- I don't know about you, but I absolutely adore watching Dany Heatley score goal after goal after goal after goal for the San Jose Sharks. And, yes, it's got everything to do with the fact that Ottawa Senators fans despise him.
- Patrick Marleau has never played less than 74 games in one season. He's had a remarkably durable career.
- I hope Rick Nash regrets signing his extension with Columbus. He should have been a Toronto Maple Leaf.
- Joe Thornton, Sidney Crosby and Jarome Iginla are about as automatic as it gets.
- The Anaheim Ducks drafted Ryan Getzlaf 19th overall in 2003, and Corey Perry 28th overall that same year. They don't get enough credit for it.
- Thanks to his immaculate resume, Brad Richards wins over Mike Richards. Plus, the less Philadelphia Flyers the better.
- Brenden Morrow, Mike Fisher and Nathan Horton make up my dream checking line. Morrow is Canadian ice hockey, personified. As ridiculous as that sounds. He can do it all. I've admitted it before: I've always had a slight man-crush on Mike Fisher. I love his speed. He's one Ottawa Senator I've always fantasized becoming a Toronto Maple Leaf. As for Nathan Horton, at 24, I think he's finally coming into his own. It's a bit of a sentimental pick, as I've always liked his game. I think he takes the torch from a guy like Shane Doan and does it justice.
- Apologies go out to: Vincent Lecavalier, Jeff Carter, Mike Richards, Martin St. Louis, Steve Stamkos, Patrice Bergeron, and Jonathan Toews. Even a guy like Stephen Weiss. There simply isn't enough room. There never is. Although any of those guys could have been the 13th forward, I went with Staal because playing for Carolina and Paul Maurice, he's got to be hungry. And, to be honest, I thought he punched his ticket to Vancouver with his performance in last year's playoffs. Lecavalier doesn't look hungry enough; St. Louis I'd have given more time to if the tournament was on international ice; and Stamkos is part of Canada's next crop.
- Dustin Penner? Never crossed my mind. He shouldn't have crossed yours, either.
- I don't spend time worrying about guys playing outside of their natural position. These are the best hockey players in the world. I'm sure they'll manage.
- On defence, Scott Niedermayer is a winner. Period. He makes it on merit. And while no hockey fan actually likes Chris Pronger, most of us realize he's a tough son-of-a-bitch who is difficult to play against. He's Canadian. We'll use him.
- It seems Jay Bouwmeester has quietly turned into a better defenceman than Dion Phaneuf, and something about a pairing of Bouwmeester and Shea Weber scratches me right where I itch. Want to know how tough Weber is to play against? Ask Ryan Kesler.
- I know, plus/minus is a flawed statistic, but over the past two and a half seasons, Duncan Keith is a +75. Flawed or not, that's impressive. He spends more time on the ice shorthanded than any of his Chicago Blackhawks teammates, and he puts up points. He's a lock.
- Is it a stretch to say that Dan Boyle has spent his entire career underrated?
- For the extra blueliner, I wanted to take Drew Doughty. I really did. I love Doughty. But I couldn't ignore Mike Green's numbers. As a Leafs fan, when Toronto and Washington hook up, I can't help but notice Green on the ice.
- Goalies. This one was easy. Until Marty Brodeur bloody retires, he's the man in goal for Canada. And until Roberto Luongo wins a Stanley Cup, he's the Mike Modano of the crease; no respect. As for MAF, it's time the guy got some credit. He's a back-to-back Stanley Cup finalist, and a Cup winner. A career .907 save percentage doesn't exactly get me all hot and bothered, but he's young, improving, and, most importantly, a winner. In a toss-up with Steve Mason, it's got to be Fleury.
- As for who should wear the captain's "C," my choice is: nobody. This tournament is all about checking egos at the door, and doing what's asked of you. Whether that's playing 10 minutes a game on the fourth line, or sitting while Mike Babcock runs five defenceman in the third period, it doesn't matter. This team is stocked with talent, and stocked with captains. They're all leaders. Three alternates: Scott Niedermayer, Jarome Iginla, and Sidney Crosby.
December 23, 2009
Well, why not?
Dany Heatley Joe Thornton Patrick Marleau
Rick Nash Sidney Crosby Jarome Iginla
Ryan Getzlaf Brad Richards Corey Perry
Brenden Morrow Mike Fisher Nathan Horton
Extra: Eric Staal
Scott Niedermayer Chris Pronger
Jay Bouwmeester Shea Weber
Duncan Keith Dan Boyle
Extra: Mike Green
*A tip of the hat to Drew/Lloyd the Barber from Ghostrunner on First for the stellar vocabulary. It's been added to my lexicon, and being used unsparingly.