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Why was Scott Stevens left off 2002 Canada's Olympic Team?

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Old
10-24-2013, 05:10 PM
  #1
Canadian Gold X3
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Why was Scott Stevens left off 2002 Canada's Olympic Team?

I don't understand, he was the captain of NJ at the time and was one of the best D-men of those years. Why was Stevens left off?

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10-24-2013, 06:04 PM
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Who was he going to replace? It was Stevens' worst offensive season and his defensive game wasn't better than anyone on the team to warrant replacing them with Stevens.

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10-24-2013, 06:43 PM
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I seem to remember reading an article from around the time the roster was announced that said management was focused on bringing in speed and skill. Stevens wouldn't have worked with a roster like that.

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10-24-2013, 07:07 PM
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TheDevilMadeMe
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Stevens slowed down a lot around 2001 or 2002.. Still better defensively than almost anyone, but not necessary better overall


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10-24-2013, 07:21 PM
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mrhockey193195
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Had the olympics been one year before, Stevens would have made it for sure.

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10-24-2013, 07:21 PM
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Big Phil
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He was turning 38 that year as well. MacInnis was going to be 39 in 2002 as it was and he was still good enough to make the team. They wanted to bring in youth on the team as well and they had enough young defensemen in the mold of Redden, Jovanovski, Morris and Brewer to choose from. Foote who was a Team Canada stalwart had just played brilliantly in 2001 when Colorado won the Cup and he could easily fill in the defensive role.

In 1998 Stevens was on the Olympic team. In 2000 had their been a World Cup he's there as well. But two years after that? This is when Niedermayer was starting to finally surpass him as the better defenseman and he made more sense on the team. They wanted speed on the team as well, something lacking in 1998.

In the end, the 2002 defense looked like:
Pronger, Blake, MacInnis, Foote, Niedermayer, Jovanovski and Brewer

No one really complained at that time.

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10-25-2013, 05:19 AM
  #7
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So they could blame Eric Brewer if they lost.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sports Illustrated, December 15, 2001
Gretzky mentioned that the selection committee came up with a list of six players (three forwards, two defensemen and one goalie) whom they would turn to in such situations but declined to mention the five position players on this list. Gretzky did acknowledge that Burke would be the choice in goal and Sportsnet.ca reports Calgary's Derek Morris, Ottawa's Wade Redden, Edmonton's Anson Carter, Philadelphia's Keith Primeau and Boston's Joe Thornton would be the other five choices.

Scott Stevens wasn't even in the top-nine names by the end of 2001. Call me sentimental, but I would have had him on the team. Guy just went to two-straight Finals, but people were only focusing on how brutal the Devils looked at the beginning of 2001-02, as if it wasn't going to turn-around (Stevens was a -8 at the time of selection). It probably could have knocked Brodeur down to the #3 spot too (.895 at the time), but Sean Burke **** the bed in back-to-back games days before they picked the team, including once where the selection committee was in attendance.

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10-25-2013, 07:33 AM
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Looking at that roster, it really shows how disappointing the careers of Redden, Jovanovski and Brewer ended up being. They were supposed to be the next Neids, Pronger and Blake and other than some flashes here and there, they have been disappointments. Hopefully this next generation, with the likes of Subban, Doughty, Pieterangelo and Keith fare better long term.

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10-25-2013, 10:10 AM
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They only needed one guy who played his style and they ended up choosing Foote which was the right choice.

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10-25-2013, 11:47 AM
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Part of it was a reaction to the previous Olympics.

In 1998 the Canadian team had a bunch of grinders and solid defense-first players--Rob Zamuner, Shayne Corson, Scott Stevens. It didn't go so well.

So when 2002 rolled around, Gretzky and co. wanted to emphasize offense and bring in defensemen who could skate well on the bigger international rinks and join the rush.

But part of it was that Stevens' play was faltering that season--same goes for Eric Desjardins, who was another surprising omission.

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10-25-2013, 02:43 PM
  #11
Big Phil
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This was also one of those times when a youth movement was blended into a veteran team and did it well. The younger defensemen chosen over Stevens were picked for some youth, but also picked because they were actually good enough to make the team. Brewer and Jovanovski, hard to believe, were very good defensemen at this time.

I also think Stevens was better in 2000 than 2001. Not by a lot, but he was insane in the 2000 playoffs. He still had that "factor" about him in 2001 but his ability to take a game over was starting to slip a bit, as it should at that age. The right choices were made, the 2002 team was a quick team built on transition and moving the puck up the ice. Stevens did a lot of great things, but by this point of his career, that wasn't his forte.

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10-25-2013, 07:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dissonance View Post
In 1998 the Canadian team had a bunch of grinders and solid defense-first players--Rob Zamuner, Shayne Corson, Scott Stevens. It didn't go so well.
It was an amazing turn-around where the Canada went from 4-1-1 in 1998 (19 GF, 8 GA) to 4-1-1 in 2002 (22 GF, 14 GA).

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10-25-2013, 07:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Classless One View Post
I don't understand, he was the captain of NJ at the time and was one of the best D-men of those years. Why was Stevens left off?
Stevens hitting doesn't translate well into the Olympics. And that was his greatest strength.

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10-25-2013, 07:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Psycho Papa Joe View Post
Looking at that roster, it really shows how disappointing the careers of Redden, Jovanovski and Brewer ended up being. They were supposed to be the next Neids, Pronger and Blake and other than some flashes here and there, they have been disappointments. Hopefully this next generation, with the likes of Subban, Doughty, Pieterangelo and Keith fare better long term.
It was a bit of a lull for Dmen, still a hangover affect of the game changing so much to a defensive mistake free one first for Dmen in the mid 90's.

The Dmen group of the early 2010ish era looks like it could be the best ever IMO.

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10-25-2013, 08:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Psycho Papa Joe View Post
Looking at that roster, it really shows how disappointing the careers of Redden, Jovanovski and Brewer ended up being. They were supposed to be the next Neids, Pronger and Blake and other than some flashes here and there, they have been disappointments. Hopefully this next generation, with the likes of Subban, Doughty, Pieterangelo and Keith fare better long term.
being that all four of those guys have already peaked higher than redden, jovo, and brewer ever did, i'm not so worried.

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10-26-2013, 12:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quoipourquoi View Post
It was an amazing turn-around where the Canada went from 4-1-1 in 1998 (19 GF, 8 GA) to 4-1-1 in 2002 (22 GF, 14 GA).
Ha, I don't think I'd ever realized those were the actual stat lines. Funny what the difference between an embarrassing national failure and a rousing success amounts to.

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10-26-2013, 02:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quoipourquoi View Post
It was an amazing turn-around where the Canada went from 4-1-1 in 1998 (19 GF, 8 GA) to 4-1-1 in 2002 (22 GF, 14 GA).
It's clearly a decline. The differential is worse.

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10-26-2013, 02:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dissonance View Post
Ha, I don't think I'd ever realized those were the actual stat lines. Funny what the difference between an embarrassing national failure and a rousing success amounts to.
Team Canada 2002 improved with every game. Goal scoring was not a problem for them once they got their feet wet. In 1998 it was a problem.

2002 is unique where as it seems like this is a team that would have lost 5 games if it played 100 more. That's how good I think they looked against the Americans. The climaxed the way a team is supposed to. 1998 was a team built solely to beat the Americans. So yeah, it was a significant difference in teams.

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10-26-2013, 05:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
Team Canada 2002 improved with every game. Goal scoring was not a problem for them once they got their feet wet. In 1998 it was a problem.
Or maybe it has little to do with the exchange of Scott Stevens and company for Eric Brewer and a lot more to do with playing Belarus in the semifinals instead of the Czech Republic? Belarus let in 32 goals in the other five games they played in the 2002 tournament; the Czech Republic let in just 5 goals in their other five games in 1998. Canada in 1998 beat Belarus by a large margin in round robin play, and Canada in 2002 still couldn't beat the Czech Republic when they met them in round robin, so nothing really changed there except the order in which they played the teams. Still couldn't score more than two on Finland in 2002. Still beat the USA by a three-goal margin. Scored more on Sweden in 1998. Beat Kazakhstan in a blowout in 1998 but barely beat Germany in 2002.

Canada in 2002 isn't some magical team that learned how to gel under the tutelage of an Emilio Estevez or a Kurt Russell.



Interesting note: Wayne Gretzky made up his mind about four of the defensemen in early 2001. Scott Stevens would go on to be the Norris Trophy nominee at the end of the season (along with the retiring Ray Bourque) while the four players Gretzky mentioned were having injury problems and holdouts in 2001. Stevens wouldn't have looked out of place to have been named at the time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sports Illustrated, March 3, 2001
The star and owner of the National Hockey League's Pittsburgh Penguins was joined by defensemen Rob Blake of the Colorado Avalanche, Scott Niedermayer of the New Jersey Devils, Chris Pronger of the St. Louis Blues and forwards Paul Kariya of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, Owen Nolan of the San Jose Sharks, Joe Sakic of the Colorado Avalanche and Steve Yzerman of the Detroit Red Wings.

"There's always controversy in players selected," said Gretzky, the executive director of the Canadian national team. "We felt in selecting these eight players ... that these eight players will don the sweater and play extremely well for us and be a big part hopefully of bringing us a gold medal."

Among the toughest players to leave off the list was St. Louis defenseman Al MacInnis, Gretzky said.

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10-26-2013, 08:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quoipourquoi View Post
Or maybe it has little to do with the exchange of Scott Stevens and company for Eric Brewer and a lot more to do with playing Belarus in the semifinals instead of the Czech Republic? Belarus let in 32 goals in the other five games they played in the 2002 tournament; the Czech Republic let in just 5 goals in their other five games in 1998. Canada in 1998 beat Belarus by a large margin in round robin play, and Canada in 2002 still couldn't beat the Czech Republic when they met them in round robin, so nothing really changed there except the order in which they played the teams. Still couldn't score more than two on Finland in 2002. Still beat the USA by a three-goal margin. Scored more on Sweden in 1998. Beat Kazakhstan in a blowout in 1998 but barely beat Germany in 2002.
As I said, this was a team that improved within each game. 2002 was a far different team than 1998. 2010 did the same thing. Heck, now that we're on topic, 1972 did the same thing. Lots of Canadian teams don't just jump out of the gate. Sometimes it takes a while. With this team it took a while. The final game against the Americans showed this. That team really should have put the game to bed in the second period. Mario somehow hitting the post, Fleury deking out the American defenseman, pulling a move on Richter that made him lose his glove and then losing the puck. A 5-on-3 in the 2nd period. How USA managed to come out of the second period with just a 3-2 deficit is beyond me. Remember, they played only 6 games, not a lot of time to get used to each other but they played their best game against the next best team at the most important time. And to look at the names on that roster, it is hard to believe it wouldn't have happened that way. This team was clearly the best team on paper in this tournament, and as we saw, on the ice as well.

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10-26-2013, 10:43 AM
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He was going to be 38 that year and at the twilight of his career, his best days where behind him more or less.

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10-27-2013, 01:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Psycho Papa Joe View Post
Looking at that roster, it really shows how disappointing the careers of Redden, Jovanovski and Brewer ended up being. They were supposed to be the next Neids, Pronger and Blake and other than some flashes here and there, they have been disappointments.
I never really understood people's love affairs with Brewer (and Morris) at the time. A non-zero number of people around the game seemed to be under the impression they'd wake up one day and Brewer would have transformed into a meaner Raymond Bourque overnight.

It was so strange. I never saw anything from him that indicated this was even a remote possibility. Jovanovski, yeah. He very occasionally would show flashes of brilliance. But Brewer was sort of just a guy doing his job adequately and never looked capable of more than that, to me at least.

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10-27-2013, 08:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billybudd View Post
I never really understood people's love affairs with Brewer (and Morris) at the time. A non-zero number of people around the game seemed to be under the impression they'd wake up one day and Brewer would have transformed into a meaner Raymond Bourque overnight.

It was so strange. I never saw anything from him that indicated this was even a remote possibility. Jovanovski, yeah. He very occasionally would show flashes of brilliance. But Brewer was sort of just a guy doing his job adequately and never looked capable of more than that, to me at least.
Brewer made the team because of Kevin Lowe's input only, Redden was clearly a notch ahead in 2001-2002.

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10-27-2013, 10:16 PM
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Brewer made the team because of Kevin Lowe's input only, Redden was clearly a notch ahead in 2001-2002.
I'm sure Redden was, but Kevin Lowe wasn't the only person trying to sell Brewer as a franchise D in the making. The very notion of anyone believing that at the time confused the Hell out of me.

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10-28-2013, 12:30 AM
  #25
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I think most of the reasons have been stated here already, but here are a few articles from between November 2001 and January 2002 to complement what has been said and give us a clear picture of what Hockey Canada's reasoning was:
Quote:
Deserving players left off Olympic roster: [Final Edition]
LeBrun, Pierre. Kingston Whig - Standard [Kingston, Ont] 17 Dec 2001: 18.

Wayne Gretzky said Saturday that Team Canada had a list of six players ready to join the Olympic team in case of injury.

...

Wade Redden of Ottawa and Derek Morris of Calgary are probably the two defencemen in question, with Scott Stevens of New Jersey an outside possibility, while Alex Tanguay of Colorado, Anson Carter of Edmonton and Mark Recchi of Philadelphia should be the three forwards.

...

lack of mobility

Stevens, 37, was a victim of age and his lack of mobility on the big ice. He wasn't great in Nagano in '98 so there was no reason to think he'd be better four years later.

He said he wasn't too disappointed.

"I had a great experience the last time," he said. "I'm just going to take the break and spend time with my family and get ready for the stretch drive. I'll be cheering for them."
Quote:
Ominous rumblings at Olympic deadline: There's doubt that Canada will opt for youth, speed, skill: [Final Edition]
Willes, Ed. The Province [Vancouver, B.C] 14 Dec 2001: A73.

...

While details are a little fuzzy, the intelligence circulating in hockey circles is that TC's front office suddenly is enamoured of a couple of proven veterans, and that a group of richly deserving youngsters are on the outside looking in. This group includes the Canucks' Ed Jovanovski.

If that's the case, the men entrusted with our national team learned nothing from '98.

"All things being equal, you go with experience," assistant general manager Kevin Lowe said at the Team Canada training session in Calgary in September.

And, if all things are equal, that's fine. But if you think Scott Stevens is a better player than Jovanovski, or Derek Morris or Eric Brewer at this stage, I'm not sure you should be picking our national team.

Again, this is far from a certainty, but the rumblings have it that Stevens, the sturdy plowhorse from New Jersey, has taken one of the two available blueline spots (Rob Blake, Scott Niedermayer, Chris Pronger are in; Al MacInnis and Adam Foote are locks) on Team Canada.

Stevens, to be sure, is a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer. He's also 37, struggled mightily in last year's Stanley Cup finals and has been exceedingly average this season on a slumping New Jersey side.
Quote:
Olympic roster: Who and when?: [Final Edition]
Dowbiggin, Bruce. Calgary Herald [Calgary, Alta] 06 Dec 2001: F3.

...

Based on their play early in the season, defencemen such as Scott Stevens, Jay McKee, Wade Redden, Richard Matvichuk and Ed Jovanovski will need some above them on the depth chart to be injured if they're to make the trip.
Quote:
The Great One's team: [Final Edition]
LeBrun, Pierre. Daily Bulletin [Kimberley, B.C] 29 Jan 2002: 6 / FRONT.

...

Gretzky wanted a team that blended youth and experience with the emphasis on speed and skill -- especially on defence.

Say hello to Brewer and Ed Jovanovski, a pair of young blue- liners who skate like the wind. Gretzky said goodbye to gritty veteran Scott Stevens, a player whose game didn't fit the mould of this Team Canada.

Gretzky passed over the NHL's all-time winningest coach in Scotty Bowman and picked Pat Quinn for his head coach because he thought Quinn would share his vision of a quick-transition team.
A combination of Stevens' less-than-impressive play prior to the roster selection, an emphatic desire from Hockey Canada to approach their team differently than they did in 1998, and age kept the veteran defenseman off the 2002 Team Canada roster. Gretzky and co wanted a quicker team and didn't feel Stevens would fit their needs at the time.
Quote:
Works Cited

Dowbiggin, Bruce. "Olympic Roster: Who and when?" Calgary Herald: 0. Dec 06 2001. ProQuest. Web. 28 Oct. 2013 .

LeBrun, Pierre. "Deserving Players Left Off Olympic Roster." Kingston Whig - Standard: 18. Dec 17 2001. ProQuest. Web. 28 Oct. 2013 .

LeBrun, Pierre. "The Great One's Team." Daily Bulletin: 0. Jan 29 2002. ProQuest. Web. 28 Oct. 2013 .

Willes, Ed. "Ominous Rumblings at Olympic Deadline: There's Doubt that Canada Will Opt for Youth, Speed, Skill." The Province: 0. Dec 14 2001. ProQuest. Web. 28 Oct. 2013 .


Last edited by JetsAlternate: 10-28-2013 at 12:37 AM.
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