So the announcement of Team Canada’s 2006 Olympic team had a few surprises like we knew it would.
The biggest issue seems to be the inclusion of Todd Bertuzzi on the team. Bertuzzi of course best known for his attack on Colorado’s Steve Moore that left him with a fractured neck and the inability to play hockey ever again. This will always be a sensitive issue and some people will hate Bertuzzi for the rest of his life. I do believe Bertuzzi is genuinely remorseful and apologetic for what transpired, I don’t believe it was his intention to seriously injure someone although he is still responsible for his actions. He had a stiff suspension and was also eventualy cleared legally. What else can you do? He’ll forever live with that on his shoulders and at what point do you move on? There are people vehemently opposed to his inclusion and people who are on his side, and people on the fence. I’m sure a lot of people on the fence will have no problem forgetting about all the controversy when Bertuzzi scores a game winner in overtime for Canada or delivers a bone crunching hit.
There are a few question marks on the roster, most notably on the defensive side. I’m really unsure why Adam Foote deserves to be on this team and I have reservations about Rob Blake also. Most notable because Bryan McCabe is sitting in the stands. I hate the Leafs believe me, and don’t like to give them credit in anyway, that being said – you can’t deny the type of season he is having and what kind of game he brings to the table. CERTAINLY more than Adam Foote. Foote is old and slow and having a dreadful year. You can say the same about Blake. They aren’t the same players they once were. The argument is Canada is going with ‘experience’ and players who have ‘been there’ and played under the pressure. While that might be a good idea, they’re drawing the line pretty close. Experience is good, but does it out weigh youthful exuberance and higher skill? It’s tough to call.
Canada could send 10 forward lines to the Olympics and they could all be the top line. Going into the selection process we knew some very skilled players would be left aside. Spezza and Staal are on the taxi squad while Sidney Crosby got no mention. Not to many people will argue Crosby had to be on the team at age 18. It’s harder to deny Spezza and Staal’s place. Considering players like Martin St-Louis and Shane Doan aren’t having their best years. Rick Nash is a fantastic player but has only played a handful of games this year. Again, it comes back to experience and having ‘been there before’. Should someone go down with injury and need to be replaced, we have talented guys ready to step in.
The Goalies were no surprise. Brodeur, Luongo and Turco. You can’t deny any of those players they all deserve a chance. Unless Brodeur gets injured or has a terrible start don’t expect to see any action from Turco while Luongo may get one game. Theodore deservedly so, wasn’t even on the radar screen.
That being said, a monkey could pick team Canada and still end up with a Gold medal. That’s the beauty of Canada, we are the best hockey country in the world and despite the controversy will still probably end up #1.