Well my roster that I would have picked wasn’t exactly like Don Hay’s. Of course I would have had Brett Connolly and Devante Smith-Pelly (the latter is a HUGE addition weather I include the pun or not!), but at the time I wrote my first blog on the team I wasn’t aware they would be made available. And my whiff on forgetting about Brendan Gallagher and putting Tyler Toffoli on the team was embarrassing.
What I do like is that there is, as I said in my previous blog about the juniors, a LOT more skill. It’s a pretty sick top 6 up front and a pretty great top 4 on the backend. But I do have some concerns with Hay’s team.
First let’s know that it’s not just Hay picking this team. I’m pretty sure Don gets the most say in who is on the club but make no mistake there are a lot of politics going on to help separate these kids and a lot of guys getting there opinions in. But back to the team…
First of all to me the biggest shock was Ryan Murphy being cut. This is a kid that nearly made the team last year, in fact a lot of pundits said he should have been on the team. He brings a lot of offense, a lot of speed, and was the 12th overall pick in the 2011 draft. I was stunned, but after hearing that they were looking for safe guys before the final cuts were made I said to a friend “it will be interesting to see what happens with Ryan Murphy”, and sure enough…
3 other cuts got made that I flat out HATE. Matt Dumba (one of the first cuts), Brad Ross, and Tyler Bunz. I will start with Dumba who I really believed wouldn’t just make the team but would really leave his mark before the tournament was done. I would have had Dumba as the 7th d-man. Don’t let his size fool you, while only listed as 6’0, 185 pounds he is a brick on skates. A punisher who brings a ton of energy and offensive ability.
I remember when Ross was drafted and I seen the label “dirt bag” next to his name. Trust me, that was a complement. And he hasn’t let up since he has been drafted. A Darcy Tucker type player, a PERFECT guy for the 4th line role.
What I don’t like about these 2 getting cut is that they would have been big spark plugs that the last 2 teams (both good teams but facts are facts, they didn’t win gold) lacked. Jordin Tootoo (03), Dion Phaneuf (04, 05), Steve Downie (06, 07), P.K. Subban (08, 09) brought big time life to there teams. In my opinion (one that the Team Canada brass clearly doesn’t agree with), when you can get your hands on these types of guys you take them. I wasn’t at the camp, I can’t say if either guy had a good camp or not, but there body of work speaks for itself.
And then we had Tyler Bunz. This is going to be short and sweet with Bunz. He has been the best out of this bunch in the CHL for the last year and a half. I read today he didn’t have a great camp and Wedgewood did. Awesome job by Scott Wedgewood to rise to the occasion, and if he is given the chance I hope he makes this argument irrelevant. But I really don’t know how you can take a guy based on 4 days work. Especially when you consider Bunz reputation of being a battler and rising up when challenged.
But that’s all in the past now. This is the team Don Hay has to roll with. It’s a very safe team, much like how last year’s was built. 2 scoring lines, 2 checking lines, last 3 d-men picked are all safe stay at home guys, as many 19 year olds as they could fit in. If they win, awesome! I won’t give a damn that they didn’t take some of the guys I thought they should and will be more than happy to admit I was wrong. It will be tough. The Americans and Russians will be tough outs, but I would put Team Canada as the slight favorites.