Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Canada and the Worlds

There hasn't been much to celebrate for Hockey Canada since Vancouver
Hockey Canada president Bob Nicholson made headlines this week when he spoke out after Canada's quarterfinal loss as totally unacceptable, and indicated that a few players that chose not to come to Europe had reasons that were a little lame. He didn't name names, but he did mentioned that Hockey Canada and Canada have been pretty good to those players through the Under-18, the World Juniors and Olympic Games.

These comments were Canada's version of Rene Fasel's article 'Saying No To Your Country' when the IIHF president criticized NHL players that declined to play in the tournament. Frustration is bound to mount on Hockey Canada after a 7th place finish at the 2010 Worlds, and a 5th place finish this year. Last time Canada failed to make it past the quarterfinals in back-to-back years was 2000 and 2001. Following the 2001 loss, it was noted that 60 players had declined General Manager Lanny McDonald's invitation to play for Canada at the tournament. Canadian goaltender in that tournament, J.S. Giguere, even made a few comments that he hoped those players felt guilty for not choosing to play raised a very good point for why more players should play in the Worlds:
"This tournament gives players an opportunity to get better, visit a new country. It should be important to represent your country."
Bob Nicholson also spoke out at this tournament after their 6th place finish:
"I love the way the Edmonton Oilers approach this tournament. They want their players competing in April and May. We need more (NHL) organizations looking at this tournament that way."
It was noted that failing to reach the semifinals at the 2002 tournament cost the CHA 300,000 Swiss francs ($296,520 Cdn), money that would have gone back to minor hockey in Canada, the same minor hockey that developed the NHL stars who make millions today.

Aside from injuries and needed surgeries, NHL players should want to be playing and trained to play hockey in April and May, as their ultimate goal would be playing until June in the Stanley Cup Finals. If they are too tired after the regular season to want to go play a few games in Europe, I might question their work ethic as a general manager of their NHL club. As for the experience, we think it would be one hell of one for a young player to have. Not only do you get to rub elbows with some veterans and represent your country, but we're pretty sure this wasn't the only time Jordan Eberle tried to pick up over the tournament.

Canada did have a decent team this year, but you have to wonder what players declined and what their excuses were. Some of those below may have been victims of a near-full roster after being eliminated from the playoffs, but there were a few who would have known well before if they would be in the postseason and could have played in Slovakia. Here are some players that we think might have declined the call:

Stephen Weiss - probably could have committed to this tournament in December, but with his play he also might not have gotten an invite.
Matt Moulson - 31 goal scorer, usually the kind of guy Hockey Canada goes after
Martin Brodeur - redeem himself after losing starting job at Vancouver Olympics
Eric Staal - would have made a HUGE difference, and after his All-Star Draft he could have even helped pick the team
Cam Ward - his veteran presence in net could have boosted some confidence for the team
Tyler Myers - World Junior graduate, would have been a good tower of power back on D instead of Carlo Colaiacovo.
Carey Price - Carey likes to party and Europe has a great party scene - would have been a good mix.
Michael Cammalleri - A 4 time representative for Canada, twice at the Worlds, could have thrived on the big ice after a short season.
P.K. Subban - World Junior grad would have been a great addition on D over Gragnani. We could have seen him wheeling end-to-end before ending his celebration by driving one of the Skoda cars out of the building.
Kris Letang - Shorter than usual post-season for the U18 and World Junior graduate. His playoff experience could have been very valuable.
Jordan Staal - Could have played with his brothers Eric and Marc if they had all made a deal to come together.
Marc Staal - We're still dreaming of seeing the three Staal brothers on the same shift.
Jarome Iginla - Longtime representative of Hockey Canada who probably had a good excuse not to come with his family and all, but after the Flames fizzled season, he could have made the trip to Slovakia.
Mark Giordano - Solid D-man who could have committed with the first batch of players, instead of sending them over to find Mario Scalzo in Germany to play the first few games.
Brad Richards - After a 2010 Olympic snub, maybe he snubbed Hockey Canada this year around... or he was still injured.
Brendan Morrow - Did miss a late regular season game with injury as we can't see Morrow turning down the Maple Leaf.
Corey Perry - Oft-decorated in Gold while wearing the Hockey Canada logo, would have been big to have the NHL leading goal scorer on the team.
Ryan Getzlaf - Perry-Getzlaf-Nash could have been the Hoss line
Shane Doan - Always looks good wearing the Maple Leaf, could have been a good distraction from the Winnipeg-talk.
Ryan Smyth - Captain Canada who's played in the tournament injured before, may have been a victim of a full roster already after the Kings 1st round exit.
Drew Doughty - Team Canada could have used his skills on the blueline and we know they had blueline space after the 1st round of playoffs.
Duncan Keith - See above.

Surely you would take any of these guys over Mario Scalzo, Marc-Andre Gragnani, Marc Methot, Cal Clutterbuck, and Antoine Vermette.


  1. Perry, Staal, Getzlaf and toss in a Seabrook or Keith and Canada wins gold forsure

  2. I understand the older vets like Ryan Smyth and Iggy taking the tourney off to be with their young famlies

  3. This just makes me like Rick Nash even more for going over and playing every year.

  4. It's a 2 week long tournament. These guys have all summer to golf and sit around. It's over the same time the 3rd round of the playoffs start up.
    Nobody should ever turn down a chance to play for their country.

  5. Would have liked to seen Carey Price in goal for Canada

  6. Who cares about this tournament. It's only big over seas

  7. @Mike
    "Perry, Staal, Getzlaf and toss in a Seabrook or Keith and Canada wins gold forsure"

    I agree with ya and those players should have been there.


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