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Team Canada: Who's In and Who's Out


It's a Canadian Game

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blog-0179139001389147238.jpgTuesday was the day that a lot of Canadians had marked on their calendars as it marked the announcement of the roster that will hit the ice to defend gold at the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi. Steve Yzerman and the selection committee made the announcement just before 11:00am and Yzerman and the rest believe this is the team that gives Canada the best chance to win gold.

Most hockey fans have been making up their own roster of who they would take, but here is the roster that will take the ice in Sochi:

Goaltenders: Roberto Luongo, Carey Price, Mike Smith

Defense: Jay Bouwmeester, Drew Doughty, Dan Humuis, Duncan Keith, Alex Pietrangelo, P.K. Subban, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Shea Weber

Forwards: Jamie Benn, Patrice Bergeron, Jeff Carter, Sidney Crosby, Matt Duchene, Ryan Getzlaf, Chris Kunitz, Patrick Marleau, Rick Nash, Corey Perry, Patrick Sharp, Steven Stamkos, John Tavares, Jonathan Toews

Of course when a country with the overwhelming abundance of talent such as Canada is forced to put together a roster of just 25 players there are bound to be omissions and additions that many will question and argue against and this team is no exception.

In goal there is seems to be no surprises with Luongo, Price, and Smith however in other spots on the ice there are a few interesting choices that were made.

The most notable omissions to the team this time around include Tampa Bay’s Martin St. Louis, Philadelphia Captain Claude Giroux, San Jose’s Logan Couture, Pittsburgh’s Kris Letang and James Neal and Chicago’s Brent Seabrook. Meanwhile some notable admissions were Pittsburgh’s Chris Kunitz, Los Angeles’ Jeff Carter, and San Jose’s Patrick Marleau.

For team Canada it is hard to justify some players over others as the numbers of player having great seasons this year is so large. One of the most controversial additions is Chris Kunitz. Kunitz is having a great year having put up 23 goals and 47 points in 44 games so far. However it seems that the biggest reason for Kunitz being named to the team is because of the chemistry that he has had with Sidney Crosby. So the one looming question following Kunitz is, is he there simply just to compliment Sidney Crosby?

For the mean time it looks like that is the case though you can’t ignore that he has more than a point per game this year. However, one other question to consider when looking at Kunitz is if Crosby were to be injured and unable to take the ice in Sochi, would Kunitz be able to gel well enough with another centreman and vice versa? Team Canada obviously thinks so and let’s hope that they are right.

As for Carter, Carter has been one of the better shooters the past few years and is a proven finisher a great asset for any team. This season he has 26 points and 15 goals in 33 games. This means Carter is scoring almost once every two games and last year averaged what would have been over 50 goals in a full season.

Marleau is a unique pick in the sense that he wasn’t a name that garnered a lot of attention yet almost seems like a no brainer to be on the team. He has been fairly consistent his entire career and also been a great leader. Though Marleau’s numbers dipped a little last season putting up just 31 points in 48 games, this year he has put up 41 points in 43 games and seems to back at it. Marleau was also part of the team that won gold in Vancouver and will bring a veteran presence to the team as well as the ability to play in all situations for Canada.

One of the more notable omissions was Claude Giroux, in Giroux’s case it seems that his slow start may have been what plagued him the most. Giroux started off the season not recording his first goal past the 10 game mark, due in part to both his play and the poor play of the rest of the Flyers. Giroux has substantially picked up his play since and how has 38 points in 42 games, but it seems like this hot streak may have come too late for Giroux and may have caused him his spot. Former Olympians Eric Staal, Joe Thornton, and Brent Seabrook were also snubbed of spots on the team as well.

A lot of controversy arose last week after Team USA announced that Ottawa forward Bobby Ryan did not make the roster that will represent the States in Sochi, but it seems that for Canada opinions about who should and who shouldn’t have made the team have been even more intense.

However, arguments aside the team has been announced and bearing a few injuries to the team, this will be the team that will look to defend gold for Canada. A case could be made for or against almost every player named to the team and some people may just do that. Many may not agree with who all made the team, but one thing is for sure, there is no shortage of talent on this roster of 25 of Canada’s best.

Follow me on Twitter @Craig_Hagerman

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