A look toward Vancouver, 2.0

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Last year about this time, we projected what the rosters for the top seven hockey-playing countries would look like for the upcoming 2010 Winter Olympics (and reposted it in October). Well, now is a pretty good time to take a second look at those roster projections and make any necessary adjustments.

Instead of doing all seven teams in one gargantuan blog post, we are doing this over the course of a few days. We’re down to the final two, and up first is the home team for this event, Team Canada. Our neighbors to the north will have a raucous crowd behind them every night – and the weight of an entire nation’s gold-or-bust expectations to deal with.

CANADA

Forwards

Dany Heatley-Sidney Crosby-Jarome Iginla

Rick Nash-Ryan Getzlaf-Martin St. Louis

Jonathan Toews-Mike Richards-Shane Doan

Jeff Carter-Vinny Lecavalier-Corey Perry

Eric Staal-Brendan Morrow

Just missed: Joe Thornton, Simon Gagne

Defensemen

Scott Neidermayer-Chris Pronger

Duncan Keith-Shea Webber

Dion Phaneuf-MIKE GREEN

Jay Bouwmeester

Just missed: Dan Boyle, Drew Doughty

Goaltenders

Roberto Luongo

Martin Brodeur

Chris Osgood

Just missed: Cam Ward

Skinny: As discussed before, there will be many, many great players left off this team. In fact, just trying to cut down to the group that will be invited to the team’s summer camp is not easy. Finding the right mix of guys, namely having some solid two-way guys and selfless players willing to take on lesser roles, has been an issue in the past.

The first thing that jumps out about the forwards are all the centers. We’ve got six natural centers in the top 12 and that doesn’t include Staal and Thornton, who could certainly be in that group. Carter and Toews are goal scores, so it seems like they could shift to the wing. Heatley has been a beast in international play, and St. Louis was great at the most recent world championships.

Morrow is a Team Canada favorite, but he has to prove he’s healthy enough this summer. Thornton could be the odd man out because his play in the postseason is not inspiring. Steven Stamkos could also be in the mix with a great start.

This will be the top defense corps in the tournament, and GM Steve Yzerman has plenty of all-star options. If Neidermayer wants to play he’s a lock, as are Pronger, Keith and Weber. Phaneuf had a down year, but here’s guessing he comes back big this fall.

For Mike Green, this could come down to him or Dan Boyle in a head-to-head matchup of sorts. Both are offensive-minded, right-handed shots and are the two of the top guys in the world at carrying the puck at that position. Green needs a big summer camp to alleviate concerns about his poor postseason.

Picking between Luongo or Brodeur won’t be easy, but remember where this tournament is being played – it would seem to be a tough call to not let Bobby Lou play in that city. Still, there will be no favoritism on this team.

How will this turn out for the Canucks? Well, a silver medal would cause nationwide sorrow and angst. There will be no shortage of talent, and an infusion of youth could be the difference.

Wednesday: Time to wrap this up with the Capitals-heavy squad from Russia

PREVIOUS ENTRIES

- June 3:  Czech Republic

- June 4:  Slovakia

- June 5:  Finland

- June 8:  Sweden

- June 9:  United States

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