I had some initial reactions to this team. Strong initial reactions. Despite that, let’s make some things clear. There is no bad Team Canada. No matter who was snubbed, this is still a team that can compete for gold, and it’s a testament to the dearth of talent Hockey Canada has to pick from. This is the team that Yzerman and co decided was the best fit for Sochi, and for the big ice.
Before I get into who made it though, let’s talk about one player who didn’t.
How the hell do you leave this guy off the team. He’s versatile in that he can play centre and right wing. He’s faster than most of the team, crafty, and has vision that can only be rivalled by maybe 2-3 players in the league. He’s also got a willingness to compete and he’s fierce. Anyone who remembers his battle with Crosby in the playoffs a couple of years ago can attest to that. I just don’t see it. Over the past three years, he’s the highest scoring Canadian. 179 points in 167 games. That’s an average of 88 points in a season. An average. Jesus Christ what was Hockey Canada thinking. Over the last three years on right wing for Team Canada:
Claude Giroux: 167GP: 53-126-179 (1.07 PPG) = 82GP: 26-62-88
Steven Stamkos: 147GP: 103-74-177 (1.20 PPG) = 82GP: 57-41-98
Corey Perry: 168GP: 75-65-140 (0.83 PPG) = 82GP: 37-32-69
Rick Nash: 153GP: 60-59-119 (0.78 PPG) = 82GP: 32-32-64
Jeff Carter: 136GP: 62-31-93 (0.68 PPG) = 82GP: 37-19-56
Giroux admittedly struggled at the beginning of the season. He started the season without a goal in his first 15 games and with only seven points in that time. He was also battling an injury. In the 28 games since, he’s tallied 12 goals and 19 assists for 31 points and has singlehandedly carried the Flyers back into the post-season conversation. That’s also a 91 point pace which is similar to his last three year average. He deserves a spot on this team, there’s no excuse for this omission.
I posted earlier who I would’ve brought. That’s 10/14 forwards, 7/8 defensemen, and 2/3 goalies. That’s six players I wouldn’t have taken, but despite that I don’t disagree with all six. I can see the argument for almost everyone taken. So let’s take a look at who was picked, something everyone in the hockey world knows already.