Friday, January 8, 2010


I am the Snub-nose Monkey, and I laugh on your lapels.
tr.v. snubbed, snub·bing, snubs
1. To ignore or behave coldly toward; slight.
2. To dismiss, turn down, or frustrate the expectations of.
3. to insult (someone) deliberately

Well Olympic teams got finalized while we were getting hammered on egg nog and fruitcake over the holidays. I get the feeling this year of Olympic hockey will be a lot more exciting than usual, it usually is the sleepy variety, with ridiculous scores run up against weaker opponents and rarely an upset. Maybe I'm lying, maybe Olympic hockey is exciting and I just can't remember four years ago let alone eight or twelve.

In any case, blog hero James Mirtle of From the Rink has the rosters with some notable exceptions on countries with players to spare. We'll go in order of date of release, and just mention the more interesting names...

Four NHLers... Defenseman Ruslan Salei (COL) and forwards Mikhail Grabovski (TOR), and Andrei and Sergei Kostitsyn (MTL/Hamilton Bulldogs). Thirteen players are from the KHL, with seven of those out of Dinamo Minsk the capital city KHL team. The last five players are part of the Belarusian Extraliga, the top hockey league of the former Soviet state, four of the five from Shakhter Soligorsk, and one from HK Vitebsk.

Fourteen NHLers... All three goaltenders, five of eight defensemen, and half a dozen forwards. All the rest are KHLers with four of those nine recent defectors of the NHL. FTH with the full roster and some potential line combinations.

Nineteen of the 23 man roster are NHLers... Two of three goaltenders, seven of eight defensemen, and ten of twelve forwards. Three of the remaining four are playing in Elitserien (SEL) including Peter Forsberg, and the last, former Islander draft pick Mattias Weinhandl, playing for Dynamo Moscow in the KHL.

Here's the first team with necessary roster cuts, FTR with all the hits...

The guy apparently the most pissed off is Mikael Samuelsson of the Vancouver Canucks. His quote, “I pretty much have one comment and maybe I'll regret it. But they can go fuck themselves. That's what I really think.” I fucking love that. As I've said before I think Sammy is an elite talent, but there are times when he is on the ice picking flowers. Just real fucking lazy at times, especially defensively.

A few young NHL defenseman got left off the list, (Hedman, Ericsson, Hjalmarsson, Grossman, Edler), in place of much more experienced, and mostly better, older NHL defensemen (Lidstrom, Kronwall, Ohlund), although I'm not too sure about Douglas Murray or Johnny Oduya. I've heralded Oduya for his quiet skill in the past but he's shown nothing as of late, and Doug adds size and wobbly ankles if that's you're sort of thing.

Other forwards to note, Johan Franzen, coming back from injury was left off, as was Kristian Huselius who's had a good season on yet another dismal Columbus team, and just for old time's sake I thought I might see Markus Naslund, who's playing alongside Forsberg on Modo for free.

Has only two NHLers, both defensemen, Oskars Bartulis (PHI) and Karlis Skrastins (DAL), but the team also includes two AHLers, forwards Kaspars Daugavins (Binghamton Senators [OTT]) and Martins Karsums (Norfolk Admirals [TBL]). Two more come from Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL), the German Hockey League, forward Herberts Vasiljevs (Krefeld Pinguine) and Arvids Rekis (Grizzly Adams Wolfsburg), while the rest (15 of 17) hail from the KHL, mostly Dinamo Riga, the Latvian capital city team.

One notable exception, as James notes...
One of my personal favorites, Stanley Cup winner, and current Dinamo Riga team captain, Sandis Ozolinsh. Ozo's had his share of off-ice problems, including a drunk driving arrest, and at 37, I guess they're going with youth. Raitis Ivanans doesn't even qualify as an Olympian in my mind.

As I've mentioned before in an earlier post, Norway is short on producing quality pro hockey talent, with only one current NHLer in the lineup, Ole-Kristian Tollefsen (CLB). Patrick Thoresen played for the Flyers in 2007-08, but is now in the KHL playing for Salavat Yulayev UFA. The most notable entry on the roster, Modo's Forsberg. Kristian Forsberg, that is. In fact most of the Norwegians picked play in Elitserien, eleven in total, with six from the Norwegian Hockey League, GET-ligaen, three from the DEL, and one more from the Finnish Hockey League, SM-liiga.

Thirteen NHLers in the bunch... Two of three goaltenders, five of seven defensemen, and six of thirteen forwards. Of course there's also the five NHL alumni, four now playing in the KHL, (Marcel Hossa, Branko Radivojevic, Jozef Stumpel, and Richard Zednik), and the fifth, Ziggy Palffy, playing in the Slovak Extraliga for HK 36 Skalica, the only member of the roster from that league. Eight players in total from the KHL, and from all four countries of the league, Russia, Latvia (Dinamo Riga), Belarus (Dynamo Minsk), and Kazakhstan (Barys Astana). There's also one forward Lubos Bartecko, who plays in the top Swiss League, Nationalliga A, for SC Bern.

So who got left out? Well only two pop up on Mirtle's radar...

Colorado forward Marek Svatos who's got 6 goals, 3 assists in 35 games this season and is out of the lineup injured at the moment. He's not getting much ice time this season under rookie head coach Joe Sacco, and there's speculation that his days are numbered in Colorado as his contract is up at the end of the season.

And the other... Atlanta defenseman Boris Valabik who's most famous for... wait for it... getting punched in the nuts by Sidney Crosby.

They could have picked two. San Jose wins the derby with four Olympians named to the team, (Thornton, Heatley, Marleau, and Boyle), while Anaheim (Niedermayer, Perry, Getzlaf) and Chicago (Toews, Keith, Seabrook) follow closely behind with three each.

Like everyone said, they could've put together two competitive squads, and both would have the opportunity to medal, so obviously there's going to be some pretty interesting snubs for the founding country. Jimmy knows best and weeds out all the nonsense, I'll throw out one name for D and O, and offer a substitute...
On defense, I'm taking off Brent Seabrook and putting in Jay Bouwmeester. For most people, I think this is a no-brainer, on the other hand, there's already a lot of smooth skating skill guys on the back end, (Niedermayer, Boyle, Doughty). But on the same side of the coin, Weber and Pronger are going to add more than enough toughness for Olympic competition, no need for Seabrook.
There's no way Mike Green should be allowed anywhere near this team, don't even mention his name in the same breath.

As for offense, there's plenty of great names to add, Carter, Smyth, Lecavalier, St. Louis, but I'm plugging in Shane Doan, and taking out Patrice Bergeron. Doan is just solid all the way around his game, and although the team has a lot of that veteran leadership already, I think he's pretty clutch. Martin St. Louis would be my second choice to plug in there, and Brenden Morrow would be my second choice out. Captain Canada has found a new home in LA where he's actually producing but he's still not good enough to make this team. Lecavalier normally is, but not this season, he's been flat out awful at times this year. Jeff Carter is young, and he'll more than likely be available in four years for the next team, just a victim of the numbers and the quality of talent in Canadian hockey.
Czech Republic
Sixteen NHLers in total... Two of three goaltenders, seven of eight defenders, and seven of twelve forwards. Three different NHL clubs are sending a pair, Ottawa (Michalek & Kuba), Atlanta (Kubina & Pavelec), and the Wild (Havlat & Zidlicky). There are five KHLers including Jaromir Jagr and Josef Vasicek, who is also a Stanley Cup winner, if you can believe that. And the last two are from the Czech Extraliga, goaltender Jakub Stepanek (Vitkovice Ostrava) and league scoring leader Roman Cervenka (Slavia Prague).
As for omissions, a couple of obvious names come to mind, Hejduk, Prospal, Smid, Plihal, Neuvirth, Skoula, Kreps, Frolik, Straka, Sykora, Spacek, Hanzal, Kotalik, Dvorak, Prucha, Olesz, Hudler, Hamrlik. A blend of players past their prime, and a handful just coming into theirs. Hejduk chose not to participate, but I think Hudler is probably the most glaring name in that group. I'm sure Vokoun had to wipe the tears away of more than one of his teammates.

Fourteen NHLers in all... Three of three goaltenders, five of seven blueliners, and ten of thirteen forwards. The Minnesota Wild get bragging rights by sending three (Backstrom, M.Koivu, & Miettinen), while Anaheim (S. Koivu & Selanne), Calgary (Kiprusoff, Jokinen), and Carolina (Pitkanen & T. Ruutu) are sending two. Four players are coming from the KHL including former NHLers defenseman Lasse Kukkonen (Avangard Omsk) and Ville Peltonen (Dynamo Minsk). And finally, defenseman Janne Niskala from the SEL, who plays for Frolunda Gothenburg.

This country is the new goalie factory. They are taking Kiprusoff, Backstrom, and Nittymaki, and they had to leave off Rinne, Rask, Lehtonen, and well Toskala, but that's well deserved.
Other omissions include mostly young guys just not yet good enough (if ever) to make the national team, (Korpikoski, Nokelainen, Leino, Koistinen, Jussi Jokinen).

Only six NHLers on Team Deutchland... One goaltender (Greiss [SJS]), three defensemen (Ehrhoff [VAN], Seidenberg [FLA], Sulzer [NSH]), and two forwards (Sturm [BOS], Goc [NSH]). The majority (16 in all) come from the German Hockey League, DEL, with one forward, Philip Gogulla, coming from the AHL's Portland Pirates, the farm team for the Sabres.
Christoph Schubert (ATL) and Jochen Hecht (BUF) are the only current NHLers to be left off the squad, probably for the less than spectacular seasons, but considering the rest of the lineup, you would think they would have made it. Heatley doesn't count anymore, and I don't think it would be enough anyway.

Two borderline four NHLers in the gang... Anaheim goaltender Jonas Hiller and Isles defenseman Mark Streit are the two bonafide NHLers. Defenseman Yannick Weber has spent most of his time in the AHL on the Hamilton Bulldogs but has appeared in three games for the Habs, while defenseman Luca Sbisa, who was part of the Pronger trade package that went to Anaheim, has appeared in nine games for the big club, but is currently injured for the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the WHL. Forward Andres Ambuhl is another AHL member, playing on the Hartford Wolf Pack, the Rangers affiliate. Goaltender Martin Gerber is the only roster member from the KHL, playing for Atlant Mytishchi, while defenseman Severin Blindenbacher plays in the SEL for Farjestad Karlstad. The remaining sixteen members all play in the Swiss Nationalliga A.
Hey, its Switzerland, you can't snub anybody, they're neutral. Oh, there's David Aebischer, remember him?
United States
And last but not least... The second team completely dominated by NHLers, with the Kings (Quick, Johnson, & Brown) and the Devils (Parise, Langenbrunner, & Martin) each sending three. There's no way the US is filling two competitive squads, but there were some mistakes made in these selections by Burke and Wilson.
So who got left out? James has got the list once again, and I'm going to do my swapping, once again. I'm taking Craig Anderson (this year) over Jonathan Quick (every year), that's a glaring mistake to me, but it probably won't matter since we're talking about the third spot.
I see a lot of holes in the defense, but I don't know who you plug in instead, the American's just don't have a lot of exciting defensemen to choose from. The only offensive defensemen I see on that lineup are Rafalski and Erik Johnson, the rest are stay at home guys, or aren't smart enough to pick their spots (Jack Johnson).
Get Dustin Brown and Ryan Callahan the hell out of there! I don't get why everyone thinks Dustin Brown is any good, I've never seen him do anything, except for this. Take your pick with substitutes, Connolly, Oshie, Rolston, Umberger, Modano, even Tkachuk, I'll take any of them over those two. But we're going with youth this year, so staples like Modano and Tkachuk are sent packing. We'll see how well that works out.
And there you have it. Maybe I should have called this 'National Team Distribution with a Sprinkle of Snubs' but it works none the less. Hope you enjoy. If not, fuck off.


PatsCards said...

I agree with you about Seabrook and Doan. Seabrook wouldn't be on the team if he didn't already show GREAT chemistry with Duncan Keith, who would be on the team without Seabrook. Bergeron hasn't shown that he can be the type of player he was while playing in the World Juniors, so adding a player of Doan's character to the 4th line would be much more help for Team Canada.

Now to go read the rest of the blog.

PatsCards said...

Unfortunately, Team USA is built like the Toronto Maple Leafs. Not enough fire power and, like you said, glaring holes on defense. I agree with ou with regard to Dustin Brown. Put Dustin Byfuglin in his place. I like Callahan, since he bring energy. There is no reason to leave Oshie off this team though. Maybe plug him in instead of Ryan Kesler or Joe Pavelski.

Nuuuuugs said...

You had me until Callahan. I like Byfuglien for the team, but I'm not sure he's Olympic caliber or character, if you know what I mean, for some people. But you're crazy for taking off Kesler or Pavelski.

PatsCards said...

There might be a little bit of bias towards Buyfuglin and against Kesler, since I'm a Hawks fan.