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So, the day has come where all the speculation, rumours, and guessing who will be on the team is over. No more erasing names, crossing some out, getting stumped by the 13th forward or 7th defenseman. Seems like Stevie Y was having the same problem the rest of Canada and the media was having, figuring those 2 players out. The debate between him and Doug Armstrong went until breakfast this morning. Well Canada, the team has been announced, and now different types of debates and speculation begin, like who's the starting goalie, what are the line combo's and most importantly: were the right players made in selecting the team that will represent us in the 2010 games on home soil.
Now, to see the team...
Patrice Bergeron, (Boston Bruins)
Sidney Crosby, (Pittsburgh Penguins) Alternate captain
Ryan Getzlaf, (Anaheim Ducks)
Dany Heatley, (San Jose Sharks)
Jarome Iginla, (Calgary Flames) Alternate captain
Patrick Marleau, (San Jose Sharks)
Brenden Morrow, (Dallas Stars)
Rick Nash, (Columbus Blue Jackets)
Mike Richards, (Philadelphia Flyers)
Corey Perry, (Anaheim Ducks)
Eric Staal, (Carolina Hurricanes)
Joe Thornton, (San Jose Sharks)
Jonathan Toews, (Chicago Blackhawks)
Dan Boyle, (San Jose Sharks)
Drew Doughty, (LA Kings)
Duncan Keith, (Chicago Blackhawks)
Scott Niedermayer, (Anaheim Ducks) - Captain
Chris Pronger, (Philadelphia Flyers) - Alternate captain
Brent Seabrook, (Chicago Blackhawks)
Shea Weber, (Nashville Predators)
Roberto Luongo, (Vancouver Canucks)
Martin Brodeur, (New Jersey Devils)
Marc-Andre Fleury, (Pittsburgh Penguins)
That's our roster. It looks like the management was going with youth (obviously after 2006 Olympics) and chemistry. Now, there are a few surprises. Starting in net, there aren't any. With Steve Mason in a sophomore slump, and Cam Ward playing on the worst team in the league, and getting hurt earlier in the year, the 3 pricked were the only ones left from the Summer Camp.
Defense, there are a few surprises. Not a single one of the three Calgary Flames defenseman was picked, and highest-scoring defensemen in the league, Mike Green, also not getting selected. Those 4 players were all bellow Drew Doughty, 2nd year defensman for te L.A Kings. He just turned 20, but from what I hear, since I'm not being able to watch L.A games, plays with the composure of a veteran. I do believe that statement, as I watched him play at the World Juniors and with the Guelph Storm. He is also thought of a more complete player than Green. Even though Green can score, Team Canada seems to have a lot of that at the back end already, and wanted someone who can play both ways, and his defense has be called 'spotty', even if it has improved. If Doughty can play both ways, he will be a very effective 7th defensman.
The defense should be very good, with Captain Scott Niedermayer with old teammate Chris Pronger, and the Blackhawk tandem of Keith and Seabrook. That's the chemistry they were looking for.
The forwards also have many surprises. There are notables that are missing, like Jeff Carter, Vinny Lecavalier, Shane Doan, Ryan Smyth, Mike Fisher, Steven Skamkos, and Martian St. Louis. The biggest surprise was the selection of Patrice Bergeron, who was not even invited to the Summer Camp, but gained attention after the World Championships playing with Sidney Crosby and his impressive play this year. Eric Staal hasn't played well this year but gets on the team ahead of Fisher, Derek Roy, and Carter, all players who have better stats than Staal. Even his brother Jordan is ony 2 points back and a +10 so Eric's -2. He could be a good 4th line center. He also seems to be more physical, but takes more penalties. I do like the rest of the forwards.
There are seven centers, so players will have to play the wing. I don't think the reason "Oh, they already got enough centermen" is a reason that Carter, Derek Roy and Fisher were left off, because they're all centermen too. So if they replace a guy like a Staal or Bergeron, the most controversial players, they will still have seven centers. Make sense?
I think Crosby, Towes, Thornton and Richards stay the 4 centermen, as they have the best faceoff percentage out of the seven (well, Bergeron is better, but will probably be the 13th man, which means he will probably be a center). Marleau can play with Thornton in the middle and Heatley like San Jose. Getzlaf and Perry will be together, along with Towes in the middle. First line will be Iginla, Nash, centered by Crosby. Fourth line will be Staal with Richards in the middle, and Morrow. Bergeron is number 13.
Defense will be Niedermayer and Pronger, Keith and Seabrook, and Boyle and Weber. Doughty is number 7.
And the goalies will be Brodeur, Luongo, then Fleury. I think though that he can overtake Luongo, based on past stats (Stanley Cup wins and appearances..Luongo can't get past the second round) and who has the hot hand.
Now, there is my take and opinion on what it will look like. It's only the beginning of the speculation of line combos, which will be settled in about a month and a half before Game 1 against Norway. Oh and the debate of players will go on, until they either win Gold...or come up short again.
Post your thoughts on the players and lines in the comments By the way, what Canadian 'Steve' has more pressure..Harper, or Yzerman
So me and Roy go toward the bullpen area, which is right in front of the hitting tent. I get back there, and Roy introduces me to three former Jays, Dave Steib, Paul Quantrill and Pat Hentgen. I was very excited to meet them all, as I watched them play on the Jays, and win back to back World Series and Cy Young winners (not Quantrill) and in Steib's case, a pitcher who pitched a no-hitter. I got their autographs on a different ball, and shook hands and got a picture with all three. Steib and Hentgen left, so me, Roy and Quantrill talked for a bit, about the same stuff covered in the dugout, and talked to Roy about how his summer was. We went to the bullpen and there was B.J Ryan, Dirk Hayhurst, Jason Frasor, Brandon League, and a few more pitchers. They talked, asked me questions, and joked around, telling stories and stuff. It was much more relaxed than the dugout because not everyone would need to play that day, unlike the dugout, as any player (other than pitcher) could be called on to hit. B.J Ryan was the funniest player there, with all his stories about how he'd never play in Arizona because of bees, and how he hates fruit (yes fruit) and how the conditioning coach told him to be healthier and get back on track after surgery last year, and made him drink a strawberry smoothie We all laughed and got a kick out of him. I couldn't imagine a big guy like Ryan, or ANY ballplayer, who can go through all these injuries and get hit by a ball when hitting or on the mound, could be scared of fruit! There are much more, but that could take too long. Well, the seventh inning ended, and that's when I had to go. Before I left I got a picture of me and Roy (now in my room) and a signed ball with "Thanks for hanging out with me today John!" and autograph.
The next day Roy pitched. I was there, 3 rows in front of the Jays dugout (and 2 rows behind Brian Burke, Dave Nonis and Joe Bowen wearing his Boston Red Sox hat, something fans didn't like) Even though Roy didn't pitch great that day, it was still great watching him so close up. After his final inning of work, to loads of applause, he looked up at me and waved, something he would never do (look up at a crowd after a inning, or acknowledge them during applause) If it wasn't to me...oh well, it was still A LOT of fun, and something I'll never forget. I'm going back next year, and hopefully Roy will be a Jay. I'll line up along the fence with everyone else wanting his autograph. I would be pretty cool if he remembers, if not, I don't blame him, its been a year. I'm going to try and get our picture signed (maybe that will remind him) or my jersey with his name on it. Anyways, it was great, I'll never forget it. I'll always be a fan of Halladay, where ever he is, and a Jays fan for the rest of my life.
P.S. I went a a Washington Capitals vs. Tampa Bay Lightning game that week. We got tickets 5 rows from the corner, where Tampa's goalie started the game. Well, in that game, Alex Ovechkin scored his 50th goal and did his celebration right near us And saw Simeon Varlamov (spelt right?) play too. That capped of a great week.
As I was leaving the clubhouse, I thought for sure my day would be over. I got all this autographs, even items from the players. I would have left a happy guy. But Dustin called me over to the bullpen area, and that's where things got better.
The player I had wanted to meet the most, is a player EVERY Jays fan would want to meet, and that's none other than Roy Halladay (aka best pitcher in baseball). There he was against the wall, and he came up to me and introduced himself, shook my hand and asked if I was having fun. I replied yes, and he said it was going to be even better. That got me really excited. We started by going into the hitter's tent, where players practice their swings off of tee-balls. We watched, and talked, asked me questions about where I'm from and if I play. We left there and waited around until the game was about to start, and we made our way to the dugout. It feel amazing, and is probably one of the greatest things I've done. I walked on the field with Roy, and pitching coach Brad Arnsburg, and they were both joking while I listened in. Best comment I heard on that walk was from Brad saying that "Hear all those fans? They're not applauding Roy, they're applauding me because I'm the guy who made Roy what he is....plus I'm the better looking one". We all laughed and Roy replied with "Yea, you keep thinking that Arnsie" and winked at me. We reached the dugout, and i met Cito Gaston, Nick Leyva, and Gene Tenace, which was great, as they were all apart of the two World Series winning teams. We sat down and waited for the game to start. When it did, we stood at the front of the dugout, hanging over the fence. Roy showed me what all the batting stuff is, and chatted and had sunflower seeds. Dustin came back and joked around, asking if I was bored with Roy yet, and if he's taught me anything. Jesse comes over and says "Well, I was his first autograph" and offers me a second one, this time on a game ball. He laughed and claimed that he must be my new favourite player, as I have two autographs of his. Dustin said Roy's a boring guy, and I probably had more fun touring the clubhouse. The dugout with those 3 felt so loose, as none of them had to play, and they went on about who was more fun, more boring, who I should be a fan of, and so on. It was a lot of fun. We started to talk about Wii (lol) and Mario Kart and what games I play, and what other sports. I'm from Canada, so I mention curling. So Roy starts talking about shuffleboard and he went to A.J Burnett's house and played shuffleboard all summer. I loved talking video games with them, as they seemed to know a lot about them.
The 4th inning was over and Roy said it was time to move to the bullpen, and I got to meet a whole new group of players i hadn't seen yet. Plus I met some old players on my walk to the bullpen.
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