Canadian Olympic squad a checklist of NHL All-Stars

Team captains, Stanley Cup champions, scoring leaders and former league MVPs round out the roster of arguably the most talented Olympic squad to travel to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

Defenseman Scott Niedermayer (pictured) will captain the Canadian national team as they seek redemption after winning gold in Salt Lake City in 2002 and then failing to capture a medal in the 2006 winter games in Turin. Canada will open the 2010 games against Norway on Feb. 16.D050660043.JPG

Patrick Marleau, Dany Heatley and Joe Thornton very well could anchor the top line for Canada as all three play together on the top line for the San Jose Sharks. Thornton currently leads the league in assists (44) and points (54) while Marleau and Heatley are both in the top five in goals with 25 and 23 respectively.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby was also selected to the team as an alternate captain. Crosby, who won his first Stanley Cup back in June, is on pace to set a career high in goals (currently with 23) and is 5th in the NHL in points with 48. Ryan Getzlaf, Jerome Iginla, Rick Nash, Patrice Bergeron, Brendan Morrow, Mike Richards, Corey Perry, Eric Staal and Jonathan Toews round out the rest of the forwards.

Canada added some grit on defense with Chris Pronger and Shea Weber patrolling the blue line. Captain Scott Niedermayer will be a great asset as a veteran leader and will help mentor young newcomers like 20-year-old Drew Doughty, whose style of play is often compared to Niedermayer himself. Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith, who play together on the Chicago Blackhawks, will undoubtedly be paired together for chemistry purposes during the tournament. Dan Boyle rounds out the defense as the fourth San Jose Shark to be named to the roster. Boyle currently has seven goals and 24 assists and is a plus-6 for San Jose.

In goal, Canada will once again look to Martin Brodeur to carry much of the load. Brodeur leads the league with 24 wins and recently broke the career shutout record when he posted shutout number 104. Roberto Luongo and Pittsburgh netminder Marc-Andre Fleury will also be in net. Fluery, a former number one overall draft pick, is having a good season but has shown he can really step up his play when it matters, like when he helped Pittsburgh clinch the Stanley Cup this past June with aggressive play and timely saves.

frozen_inside030508With so many gifted players, it will be coach Mike Babcock’s job to curb the egos in the locker room and on the ice. After failing to register a medal at the last winter olympics, expectations are high for this group and Babcock is the best man for the job. Since the lockout, Babcock has arguably been the best coach in the NHL. He has gone to the Stanley Cup Finals three times since 2002 and won the Stanley Cup once with Detroit in 2008.

More curious than who made the roster is who was excluded from this year’s roster – which speaks volumes to the depth that Canadian GM Steve Yzerman had to choose from. Martin St. Louis, who is third in the NHL in assists with 35, was left off this year’s list as was teammate Vincent Lecavelier, who has struggled in recent years with injuries. Mike Green, who leads all defenseman in scoring and harbors a plus-15 rating, was also left off of the list. Jay Bouwmeester and Dion Phaneuf were also excluded. Shane Doan, Ryan Smyth and Steve Stamkos, who is enjoying a breakout sophomore season, are other notable names left off of the roster.

With all of the talent present on this roster, expectations are high for GM Steve Yzerman and head coach Mike Babcock to produce a winning team. For all intensive purposes, there is no reason why this team should come home with anything less than gold. But similar statements have been made in the past about good teams only to have them fall short due to a lack of chemistry or a lack of big name players stepping up to lead the way. If this team plans on winning, then the best players need to be the best players night in and night out. Crosby, Iginla and the San Jose line need to be the top contributors on a nightly basis. Despite being so young, Crosby has a ton of experience in big-game situations and in international tournaments, so it will be interesting to see how he steps up as an alternate captain in tough situations – both on and off the ice.


  1. I dont like Niedermayer or Doughty. Both good players, Doughty exceptional for his age, but I like the size and strength of Phaneuf and I’m a Mike Green fan as well.

  2. I don’t know enough about Doughty to really comment on his selection, but I think they picked a good group of players that are players capable of playing well at both ends of the rink. Yzerman said that he considered Green for the team but Green still makes too many mistakes on defense and in his own zone to really warrant a selection over any of the other guys.

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