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On Saturday morning, Team Canada announced their roster for the 2004 World Cup of Hockey, and as always, there were a few surprises. As always, Team Canada is relying on some veteran leadership from the likes of Joe Sakic, Steve Yzerman, and Mario Lemieux, but is also “bringing in the youth” with the naming of Dany Heatley, Martin St. Louis, and Patrick Marleau. And then there are the omissions. As always, everyone tends to look at who was left off the team, and this article is no exception. We’ll take a look at who could’ve been picked, as well as breaking down the team itself.


First, let’s look at the goalies.

Named: Ed Belfour, Martin Brodeur, Roberto Luongo

No real surprises here, everyone knew that Brodeur will be the number one goalie, while Luongo’s stellar regular season solidified his spot. Belfour was the number 3 goalie in Salt Lake City, and should fill the same role here, but it is his veteran presence that likely won him the job over goalies like Jose Theodore or Marty Turco.

Left Off: Jose Theodore, Marty Turco, J-S Giguere, Curtis Joseph

Really, only Theodore had a realistic shot at cracking the roster, but one mustn’t overlook the abilities of the other goalies. Turco and Giguere would likely be number one goalies on any other tournament team, while Joseph didn’t have too bad a season, but when you get sent down to the minors, don’t expect to be invited to any sort of international play, especially if you’re from Canada.

Outlook: Gretzky and Co. got this right, you could put Theodore instead of Belfour, but he’d just be in the press box anyways, so in that case, it’s best to keep the veteran onboard.


Now, the defencemen.

Named: Rob Blake, Eric Brewer, Adam Foote, Scott Niedermayer, Chris Pronger, Wade Redden, Robyn Regehr, Ed Jovanovski

For the most part, there weren’t many surprises, except for Redden and Regehr. Blake, Foote, Niedermayer, Pronger, and Jovanovski have all been there before and have been stellar as always. Redden and Regehr have certainly earned their roster spots with their play this season, so there’s no beef there, and they will have limited roles anyway. That takes us to Eric Brewer, the one defenceman I am not thrilled to see on the roster. By no means is he a bad defenceman, he is an above average one, but the names you will see below will make you wonder if he’s the best man out there. But there is one thing he has that the players below do not: an Olympic Gold Medal.

Left Off: Sheldon Souray, Bryan McCabe, Adrian Aucoin, Jay Bouwmeester, Brad Stuart, Chris Phillips, Steve Staios, Derek Morris, Scott Hannan, Nick Boynton

There are too many guys here to cover separately, but topping this list, you see 2 All-Stars, the player who scored the winning goal at the World Championships, and a 50-point defenceman. Souray and Aucoin both had breakout years, and have booming shots from the point. Both are better defensively as well. Bouwmeester has plenty of international experience, but he’s young, so his omission is not that surprising. McCabe is a physical above-average two-way defenceman, but his temper has got the better of him before. In the end, Aucoin should be there ahead of Brewer, but that’s not to take away from Brewer’s abilities.

Outlook: Overall, the selections aren’t bad, Regehr may be a surprise, but he flourishes in the defensive zone, and will not be expected to carry the team on the PP. I’d prefer to see Aucoin, Souray, or McCabe over Brewer, but 7 out of 8 isn’t bad.


Finally, let’s look at the forwards, and there were some controversial picks here.

Named: Shane Doan, Kris Draper, Simon Gagne, Dany Heatley, Jarome Iginla, Mario Lemieux, Kirk Maltby, Patrick Marleau, Brendan Morrow, Brad Richards, Joe Sakic, Ryan Smyth, Martin St. Louis, Joe Thornton, Steve Yzerman

Let’s get one thing straight here, this is a scary and formidable roster, and no one critiquing this roster will say otherwise. That being said, it could be better. Scoring goals should not be a problem, with St. Louis, Iginla, and Sakic leading the way, while Morrow, Thornton, and Doan cover the toughness portion. Youth will be served by the likes of Heatley, Marleau, and Richards, while Draper, Lemieux, and Yzerman are all veterans and will lead the team off the ice. But in the case of Yzerman, should he have been named? He is out indefinitely with an eye injury, that may not recover fully. I don’t see the need to name him now, why not use him as a reserve when someone else doesn’t show? Maltby is a very good defender, but was he the best option available for a checker? Gagne is back, despite a sub-par regular season, and a rough 2002 Olympics, there were plenty of other options for him. But, experience does count in the end it seems.

Left Off: Mike Peca, Keith Primeau, Brendan Shanahan, Paul Kariya, Rick Nash, Alex Tanguay, Owen Nolan, Vincent Lecavalier, Glen Murray, Brendan Morrison, Daniel Briere, Todd Bertuzzi, Steve Sullivan, Cory Stillman, Mark Recchi

Again there are too many names to discuss individually, so let’s cut to the chase. Peca or Primeau would both be upgrades over Maltby, while Shanahan may be more useful than a not-100%-healthy Yzerman. Instead of Gagne, Canada could’ve had Tanguay, Kariya, Murray, Lecavalier, or the league’s top goalscorer, Rick Nash. There is absolutely NO reason whatsoever that Nash should be left off this team, but here we are, and he’s looking in. If anyone pulls out, Nash better be the one going in. As for Bertuzzi, he has to have been reinstated by the NHL in order to be eligible. Given the recent suspension to AHL’er Alexander Perezhogin, it is likely that Bertuzzi will have his suspension extended, which would render him ineligible for the tournament, so Canada was playing it safe here.

Outlook: Again, this is an elite team, regardless of the fact that a couple of players just don’t seem to fit in. It’s safe to say that if anyone can’t make it, there will be a plethora of more than capable players ready to fill in. By the way, notice that there are more than enough players in the “left out” section to ice a second team? That shows how much depth Team Canada has.


The World Cup of Hockey 2004 tournament begins in late August and ends on September 14th, 1 day before the current CBA expires. Coincidence? Not a chance, it was deliberately scheduled this way so that there would be less focus on negotiations. One thing is for sure though, you better enjoy this tournament, whether you’re a Canada fan, an American fan, or a fan of any other team. This hockey may be the last “elite level” play we see for quite a long time.

Questions/comments? E-mail me at [email protected].