Amid great fanfare earlier this week, Hockey Canada released the roster of players that will face an insane amount of pressure in Vancouver. I didn't promptly post this report, sorry, but what is there to say?
They are who we thought they were! And that sucks because we all thought they would be really good. This team will challenge for the gold with a balanced attack, a rock solid defense and some pretty damned good goaltenders. As well as Mmmaarrrtttyyy.
Fatso should be back in net but I am still holding out hope that he will be supplanted by Roberto Luongo as the starter. Mmmaaarrrtttyyy will certainly get at least one start against one of the cupcakes and all of the Devil fans will be able to touch themselves in glee as their boy looks good on an international stage. Against some poor team, with the best defensive corps on the planet. What a star. Greatest goaltender evarrrr, amiright?? /sarcasm
Actually, and I am loathe to say it, the Day-Glo smile of Marc-Andre Fleury could very well be the one that deserves to be beaming from Vancouver as he has been the best of the three goaltenders from what I've seen so far this season. Too bad reputation will give Tubby the advantage. Much like it gave him the Vezina in 2008.
While the Russians will have a slight edge with pure scoring talent, from top to bottom the Canadians are far better. Their "grit" guys Jarome Iginla, Brenden Morrow and Mike Richards are all NHL captains and all can put the puck in the net. Four of the five guys on the Sharks power play then Getzlaf and Perry, Cindy and Nash ... the only guy I have any issue with is Patrice Bergeron. My conspiracy theory is that Hockey Canada wanted another French Canadian on the roster so the Bruin gets the call. They can play him out of position where they wouldn't do that to Vinny Lecavalier, Marty St. Louis is getting past his prime and Steve Stamkos isn't yet near his. The guy I would have picked in Bergeron's place? Shane Doan. The guy excels in all areas, is leading the upstart Coyotes to a helluva season and has already played his guts out for the red and white. Ah well.
Some of the pundits cried foul over Drew Doughty as the seventh defenseman but let's face it, the kid is there to learn, not to play. Not with Niedermayer/Pronger, Seabrook/Keith and Weber/Boyle making a near-perfect unit. One pairing of former teammates, one of current teammates and Weber - a shooter - with Boyle - a passer.
The Canadians should start off the tournament right by blowing out Norway on the 16th and Switzerland on the 18th. They close out the opening round against the Americans on the 21st but, by then, the game may not be for much more than pride. And even then, that is all the Americans will be playing for given their roster but that is for a future post. I would go so far as to say that the gold is Canada's to lose. Booooo.