OK, so I lied. Heck, we all lied.
My Team Canada selections that we publicized here on NHL.com one month ago were only a rough draft, a first stab at what the final roster would look like if I, not Steve Yzerman
, had the final say for the 2010 Olympic roster.
I got some interesting feedback, a mixed bag of positive and negative. Readers lauded me for going out on a limb by picking youngsters Drew Doughty
and Steven Stamkos
, but railed on me for not selecting players like Shane Doan
, Corey Perry
, Brent Seabrook
and Mike Green
Some of you made very good points, especially about Perry, who I now realize belongs on this team. Some of you just yelled for the sake of yelling. I dig that, too. It shows passion, and even if I think it's a bit misguided, it's still passion.
With another month of evaluation in our rearview mirror, I have updated my selections and today, right now, what follows is my version of what Team Canada's roster should look like. There are some significant changes from the previous version.
Unless there's an injury, illness or something incredibly unfortunate happens, I can't see this roster changing. Consider it etched in gold, if you get my drift.
Martin Brodeur --
He's still the obvious choice because the NHL's all-time wins leader and now the NHL's all-time shutouts leader remains at the top of his game. He might even -- gasp -- be better than ever. He's the No. 1, no question about it.
Marc-Andre Fleury --
Everyone always talks about Brodeur and Roberto Luongo
in a race for the No. 1 job, but why forget Fleury? He'll be 25 at the Olympics and he's a Stanley Cup champion. He's been good all season, despite a slew of injuries that nearly derailed the Penguins. Admire his consistency and give him a chance.
Roberto Luongo --
He's had a nice run since returning from his broken rib and has started to create some noise again. Personally, I don't see there being a controversy as Brodeur is my clear cut No. 1, but Luongo has gained some steam and he deserves his shot in the preliminary games in the same way Fleury does.
Scott Niedermayer --
Nothing changes. He's not having a vintage Niedermayer season, but he's been good and he's piling up the minutes and points. With all his experience and know-how, he still gets our nod as captain.
Chris Pronger --
The Flyers haven't been great, but he has been as good as advertised. Perhaps no other team in Vancouver will have as intimidating a defenseman as Canada. He's a lock. Throw away the key.
Dan Boyle -
- A taxi-squad player in Turino in 2006, Boyle deserves to be on the ice this time around. There aren't many who move the puck or join the rush better and he's been excellent for the Sharks this season. Plus, he's a right-handed shot.
Shea Weber --
It's just too hard to find a way to leave him off this roster. He's another feared defenseman for his array of toughness, grit, power and skill. He's also a right-handed shot, and those players are essential on the blue line.
Duncan Keith --
I'm just a big fan of any defenseman who can play 30 minutes a night the way Keith does. He joins the offense and contributes with points. He shoots the puck and gets into shooting lanes. He's just an all-round solid player and Canada needs him.
Jay Bouwmeester --
There's nothing terribly exciting about him, but Bouwmeester is just really good and he can play half the game. There may be more flashy candidates like Green or Dion Phaneuf
, but he will be more reliable than them.
Drew Doughty --
After taking long, hard looks at Green, Phaneuf, Stephane Robidas
and even Kyle Quincey
and Francois Beauchemin
, Doughty just kept coming back into this spot. He's not going to be one of the best in the League; he already is.
Sidney Crosby --
A no-brainer here. If anybody argues with Crosby's spot on this team, they need to have their heads examined.
Rick Nash --
A masterful blend of power and skill to mesh with Crosby and the All-Star listed directly below him. You wish Nash didn't carry such a big minus rating, but then you understand it's a byproduct of Columbus' struggling defense and goaltending.
Jarome Iginla --
Put him with Crosby and Nash and Canada may have the most dynamic line in the tournament. He's the ultimate character player, and at least an alternate captain for this team.
Ryan Getzlaf --
Another no-brainer as our second-line center, Getzlaf and the new addition to my team, Corey Perry
, create great magic on the ice and belong together in Vancouver, as well.
Corey Perry --
OK, so he made it after all. His 19-game point streak was pretty convincing evidence. You can bet coach Mike Babcock will pair Perry with his buddy Getzlaf, and then if you add the man below on the left side, well, is that the top line or the second line? Can you really tell?
Martin St. Louis --
Still one of Canada's best weapons who can play with just about anyone. I wish he was scoring more goals this season, but Steven Stamkos
is doing a lot of that and St. Louis is setting him up. He's too good to leave off.
Joe Thornton --
For some reason I looked at all different ways to keep "Jumbo Joe" off of my roster and I managed to do so in my first draft last month. I thought he's one-dimensional and there already are so many great centers. Then you see that all he does is produce and I found that he's got to be on this team. So what if he can't play the wing? He's a center and he's a darn good one. He's on now.
Patrick Marleau --
Forget the bubble -- Marleau has done enough to earn his spot on this team. He's another high-character player who will bring great accountability to this team. He's a scorer and he's experienced. Plus, he can play center or wing.
Dany Heatley --
Heatley is happy and dominating. The move to San Jose has been great for him, and actually for Ottawa, too. We can see Babcock using him with his regular linemates, Thornton and Marleau. They've been deadly all season.
Mike Richards --
The team's shut-down center and one of its top penalty killers. His leadership also has been tested in recent weeks and Richards has stepped up in the process. I like his moxie and how he plays on the edge and with an edge.
Dustin Penner --
Here's me standing out on a big limb, but is there another wing out there that has done more to earn a spot on this Olympic team through the first 2 1/2 months of the season than the Oilers' resurgent star? He's been consistent all season. There has been no drop-off as we might have expected. He's worth more than just a look now.
-- After toying with this decision, I decided if I'm going to have Richards and Penner on the fourth line, they'll need some experience to go along with them and that's exactly what Doan brings. He's also a consistent scorer and a big body, so he can bounce up and down this lineup with ease. I didn't have him on a month ago, but that decision has been reversed.
Jonathan Toews --
Don't look at his point production, which is below a point-per-game clip. Instead, look at his overall game and all the intangibles he would bring. He can play in a checking role or an offensive role. He can play on both the penalty kill and power play. He's excellent in the shootouts. He's an ideal 13th forward, if not better.
There's my team. I think it's a gold-medal contender with its speed, size, strength, grit, intelligence, experience and goaltending.
Again, hard choices had to be made. Brenden Morrow
, Jeff Carter
, Ryan Smyth
and Steven Stamkos
were dropped from the team after making it last month. Superstars like Vincent Lecavalier
, Dion Phaneuf
, Mike Green
and Eric Staal
again didn't make the final cut.
This job is difficult, but I challenge you to fight me on any of these picks and offer legitimate reasons why any of these players don't belong in Vancouver.
Some good players -- all-stars -- were left off, but that's the nature of a 23-man roster.
Contact Dan Rosen at firstname.lastname@example.org