“Rick Nash might be a polarizing choice for top line duty with Crosby and Stamkos especially after his previous playoff performance, but its hard to argue with the mix of size, skill and ability to drive the net and create space for Crosby to operate. He played with Crosby in 2010 and the 2 combined for 12 points in 7 games.”
Through out the rest of the line up, we have guys in a lot of different positions. I wanted to make sure I iced the best 14 skaters I could up front, and ended up selecting a ridiculous 8 natural centres. Half of them will obviously step into wing roles, those players being, (Steven Stamkos, John Tavares, Ryan Getzlaf and Matt Duchene) The players I chose to put down the middle I feel are best suited there because of propensity to win face-offs. Here are how the natural centres stacked up last year in face-off circle,
This illustrates the importance of players like Jonathan Toews and Patrice Bergeron. Puck possession is paramount in hockey, and I feel sometimes it can be over looked. Toews and Bergeron will be the two best face-off men at the Olympics this year, either one of their lines can and probably will act as a shut down line versus the opponents top line on any given night. Could I write about face-offs for another 1000 words? You bet, but I’ll spare you!
Taylor Hall is a guy both of us have making the roster, Ian’s profile picture in this article doesn’t give much away about his identity, but I will say he lives in a Western Conference market and see’s a lot more of Taylor Hall than I do, here is his impression,
“Hall might be the biggest reach pick in my lineup, but a quick look at the failure of Team Canada in 2006 on the bigger ice surface, serves as the biggest reminder of why he should be included. Only Chris Kunitz had more points playing left wing than Taylor Hall (9th in total league scoring) and the kid can flat out fly. Some might point to Hall’s struggles at the World Championships playing for Lindy Ruff and say this will hurt his chances, but that is precisely what the World’s are for, learning. Combine that with the new coaching Hall will receive with Dallas Eakins and I think Hall makes this team.”
Well said Cousin, I think Hall has taken a bit longer to mature as a complete NHL hockey player then many had thought he would after being selected 1st overall in 2010. He’s trending up based upon his performance last season in the shortened lock out year. I could easily see a hot start to 2013 landing him a key roll as a scoring winger on this team. Logan Couture is a guy Ian has on his 3rd line who I had a really hard time leaving off my roster. It came down to Couture and Marchand for my last spot, and I decided to give it to the little ball of hate in an attempt to maintain a bit of diversity in skill sets possessed by my bottom 5 forwards. I have Matt Duchene on my team, who plays a similar style to Couture, so I went the Duchene-Marchand combination.
On the Canadian blue line we once again only disagreed on roles outside of one spot. Ian has Dan Hamhius in his 2nd pair, I left him off all together and have Travis Hamonic as a bit of a sleeper choice for the final defense spot. My Hamonic selection was purely based on preference, I view him as one of the up and coming young defensemen in the NHL and believe he has a legitimate shot at sneaking onto this team! Now listen to Ian tell you why I’m wrong, and Hamonic won’t have a chance to take the final spot because of Hamhius’s presence in the top 4!
“If Hall is the biggest reach for forwards, Hamhuis might be the most unconventional name on the backend. Chemistry is a factor in this tournament with short preparation timelines and having played with Weber in the past in Nashville, Hamhuis’ skill set should make him a strong contender for February 2014 duty on Canada’s blueline.”
This guy love’s his chemistry right? A natural Walter White in the making errrr? Well for his wife’s sake, I hope not! He’s right though, there is not a lot of time in tournaments of this nature for a team to gel. Putting together the most talented players doesn’t always get the job done, these guys need to be able to play together and be comfortable with the other guys on the ice. Not much to say about the Canadian net-minders. We agree that Price, Luongo and Crawford will likely be the guys, with Price and Luongo battling it out for the right to start. Pretty well a coin flip where we sit today in July, both guys have some legitimate concerns with consistency. Luongo got the edge for me based solely on his past Olympic experience. My heart hopes that Ian is right however, and Carey Price at least gets the chance to prove that he is a world class goaltender.
So there you have it. This is something we will definitely be revisiting in the fall as the Winter Olympics creep closer! Feel free to leave your own roster predictions in the comment box below! Like, share and tweet your heart away if you enjoyed the article.