Team Canada - A New Generation

December 30, 2009




When you think about the 2002 Team Canada that won gold in Salt Lake City, you think about a generation of great players. Guys like Mario, Yzerman, Sakic, Shanahan and MacInnis…just to name a few. Future hall-of-famers, joined together in the prime of their careers for one defining moment. It united a country after 50 years in the hockey wilderness, and in the eight years since, has already passed into immortality.

Since that time, most of the members of that team have retired. Sure, there are a few stalwarts like Iginla and Neidermayer still around, but most have passed on…and passed the torch to a new generation of Canadian hockey superstars.

In some ways, the 2005 World Juniors represented a new dawn for Canadian Hockey. After a long drought, it was the first of 5 straight gold medals at that tournament, a streak that still continues. It was held during the NHL lockout, with the eyes of the hockey world focused on Grand Forks…and although we had an inkling of it at the time, it was also the first meeting of Crosby v. Ovechkin.

Team Canada would eventually decimate the Russians in the final by a score of 6-1. Overall, Canada never, not for one second, trailed in a game throughout the whole tournament, outscoring its opponents by a score of 41-7. It was a dominating effort, causing some to call it the greatest Team Canada ever assembled.

Steve Yzerman must agree, a member of the old guard, turning to the new, as he has selected the nucleus of that team to lead Canada to Gold in Vancouver. We can only hope that history repeats itself, that the domination continues. All together, Yzerman has pulled 7 players from that team: Crosby, Bergeron, Perry, Weber, Seabrook, Richards, Getzlaf.

Goalies
 Martin Brodeur
Marc-Andre Fleury
Roberto Luongo

Defence
Dan Boyle
Drew Doughty
Duncan Keith
Scott Neidermayer (C)
Chris Pronger (A)
Brent Seabrook
Shea Weber

Forward
Patrice Bergeron
Sidney Crosby (A)
Ryan Getzlaf
Dany Heatley
Jarome Iginla (A)
Patrick Marleau
Brendan Morrow
Rick Nash
Corey Perry
Mike Richards
Eric Staal
Joe Thornton
Jonathan Toews

It’s a team built with for a purpose, and with expectation weighing heavy on their shoulders. The disappointment of Turin, the expectation of a hockey nation, the pressure of home ice…it’s an intimindating combination. This Olympic Men’s Hockey Tournament will undoubably be the most watched event in Canadian sporting history. It’s the perfect storm, bigger than Salt Lake 2002, more apprehension than 1972…with the right mix of drama and success, this could be a defining moment for this country.

There is no questioning that this team can win it all. The key of course over such a short tournament will be finding quick chemistry, and it’s something that Yzerman has clearly taken into consideration. Yzerman elected to go with two set pieces, the San Jose line of Marleau-Thornton-Heatley, and the Chicago defence paring of Keith-Seabrook. But the search for quick chemistry goes deeper than just that. Pronger and Neidermayer have a long history of playing together in Anaheim. There is the aforementioned connections to the 2005 World Junior Team, where Crosby-Bergeron-Perry tore apart the tournament with their combination of speed and skill. Getzlaf and Perry play together for the Ducks. This is a surpisingly interconnected team, and I don’t think that is by accident.




I also notice how young this team is. I think viewing this team, it is easy to see that the lessons of 2006 have hit home for Yzerman, namely that youth and speed are where its at. There are no Todd Bertuzzi’s on this team, and clearly with the pick of Doughty, age wasn’t a negative consideration. I would think that Canada will be one of the youngest teams at the Olympics, and will almost certainly be so among the ‘7 Hockey Powers’. Comparing the roster of Canada to say Sweden or Finland shows just how much this team represents a new generation of Canadian talent.

When you ask yourself, is this roster good enough to win gold, the answer is a resounding yes. I think Yzerman has done a great job here. I feel much better about this team than I did the 2006 edition.

Now all that is left is to play the games.

I can't wait to see this squad in action.

1 comments:

Maroussia April 6, 2010 at 4:02 AM  

It will be great to watch 2010 Winter Games - Hotels, i have bought tickets from
http://ticketfront.com/event/2010_Winter_Games_Hotels-tickets looking forward to it.

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This blog is the online chronicle of our adventures leading up to, and including, the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. We hope to give you a little insight into what went into planning our trip and a first hand look at the Games from the ground in Vancouver.

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