When asked how he and the managerial staff would ultimately determine the roster for Team Canada at the 2009 Winter Games in Vancouver earlier this season, Canadian head coach Mike Babcock smiled.
"The thing is, we're not going to make a decision," Babcock said. "The players will as they'll decide by how they play (leading up to the Dec. 30 deadline).
"It happens every year," he continued. "What we do is come out here and start watching and watch and watch and (the players) slowly pick the team. They weed themselves out, they decide who's going to play in special roles. That's what happens every year and it's amazing. In my 21-22 years of being a head coach at all levels, it happens the same way -- whether in junior, college, the American Hockey League or the NHL. They know who the best are and they'll figure it out for themselves."
While those players having a significant impact in the first three months of the season will likely get the call to represent their country, Team Canada's executive director Steve Yzerman
will have the final say.
"There's depth and a lot of players to choose from so the challenge is trying to figure out which 13 will make the best forwards, which guys will complement one another and which players of the entire 20 skaters will be able to play with the style and way we envision the team playing," Yzerman said as he began the process. "You're really just splitting hairs between some very good players but we'll keep watching and a lot of it will sort itself out. Those last few decisions to declare a roster are the names you really spend a lot of time debating."