I think Lebrun was dead on when he said they might be overthinking things by putting Kunitz on the team just because Sidney "is familiar with him."
In terms of stuff that shows up on the scoresheet (skating, passing, shooting, etc), there's nothing Kunitz can do--zip--that St Louis doesn't do better. Obliterating D on dump-ins, which Kunitz does do better than St Louis, isn't something that's wise to attempt on international ice.
I'm also not sure whose ass Nash keeps kissing to keep a mortal lock on his roster spot for these things. He was awful in both Olympics. Did nothing in 06 and probably accounted for half of Canada's turnovers in '10.
I also got a kick out of Ferraro saying they can't take both Subban and Letang because they're both bad defensively. I agree, but I've yet to see a Habs fan admit that.
- On defence, I'm surprised by the inclusion Boyle over Letang (the most obvious omission), Seabrook, and Hamhuis. They're banking on Staal regaining his form, which is fine, and I presume Hamhuis would be next up if he doesn't in order to maintain three LHed Dmen.
- Up front, I'd like to see Bergeron in a more significant role than 13th forward, and splitting up Stamkos and MSL is a little puzzling too. At least they're both there though. Couture is a pretty good selection IMO. As far as Kunitz goes, if he's on the same pace at the start of next season as he was for the majority of last season, I'll have no problem with him being there, as his play will have warranted it.
No disrespect to Chris, but if he was not playing in Pittsburgh next to Crosby, his name would never have been brought up even in the orientation. Rather have Perry, Duchene or even Hall than this guy. I think Hockey Canada knows better than a bunch of TSN panelists. I heard one of the panelists (forgot who) make a case for Milan Lucic on the big ice for Canada (LOL). Give me a break TSN.
They said Corey Perry was "not very good" at WCs two years ago. He had 7 points in 8 games and was leading the team in +/- among the forwards with +7
Anyway, based on his play last season he shouldn't be on the team.
If you ignore last year (shortened NHL Season) Perry had 37 Goals and 50 Goals (leading the league) two seasons prior to that. He played very good hockey for Canada in 2010 and has played very well on the big ice for Canada at the WC's. If he has a good start to the year, i still want him on the team next to Getzlaf.
It is sad. No disrespect to Chris, but if he was not playing in Pittsburgh next to Crosby, his name would never have been brought up even in the orientation. Rather have Perry, Duchene or even Hall than this guy. I think Hockey Canada knows better than a bunch of TSN panelists. I heard one of the panelists (forgot who) make a case for Milan Lucic on the big ice for Canada (LOL). Give me a break TSN.
Yeah, it's too bad that could never happen for Team Canada.
I picked 19 of the 23 players for the 2010 team. I think it's a much tougher proposition this time around. There are more options this time around, especially up front, and the big ice factor makes it more difficult. You still need to win the battles along the boards and in front of the net, but it's not as imperative on the big ice as it is on an NHL-sized ice surface.
Even goaltending becomes much more difficult to evaluate. The angles are different. The timing is different. There might be half a dozen goalies who are credible candidates in net. In the last two Olympics, you knew that Broduer and Luongo would be the top two goalies, and then it was a matter of finding the right personality to be a No. 3. It's out the window this time.
My picks at this time are Luongo, Crawford and Price, but Smith, Fleury and Ward are also options. Ward is tailor-made for that No. 3 role.
I have the three primary incumbents - Doughty, Keith and Weber - on D. Then it becomes a matter of finding the remaining pieces. I have Letang on the team; I love what he'd bring on the big ice. Pieterangelo is getting a lot of discussion. Staal would look good on the big ice in a sturdy role; Bouwmeester's one of those guys who'll likely be more effective on the big ice with his speed and anticipation.
I think Subban's the wildcard. If he maintains his play from last year, he should be on the team, especially if traditional IIHF rules apply, and we can dress him as a seventh defenceman. If his play tails off, he'll be in trouble. I have concerns about his ability to accept a lesser role, and I have concerns about his ability to play that steady game needed in a short tournament. I watched him throw a tantrum on the bench in the playoffs against Ottawa, and it's that type of conduct that concerns me about him.
I'm not sure about Seabrook or Boyle. Seabrook struggled in 2010; he could be even in tougher shape on the big ice. Boyle's play slipped last year; I'm not convinced he'll be able to regain the form we're used to seeing from him. Francois Beauchemin was an all-star last year, but I don't think he's in the mix. Guys like Phaneuf and Mike Green don't seem to be getting much discussion, in part because they're risky propositions in short tournaments.
Dan Hamhuis might be a nice darkhorse pick if you're looking for a solid, steady defenceman in a short tournament. It'll be interesting to see if a young defenceman (like Schultz or Hamilton) plays his way into consideration like Doughty did four years ago.
Up front, one of the biggest challenges will be finding centres who can shift to wing. Canada has an abundance of outstanding under-30 pivots. And while there are some strong candidates for the wings, the depth isn't as good as it is up the middle.
We know who the locks are. I wouldn't pick Kunitz. I'm not sure if he'll be able to keep up on the big ice. It's great that he and Crosby dominate in the NHL, but Kunitz could be a hindrance on big ice in the Olympics, playing against teams that don't have a weakness.
Logan Couture was my darkhorse pick until he was included on TSN's team. World class hockey sense who can play at centre or wing. And I do think Perry will be there. He's a terrific goal-scoring winger (something we don't have an abundance of) who thrives in front of the net.
If this was being played on small ice, a guy like Andrew Ladd would be an intriguing darkhorse pick, but on big ice, he's likely not much of an option. I'd also be hesitant to select Mike Richards or Jeff Carter, despite their excellent hockey sense. (It's so hard to not advocate a reunion of the Richards-Toews-Nash superline from the Vancouver Games).
One notable snub on the TSN list was Taylor Hall, but by the time December rolls around, and it's time to pick the team, he will be there. He's skilled, he's a great skater and he's a gifted goal scorer. He's tailor-made for Sochi.
There might be 12-15 players in the mix for the final few spots among the team's forward ranks. It'll make for a very interesting start to the season.