Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Weekly Power Rankings

I come bearing good news.

This Wednesday, the 2009-10 NHL season begins in earnest as Maple Leaf nation settles in for another long and disappointing winter, full of self-deceit. "Well Gus, it looks as though this year won't pan out...but things are looking up for next year." Some of these people actually cheer for the Blue Jays all summer as well. But I digress.

With the season set to commence, we here at Canada Twenty Ten feel it our duty to provide our twentyteners with a pre-season power rankings of our boys.

By position, we have identified the players in the order of their relative security in gaining a roster spot this February.

You can count on this blog to provide a weekly Power Ranking bracket, in addition to our usual shenanigans, up until the team is announced this winter.

The Forwards:
  1. Crosby - He is the STAR of this team and could very well wear the "C".
  2. Iginla - Respected as the best leader; revered as one of the best players.
  3. Nash - This BIG guy can score BIG goals and we expect BIG things.
  4. Richards - "Mr. Everything" in Philly and Babcock's endorsement means he's a LOCK.
  5. Getzlaf - Smooth hands make him a force and possible #2 centreman.
  6. E. Staal - Strong playoff performance and can play any forward position.
  7. Carter - A goal machine last year, he's also versatile up front.
  8. Lecavalier - If healthy, he can dominate, but needs a strong start.
  9. Toews - Played every position at camp and would be a perfect fit as 13th forward.
  10. Heatley - If he can overcome this summer's drama, he will be leaned on for goals.
  11. Morrow - A warrior, if healthy he can be a shutdown guy with Richards.
  12. Doan - So much international experience, but the Phoenix situation may hurt him.
  13. Thornton - Fate very much tied to a strong start and chemistry with Heatley.

On the outside looking in:
  1. St. Louis - Little guy has a ton of heart but still may not be enough.
  2. Perry - Ripe to steal a "role" position should someone ahead of him falter.
  3. Gagne - Despite past international glory, he will need a strong start to season.
The Defense:
  1. NiedermayerA LOCK as backbone of the blueline and possible captain.
  2. ProngerNobody wants to play against this guy.
  3. BoumeesterSteady as she goes with good wheels and smart hockey head.
  4. WeberUnderrated by the casual fan, he’s big and mean with a great shot.
  5. Boyle Little guy will be counted on to lead the rush.
  6. PhaneufA return to form is necessary, but just ask Okposo about Dion.
  7. GreenGreat offensive talent but defensive ability may keep him off squad.
On the outside looking in:
  1. RegherCan replace any of the defensive-minded players in front of him.
  2. Keith A Strong start will make it hard to keep him off the team.

The Goalies:
  1. BrodeurWinningest goalie of all time just needs to stay healthy.
  2. LuongoCould be the #1 come February and would feel at home in Vancouver.
  3. Ward’09 playoffs and past Conn Smythe performance bolster his resume.
On the outside looking in:
  1. FleuryHe has a Cup and shed many of his past spastic tendencies in the crease.
  2. Mason Young guy is a viable option if those in front of him go down.

Let the festivities begin!


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Babs Blabs

Despite Bob Probert and Wendell Clark being on-hand to drop the puck, we know that not all our twentyteners out there were able to sit down, cold beer in hand, to watch last night's Hockey Night in Canada Pre-season debut. (Another "cough" Big Win for the Maple Leafs..."cough, cough")

For those who missed it, Inside Hockey's Elliotte Friedman sat down with Canada twentyten coach Mike Babcock to talk, amongst other things, about who in particular made an impression on the coach at this August's summer orientation camp in Calgary.

Friedman to Babcock: One player that stood out to you?

Babcock in reply: Ah Mike Richards...I knew because people told me, but I didn't know he was this good and this smart...they (he) do everything right and they're (he's) so competitive...he's a very very good player.

The assumption from the beginning in this household has always been that Richards is a likely candidate to centre a third or fourth line in Vancouver. But I think it is now safe to say that the former Kitchener Ranger, Junior Team, and current Flyers Captain is a LOCK to centre the shutdown unit at this winter's spectacle.

Sid and Richards...absolute locks down the middle.

Hold tight for this blog's pre'season "Who's in Who's out" lineup before the 09-10 festivities begin in earnest, mid-week.


Friday, September 25, 2009

Contrary to popular belief...

If you ignore something, that won't make it go away...

I'm talking of course about this...

I've mentioned before that we have to be negative because we're a blog. Like any good sports fan, I am superstitious. I have my rituals, and my quirks, and so because of this I didn't even bring up the point to Matty about discussing possible injuries to key players. I figured if I just stayed positive and didn't bring up any concerns about something like an injury happening, then all the boys would be fine and we'd be celebrating a gold medal in February 2010.

Well now that's gone out the window and it requires a post.

You see, the problem is that, whether the brass of Hockey Canada want to admit it or not, half this team is picked. Crosby is ON the team. Crosby could come out of the gate, get no points in the first month of the season (as if) and he'd still be on the top line come the Olympics. He's just that good, and everyone knows it. He's on the team. They're saying the injury isn't serious, but the shroud of secrecy in the NHL surrounding injuries is so ridiculous that I'm sure a ripped Achilles could be classified as a "day-to-day lower body injury" by some of the spinners out there.

The other half of the team will be made up from "bubble" guys. This gang will be playing their asses off this year in hopes of making what is surely to be one of the greatest and most hyped teams of all time.

The big difference between these groups is that these "locks" are irreplaceable. Sure, you can throw another guy on the top line, between Iggy and Nash, and I'm sure they'd be fine... but they wouldn't be Crosby. If Jordan Staal is named to the team (not saying he will be, just saying is all) and in January he tears his ACL getting hit going hard into a corner, he can be replaced by a guy like Lucic (who we love here at Twentyten) and I don't think the team suffers too much from it. Some guys can be replaced, some can't, it's that simple.

Don't get me wrong. I am definitely not wishing harm upon J. Staal or anyone else who is a possibility to make the team, I'm just starting to hit the panic button a little early on injuries to the team.

Injuries are a part of hockey, and I understand that. We can't ask our guys to go out there and play soft in the regular season, or wrap them in bubble wrap, because these guys are going to be playing hard for a spot on the roster and that's what's going to get them there. But I am going to pray to the hockey gods, and I believe you Twentyteners out there should do the same, to keep our boys healthy through this NHL season so that we can go out there with the team that is supposed to be out there, at least with the guys who we can't afford to be miss.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

NHL preseason - Catch the fever!

Although I'm not sure it's all that apt to use the word "fever" these days in a blog post, what with the ever presence of the "swine flu" having people sit inside their house to do nothing but read great blogs (read: our site), but unfortunately there has been a lack of updates recently for which we can't really be blamed.

You see, right now is the NHL preseason, and while we all LOVE hockey, is there anything more useless? Sure, it gives us time to do our hockey pools (my team, Blades of Steel aka Malkin Cookies will be looking to come back strong after a collapse in the last month of the season last year leading to a devastating 2nd place finish, but I digress). It also gives Leafs fans to go on and on about how GREAT their team is going to be this year and how they're definitely making the playoffs, as evidenced by their stunning victory last night over the defending Stanley Cup champs (without Malkin, Fluery, or Team Twentyten first liner Sidney Crosby even in uniform).

Unfortunately, this hockey fan just can't get into the preseason, and what sucks is that the media believes that the preseason is so super important and that leads to less stories being written about the Olympics, more specifically the 2010 Olympic Hockey situation, leading to less stories for us to blast on this blog... it's a serious shot at creativity.

In any case, we haven't forgotten about you, our loyal Twentyteners. Be sure to check back to the blog often or subscribe to the RSS feed, as starting soon (read: once the regular season begins) we will have our weekly rosters posted, which will be surely flip-flopping more than Jack Layton (that one is for you Matty).

Until then we'll post as much as we can, and if the mood strikes you, follow us on Twitter for insight on things not just related to Team TwentyTen. (Dewey, Matty)

Thanks for sticking with us guys, let out a "WHAMMO!!" of your own in support!


Monday, September 14, 2009

"Each man is the architect of his own fate"...or not?

As we all now know, Dany Heatley is a San Jose Shark.

Arguably bubble players, is the twentyten fate of Joe Thornton and Heatley now tied together?

In the opinion of this blogger...YES.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Where he's right / Where he's wrong / What I like

Marc Savard has broken his silence about being left off of the twentyten summer camp roster.

Where he's right: "I was pretty upset about it" - Hells yes he should have been upset about it. This guy is an elite point producer; one of the tops in the game.

Where he's wrong: "I still haven't counted myself out. So I guess that's all that matters" - Sorry Marc, despite what Stevie Y says about players not at summer camp still having a shot, anyone with half a head knows that will not be the case.

What I like: Savard is obviously determined to prove Stevie et al. wrong and come out like gangbusters to start the year. As a die-hard Bruins fan, this makes me happy.