Not exactly Flyer-centric, but something I've been thinking about for a while now. Apologies. Need to get it out of my system.
If you're like me, you immediately got tired of everyone jabbering on about the Canadian Olympic selections. Yes Giroux should be there and Marty St. Louis as well; guy just dumped 4 on the Sharks haha.. Yzerman, 'no I don't want to play favourites.' Idiot. But this post isn't to scrutinize those selections, it's about selecting several Provincial teams that would play-off every Olympic year to represent Canada.
Imagine how exciting that would be!
A few things first; Ontario.. relax on the hockey players, there's too many. I decided that the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) should have it's own team, and leave the rest of the province to select a non-GTA-born team. I could've made 4 teams out of the abundance of players from Ontario, but I limited it to 2.
As for the residents of the Maritime provinces in the East (Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island), you're ALL lumped together. There simply aren't enough players from that region. Being a Nova Scotian myself I know that we all get along relatively well. It will be a struggle for team Maritimes against the big boys even combined.
So here we go! I'm starting with Alberta and British Columbia (alphabetical) in Part 1 of a 4 Parter.
These are literally the only active goalies from Alberta in the last 2 years. Unless you want to give Chris Mason a call.. he was in the Spengler Cup over Christmas I suppose he's not out of shape yet. This is all Scrivens, Johnson and Irving are career back-ups so Alberta's goaltending is in pretty dire straits.
Definitely a World-Class defense in front of Scrivy though. I know some of you might be saying, 'who the hell is Schlemko?' But trust me he's a solid defensive guy with the Yotes and when needing someone to pair with a liability like Green (who's here solely for PP time) I'd take him. Phillips a close second in that defensive role to Schlemko, I just don't think I could put Phillips on the international ice without cringing every time an odd-man rush developed. Spurgeon might actually be better with more room considering he's a smaller guy.
Alberta is kind of thin up the middle.. Hall would have to jump in and play center. There's no way around it. That said they have some very talented wingers. You could stagger the guys on the left and right side pretty much any way you'd like to and the line-up would still be great. Whitney and Iggy might be a bit slow paired together so moving Raymond or Gallager onto the top line to provide some more top-end speed might be a good idea. However, Whitney and Iginla on the PP would be a great combo. Don't overlook Doan either, he can put a team on his back on any given night.
After Price it's a bit of a struggle. Jones has looked great in limited action and LaBarbera has been a career number-2. After that you'd be digging into AHL guys like Brad Thiessen, or Mark Dekanich.. and that's just no good. But I mean they have Price, and it's hard to argue with that.
So team B.C. have Weber.. Shea is bar-none, the number-1 Dman in the entire world. Unless Lidstrom comes out of retirement.. he just is.. don't fight it. The only thing I would be worried about with this D-corps is their mobility. This is the reason I went with Alzner and Dillon (younger options) instead of a veteran like Eric Brewer whom I feel would just be WAY too slow on an international surface. It might not be a bad idea to go with a guy like Justin Schultz or even Patrick Wiercioch instead of those last two for mobility's sake. Likely they wouldn't play anyhow.
The forwards for B.C. are pretty top-heavy, but again kind of slim through the center position. The Nuge has his ups and downs, but can be an elite play-maker which is what Benn and Kane need. Benn has looked more and more dangerous every game I watch him play, and Kane (despite his attitude) is a fantastic scorer. Turris is a guy I feel would benefit from more ice (i.e. he gets knocked for being a bit soft), and teaming him with Lucic-Ladd means he doesn't have to worry about being tough. Johansen has been a LOT better with the Jackets this year so that's why he slots in ahead of Horcoff, who's basically listed here for face-offs and PK. Fraser might even give him a run for that spot.
Feel free to comment on who was left out.. I probably missed some guys (this is a tough job!).
Next time: Team Manitoba and Team Crosby.