Tuesday, June 30, 2009

U.S.A. Hockey: An homage to MGMT

One word: Kids...and lots of them.

The U.S. only invites three goalies to camp this summer. This will be a battle for the top spot between the cool and calm Miller, and the drunkin sailor (god love him...whatta good B)Timmy Thomas.

At a quick glance, not a heralded crop of D-men, but ask anybody I talk hockey with and they'll tell how much I love that Ornery Orpik, and despite coming off a desperate season, that Komisarek. What can ya say about Rafalski as well, the guy is smooth.

Parize was the jewel of my fantasy team last year, and whatta dynamic guy on the ice he is. Lots more young talent up front...along with D-men.

Still some great leadership in guys like Modano and Langenbrunner to boot.

This, as the very least, will be a fun team to watch take shape and play in twentyten.

"My Life in Hockey"...the next chapter

You can chalk this one up to pure class. Jean Belliveau, "Le Gros Bill" will serve as honorary captain of Canada's twentyten Olympic Hockey team, and I don't think there is anyone in the country who could fathomably shake their head at this one.

My mother has long told me that growing up, she routinely listened to her father (my late grand-dad) talk with the utmost respect and admiration about the man who led the Canadiens to 10...yes 10 Stanley Cup victories. I, in fact, had the priveledge to meet Belliveau, oh....I'm gonna put it at 13 or 14 years ago, when he was in Fredericton signing autographs for his book, "My Life in Hockey". I still have that photo of me with Belliveau, as well as the signed book in my room in Fredericton, and I still treasure the opportunity to have met one of Canada's classiest historical figures. It's a worthwhile read for anyone who's even a marginal fan.

We all know of how former Prime Minister Jean Cretien tried to have Belliveau installed as both a Senator and Governor General, only to have the dignified giant of Canadian culture respectfully decline. But somehow, Stevie Y and co. was able to entice the legend into the fold.

I like it. I hope they can still find a place for Joe Sakic as well...who know's, that may be on the ice.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Masked men in the words of Stanley Cup winning Assistant Coach, Pierre McGuire

Here, yo boy (Dewey), Pierre McGuire talks up Canada's twentyten goalies.

I agree that Price has played poorly and is outta contention. Osgood is also a "non-starter" (to steal the oft-used words of Brian Burke) in any twentyten talk.

Brodeur and Roberto are in, I think. That leaves Ward, Fleury...and what about Mason, Pierre? - he deserves mention - to compete for the third spot.

Oh...and if you're a fan of any of the 30 NHL teams, get excited because undoubtedly that team's first round pick will provide a huge boost to the overall dexterity, mobility, heart, intensity, active-stick ability, KABOOMability of that team. (Yes...that's a McGuire bash in advance of this evening's draft)

"Serious" consideration

Matty's Post from just the other day led us all to this link from our old friend Pierre McGuire where he talks about the possible defensemen for team TwentyTen. Here's his piece on Chris Pronger:
Chris Pronger (Anaheim Ducks) - He has to be seriously considered because of his veteran presence and the fact that he had a good playoff. He's a big game player. He also called me after I named my team [in February] and said "I'm going to make this team. I know I'm not on that list and I don't deserve to be on the list right now, but I'm going to be there."
First off, I'm surprised that a guy like Pronger would be that worried about what old P might think about who is and isn't on his team, and I really am not just looking to rain all over his parade in the hours leading up to what is one of his most exciting events of the year, the NHL draft (although I'm sure he'll have us all excited tomorrow night as our respective teams draft their future all-stars), but REALLY? "Has to seriously be considered?". Matty and I were talking about this tonight, and neither of us think there's anyway that you can't have Pronger on the team. Forget his veteran leadership, forget his "big game" ability. While those definitely contribute, so does fact that Chris Pronger is considered one of the dirtiest players in the NHL.

While his presence on the ice alone may not strike fear in the hearts of our European foes and what is sure to be an undersized squad of US opponents, he will be in their minds when they step onto the ice with him. It's things like this that give Canada a great advantage when they can get opposing players off their game. While I don't have access to the players directly, I'm sure that a quick survey with players from Canada and abroad, if I asked "name one defenseman you would love to have on your team, but would hate to be playing against", the name Chris Pronger would come up more times than not.

Oh, and he's also a pretty good defenseman with a more than decent shot from the point.

Come on Pete, this guy's gotta be on the team.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Mr. Clean talks forwards meow

Oh thank the good lord that Pierre McGuire is still talking twentyten hockey...forwards this time.

Oh Pierre, what an insightful comment you make about Sid.

Also...count how many times he uses the word "unbelievable" in his assessment of players. Yet another one to add the McGuire lexicon...along with KaBoom, active-stick, dexterity, Double-Dion and the like.

The Fab Four

"Yzerman is also expected to confirm that Ken Hitchcock, Lindy Ruff and Jacques Lemaire will assist Babcock behind the bench."

I like the make-up behind the bench.

Babcock has proven himself a winner at every level, and seems well at ease behind a bench rife with veteran talent and young stars in Detroit (much like the make-up of what the twentyten team will be).

Hitchcock has one the big dance as well, and just put the Columbus situation on sure footing.

Lindy is a firecracker and will no doubt bring much needed energy and charisma to braintrust

*Hitchy and Lindy have been two of the best "quotable" coaches over the past decade as well.

The choice I REALLY like is Lemaire. Cool, calm, collected and sage...he'll bring a valued and wise approach, with an emphasis on defensive responsibility that this team will need to be cognizant of.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Mr. Active Stick talks D-Men

Pierre McGuire...boo!!!

Just for the record, I think Pronger is a lock.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

No surprise here

Stevie Y passes his first test, in my opinion. Team Canada twentyten has the bench boss it needs.
Hitchcock as an assistant...my guess is that Lindy will round out the brain-trust.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Joe CAN go

Ok Ok Ok, I've solved the problem we've been having over the past few weeks in our deliberations about whether or not Joe Sakic should be a part of Team Canada in twentyten.

Brian Burke, you're a shrewd ole bird, hard as nails, but you've given me an out. Over the weekend it was announced by Burke, the US Olympic Team boss, that Chris Chelios...yes Chelly, that tireless, long streak of misery...will be joining the US team in a yet to be defined "off-ice role" in Vancouver. See here.

What a well-measured and smart move by Burke. He knows that the US team will be rife with talent, but he also knows that all those young kids who are sure to make up the bulk of the team will benefit from the presence of the battle-tested and sage Chelios.

This got me thinking...why does Yzerman not extend his hand to Burnaby Joe in much the same way that Burkie did to Chelly. We here, have been going back-and-forth for the past months over whether or not there is a spot on the team for Sakic, should he decide to give it a go this coming season in Colorado. Now, Joe is not the same type character as the fierce and ornery Chelios. But, let us not forget that it was Sakic who took the team on his shoulders in the gold medal game in Salt Lake City, scoring two goals and playing a big part in two of Iginla's in that game. He then captained the team in 2006 (let's forget about the result). The guy (Sakic), in my estimation, is one of the most underrated players in the history of the NHL. One of the most consistent gamers, albeit quietly done, that this game has ever seen.

While, Burke tries to figure out what role Chelios will play on the US team, I think that Stevie Y should be considering just where Sakic - a B.C. native and fan favorite of many Canadians - will sit as he builds his team for next February.

Monday, June 15, 2009

At a stand Staal

Friday night I witnessed one of the best games I've ever watched on TV. This can be for one of two reasons. The first of course is my unabated hatred for the Red Wings of Detroit, and second is because maybe it was actually just a great game. In fact, the whole series was great, and a pleasure to watch aside from game 5 and the Osgood interviews.

While watching the games though there was a player who stood out in my mind. In fact, he stood out to me in just about every game I watched the Penguins play this post-season. With camp quickly coming up I believe that Jordan is a no-brainer to go to camp. That being said, I can truthfully say that I did NOT have Jordan Staal joining his brother Eric in Vancouver in some 9 months time, however, his play in the playoffs, especially in the final round, has changed my mind.

During the final round with the Kid being just squeezed to death by the Red Wings defensive superstars, Jordan really stepped up. He may have only had 2 goals and an assist in the final round, but he played such a big role for the Pens. He was out there for the big draws (his success rate wasn't great, but the coach trusted him in those situations, and really, the Wings may be the best faceoff team in the league), he was out there chequing opponents, shutting down their offensive stars, and of course killing penalties, perhaps the catalyst for turning the series around with a beautiful shorthanded goal in game 3 in Pittsburgh.

The debate arose Friday night during the game watching him play, Matty and I both agreed that Jordan HAS to be on the team and I guarantee that after seeing that series first hand Stevie Y definitely has to be thinking along the same lines.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Oh Captain, My Captain

For some now (and Dewey will confirm this), I've been saying that Jerome Iginla is without question the right choice as Captain of Canada's TwentyTen Olympic hockey team.

My reasoning was as follows: The guy is respected among his peers as the best leader in the game...a poll of NHLers earlier this year said just that. Also, the guy is heart and soul (now Dewey, I don't want to hear a tangent about heart again...it matters!). My final contention in reasoning that Iggy was to be captain, was that Sid was just not ready to shoulder that type of burden this early in his career. My thinking was that Iggy would be the perfect choice to "hold" the C for Sid until the next international event, be it the Olympics or the re-emergence of the World Cup of Hockey.

Well...all has changed within the last few days. For those of you with your heads in the sand, the Kid just hoisted the Stanley Cup as the games youngest ever Captain to do so. Not only that, Crosby was a warrior throughout the playoffs, single-handedly guiding his team through the first two rounds of the playoffs before Malkin awoke and stole the show. Plain and simple, the kid can lead. Plain and simple, Team Canada will be Sidney's team. Not that it won't be Iggy's team...but I now contend that Sidney Crosby will wear the "C" for Team Canada next February in Vancouver.

There will be those who say, "It doesn't matter who actually wears the "C", anyone who's been in a dressing room knows that unlettered guys are often the most influential to their teammates." I don't disagree. But I do believe that whoever wears the "C" in Vancouver does not just wear it for the other 22 guys in the dressing room, the captain will be the face of the entire nation. This team cannot win on home ice without the will of the entire nation. The entire nation needs to see and believe in leadership of their captain. Captain of Team Canada might be the most important job in all of hockey. The entire nation now has a leader to believe in, in Sidney Crosby. Along with Iggy, the team already has a head start on the competition.

My prediction for the leadership or next year's team:

Captain - Sidney Crosby
Assistants - Jerome Iginla & Scott Niedermayer (if Scotty boy doesn't decide to retire)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Interesting Debates and Debacles

A few of the boys from home (Fredericton represent!) were in town last night and naturally the topic of the 2010 Olympic team came up as we had a few bevys, watched the Pittsburgh Penguins get absolutely demolished and played a few hands of 45's.

What I found most interesting about the debate though was that there were three main areas of the team that the six could not seem to agree on. I'd love to have some other thoughts on these:

Defensemen. Matty and I had a very difficult time cutting our list of the top 20 defensemen down to 12, and even then we only wanted 10 but we couldn't come to a consensus on who should be at the camp. Who are your 7 defensemen that make the team?

Joe Sakic. It hurt me to omit Sakic from our list of the top 25 forwards, but the reasoning for me was that I just don't think he'll be playing. With the injuries he suffered last year I just don't know if he will come back. One of my friends argued that his age would be why he's on the team, which is another post for another day, but to generalize, I think you need to take the best available players. We learned in 2006 that tenured veterans don't always make up the best team.

Shane Doan. Is he on the team or not? He's been a stallward of Team Canada's the last few years, but I attribute that to two things. Obviously he's on a terrible team and is always first in line to play IIHF. Second, Gretzky has been "the man" and not choosing someone from his own team could potentially cause a lot of problems. I don't think he's there, but what do you think?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Proud to Support the Cause

A recent "tweet" from Matty that I saw was pointing to the blog "Of Moose and Men", a blog for our current town Halifax Mooseheads.

Without really getting a chance to read much of their content, I have to name it one of the greatest blogs on the web. Why such a quick praise?

Check out this post.

We here at CanadaTwentyTen are proud to support this noble cause, and if you're a fan of hockey, get excited like you would if you're a Buffalo Sabres fan and they've just drafted Tyler Myers and spread the word!! Join the "No McGuire's Club" today!

Quick Note: I can also be followed on Twitter here.