Thursday, December 31, 2009
Some thoughts on Stars and Olympics
A few things that come to mind when we're talking Olympics:
Congrats to Brenden Morrow. The Stars' captain, a low-key guy off the ice, was clearly excited about it. He admitted he couldn't sleep leading up to the announcement, wondering if he'd make it. Some Canadian hockey commentators had Morrow on the bubble, but most felt he'd make it. I think it's a smart move for Team Canada. He adds grit, toughness and leadership to the dressing room. He can complement just about any line and he gives them a guy who can play on special teams too.
It's easy to forget what a big deal this is in Canada. That announcement in Saskatoon yesterday was full of bells and whistles. TSN, Canada's version of ESPN, devoted a few hours to breaking down the team before they were even selected. A crowd of 3,000 showed up just to watch it and it had to be a huge ratings bonanza on TV.
These Olympics are in Vancouver, making this hockey squad a really big deal. Jere Lehtinen, who was selected by Finland, noted that as well. If you're going to play hockey in an Olympics for Canada, this is the one you want to play in. With that comes major pressure. It will be interesting to see how Team Canada deals with it.
Congrats to Loui Eriksson, Lehtinen and Karlis Skrastins who are also playing in the Olympics for their countries. All are deserving.
Lehtinen is playing in his fifth Olympics. Five Olympic Games? Wow. And this isn't some sort of "legacy" pick for Finland. Lehtinen is still one of the best defensive forwards in the game and I'm sure he'll be on the ice constantly on penalty kills.
I was hoping Stephane Robidas would make the team. I knew it was a longshot, but the guy has been steady and solid all year. You won't meet anyone tougher.
James Neal didn't make the cut this year, but you can pencil him in for 2014 and beyond. If he keeps playing the way he has, he'll be a regular on Team Canada.
Brad Richards didn't make it either. The team took a handful of centers. But Canada had so many options of guys that play the same kind of game as Richards that he didn't quite get there. Some were surprised by Patrice Bergeron and I wonder if Richards couldn't have also filled that spot. The two have similar numbers (in fact, Richards' numbers are a bit better).
What did you think of the rosters?