a major tournament with Mario Lemieux playing in all of them?

Okay, here's the deal. Mario played in the 1987 Canada Cup and was along with Gretzky the straw that stirred the drink on that team. Canada wins a tight one. In 1991 he doesn't play but Canada still wins. In 1996 he is the best player in the game but because of his back doesn't partake in the World Cup. Canada loses a close one where Mario is probably the difference. In 1998 he is retired and doesn't play in the Olympics. He comes back to the NHL and plays in the 2002 Olympics and 2004 World Cup. Both tournaments he is a key player and in both championship games he registers a point. A month before the 2006 Olympics an old Mario retires for good. Canada puts on a disgraceful performance.

Look, I know you can do the same thing with Niedermayer here. In 1998 and 2006 he isn't on the Olympic team because of not being invited and an injury respectively. In 2002 and 2010 he plays and Canada wins gold. But this is Mario we are talking about and since Niedermayer was on the 1996 World Cup team he didn't make a difference there. But Mario probably would have.

Which leads me to my next question. Let's say Mario plays in 1996. He is the premier player in the NHL and all the focus would be on him from the Americans thus opening up even more room for Lindros and even an older Gretzky. In my opinion Canada wins. Let's also say he doesn't retire in 1997. He plays in the Olympics and is very likely the best player in the world at that time as well (Jagr would be right there too). Lemieux always seemed to have Hasek's number in his career which would have helped in the semi final. Does Lemieux's prescence catapult Canada to gold?

I won't count 2006 since him playing wouldn't have made a difference at that point in his career. But if Canada wins these tournaments we win everyone one of them. There would be a 25 year gap between losses (1981 to 2006).

Your thoughts.

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