My Team Canada - Dave Bidini : 02/22/2009
An accomplished musician and writer, Dave Bidini is also a diehard hockey fan, writing a number of books and starring in documentaries with the national game as a backdrop, including Five Hole Stories, The Best Game You Can Name and Tropic of Hockey. The Etobicoke, ON native was one of the founding members of The Rheostatics, an acclaimed Canadian indie rock band that ended its run in 2007 after 25 years and 12 albums.
Goaltenders: Brodeur is a gimme, and Luongo is the heir to the crown. Turco has been lights-out the second half of this season – If it carries over to next season, he’s a no-brainer. Early practices will determine who will be Canada’s No. 1 guy.
Defense: Bouwmeester has a ton of international experience and the speed to contain the faster forwards. Boyle is small, slightly-bearded and has he’s-there-no-he’s-not speed; he’ll get points, points and more points. Green has a killer shot; he’s the best offensive defenceman in a long time. Niedermayer is the most decorated hockey player of all-time; his numbers may have slipped, but he’s to the D corps what Sakic is to the forwards. Regehr is tough, mean and skilled. Weber is smart, physical and cool under fire; he’s the hardest hitter of the bunch. Wideman is a wildcard, but he has been reliable and steady with the Bruins. The defencemen lack a super-rearguard and they’re young, but there’s enormous mobility and puck-moving ability in this group.
Forwards: Crosby is an obvious choice. I don’t know what kind of name Getzlaf is, but it means toughness, a wicked touch and playing effortlessly in the heat of the war. Same goes for Thornton. Iginla is a Hockey Canada greybeard and is a top choice to wear the ‘C’. Lecavalier is a tree; he’s got something to prove after an underwhelming Turin Games. Morrow is a dominant force down low with great speed and gold-scoring determination. Nash is huge, dominant and well-experienced internationally. Brad Richards is a veteran presence, a guy you can plug into any role on the ice. Mike Richards is a guy you can use to stabilize the other team’s big guns, the defensive stopper. Roy is future captain material and could centre a very strong checking line; he’s the 21st Century’s Kris Draper. Savard’s numbers and consistency insist he be included. Staal is fast and deceptively strong. Toews has a great international pedigree and has proven he can play under pressure. There’s certainly no shortage of talented players to choose from, but an emphasis needs to be on speed and toughness.