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Blog: 5 NHLers who deserve to make Team Canada, but won't
This list is obviously own opinion, but you should listen to it. Why? Because I spent, like, 15 minutes on it.
A quick look at one other man's proposed final roster will tell you the guys below are barely considered, which is wrong. You don't need a Stanley Cup or a bevy of World Championship bronze medals to be worthy of an Olympic shot.
You need to be better than everyone else above you. These guys are.
Simply put, no other forward in the National Hockey League brings the same combination of size and speed (*videos below) to the table. You could say Kane doesn't have the stats to support his candidacy, and maybe some are convinced he's not the best player on his own team (Ladd's good, but seriously?), but 47 goals in his last 122 games (on a very, very, very mediocre Winnipeg Jets) team is impressive in its own right.
If anyone in Canada were to watch Kane on a regular basis, they'd be shocked at how Hart-worthy he is on most nights. Kane's well-timed offensive outbursts were the only reason Winnipeg pushes for a playoff spot in 2013, and he'll repeat that, starting in October.
Imagine Kane and his albatross-like wingspan flying down the left side in red and white, blistering a wrist shot without even a wind up above Henrik Lundqvist's right shoulder. He's Canada's Pavel Bure.
Still, it would take a miracle for the kid to go from orientation camp reject to full-time Olympian, and that's a shame.
When Benn has the puck, he's not letting go (*again, video below). He's slick and powerful – gigantic on skates – and (like Kane) he does a whole lot without a supporting cast.
Benn is a completely dominant player with reach and a shot that always finds the net, like an even younger Ryan Getzlaf.
No disrespect to Patrice Bergeron, but more folks should pay attention to the other guys who make him go, and one of them is that Little Ball O' Hate, Brad Marchand. (*You know the drill. Video below.)
He's faster than everyone and he's indestructible. He doesn't wear down and he's been an All-Star when put in a playoff position.
(If Canada wins gold in 2014, they'll need to play a maximum of six games, meaning it is a playoff series. 82-game guys like Patrick Marleau, Martin St. Louis, or Joe Thornton need not apply.)
Bergeron is a stable guy, but he's the king of the jungle that feeds off Marchand's killings. Simply put, it would be terrifying for Russia, Sweden, Finland, the Czechs, or those darn Americans to have to even think about dealing with Brad Marchand on a daily basis.
(And, hey, if you want to put him on a line with Bergeron, I won't fight you.)
Alex Burrows, Vancouver – Like Marchand, but without a ring. Also like Marchand, Burrows can play centre, either wing, or the point on the powerplay.
Matt Duchene, Colorado – You want slick puckhandling, playmaking, and speed, as well as a proven point-getter on the big ice? Duchene's your man.
I'll admit it... this one's a stretch.
Not because Petrol (that's what I call him / We tight) doesn't deserve to make it, but because there is a good chance he will. Still, we're told Doughty, Keith, Weber, and possibly P.K. Subban have already been pencilled in.
That leaves only two starting spots for Kris Letang, Brent Seabrook, Jay Bouwmeester (seriously?) and Pietrangelo to battle for.
If it's me, I'd put Petrol above even Subban. I know the Habs star won the Norris last year, but he was a bubble consideration for Canada before the lockout.
Pietrangelo could rise like a phoenix in a few short months and get his name etched on a jersey, but it will be darn tough.
Dan Hamhuis was invited to camp because the Canadian brass clearly respect his game and think he's a fine player, but it's so much more than likely he'll be on his butt for two weeks in February.
Maybe Yzerman really thinks he deserves a spot on Canada's blueline. That would be nice. Still, there are public perceptions and pressures that come into these kinds of selections, and it's going to be very hard to justify the inclusion of Hamhuis – who is only regularly watched by a very loyal fanbase on Canada's west coast – over Subban or Bouwmeester, and especially over Stanley Cup champions like Letang or Seabrook.
Still, if Canada's coaches want a fast, incredibly smooth skater with excellent puck possession, Hamhuis should be their guy and one of their only guys.
He can also make that coveted long pass better than any d-man since Nicklas Lidstrom, and that might be more important than foot speed on the big ice.