06/01/2014 § Leave a comment
Ok, better late than never, right?
I picked my team with one thing in mind – it’s pretty damn hard to screw this up. Everyone is going to have differences, but everything’s around the edges. The only way Steve Yzerman & co. could get this wrong would be if they did something crazy like leave Shea Weber or Jonathan Toews at home. We know that’s not happening.
Such is the depth of Canada that there are multiple players on the bubble.
1. Sidney Crosby – obvious.
2. Patrice Bergeron – another obvious.
3. Steve Stamkos – still not 100% he’ll actually be healthy, but impossible to leave behind.
4. Logan Couture – Canucks fans saw first hand what he’s capable of; he’s the real deal, both ways. Dominates.
5. Corey Perry – long list of things he does right, but he’s a scorer who kills defensively. Exactly what kind of player should be a ‘checker.’
6. John Tavares – pretty much obvious as far as I’m concerned. The real deal on offence.
7. Jonathan Toews – another obvious.
8. Patrick Marleau – like Perry, does everything right and has forever.
9. Patrick Sharp – I was shocked to discover he’s 32. Still plays like a young guy. Dominant puck carrier, strong skater.
10. Matt Duchene – we saw enough of him in the old Northwest division to know his all-around game is spectacular. Perfectly suited to be a depth guy.
11. Claude Giroux – had a rough start to the year, but when you named your team in the summer, he was on it, right? So he’s on it now. Skill, skill, skill.
12. Taylor Hall – ok here’s one of my surprises. But on the big ice, he could be a crucial player, given his blazing speed. He’s the most exciting skater in the game today.
13. Ryan Getzlaf – we know his international pedigree and he’s again dominating this season. I can’t leave him at home.
14. Joe Thornton – I’ve gone back and forth on him, but Jumbo Joe, as a fourth line forward, could be an incredible game breaker. It was him or Jamie Benn. (I understand the argument for Benn; you could sub him in for any of these last three.)
Just missing out: Eric Staal, Jamie Benn, Martin St. Louis, James Neal. Guys have to be left behind.
Duncan Keith: obvious
Shea Weber: obvious
Alex Pietrangelo: the new golden boy, now 100% obvious
Drew Doughty: obvious given everything we know about his international skill set AND his NHL skill set.
PK Subban: apparently not obvious to everyone, but if Doughty is valued for his skills, so should be PK.
Dan Hamhuis: don’t need to explain to Canucks fans how he’s pretty much the calmest defender you’ve seen. Has made some gaffes this season, but there’s also been a magnifying glass on him.
Jay Bouwmeester: a controversial choice, but those wheels and solid defensive work for a top notch team can’t be ignored.
Marc-Edouard Vlasic: Generally considered the most underrated defenceman in the west; he doesn’t have the two-way game as others and so I was leavning heavily toward Kris Letang but Letang’s struggled with health all year. If Letang is actually 100%, he goes instead.
Just missing out: Dion Phaneuf, Brian Campbell, Kris Letang
Roberto Luongo: Obvious, assuming his ankle is ok.
Carey Price: Obvious, given his rebound this year.
Jonathan Bernier: he’s earned it. An outstanding season for the Leafs, pushing aside James Reimer, who has been almost as good. I could, in fact, see Reimer as the new 3rd if Luongo is no good. (Of course, we know that Mike Smith is going to go, even if he shouldn’t.)