Familiar faces

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:25 AM ET

There were six National Hockey League general managers and coaches on the nine-man Team Canada selection committee and human nature would compel them to argue for their own players.

In the end, each man had at least one representative on the 23-man roster, but all involved were adamant that it wasn't down to Pat Quinn sticking up for Leafs, Steve Tambellini backing his Canucks or Oilers boss Kevin Lowe defending his own interests.

"As much as we all lobbied for our own, we're now all Canada's guys," Team Canada/Leafs head coach Quinn said. "Our own preferences and loyalties need to be pushed aside."

Quinn was the only one of the six not to have someone on the main roster, with defenceman Bryan McCabe named to the three-man taxi squad.

RELY ON OTHERS

Shane Doan represents executive director Wayne Gretzky's Phoenix Coyotes, Chris Pronger and Ryan Smyth for Gretzky's assistant Lowe.

"In terms of assessing your own players (for Team Canada), it's really just the opposite of what you'd think," Lowe said. "You find yourself relying more on the assessment of others, because sometimes you see too much of your own player's faults."

The other Team Canada executive, Vancouver Canucks senior vice-president Tambellini, has two players in red and white, Todd Bertuzzi and Ed Jovanovski.

Quinn's assistant coaches, Jacques Martin of the Florida Panthers and Ken Hitchcock of the Philadelphia Flyers, will be working with regular charges Roberto Luongo and Simon Gagne, respectively. Most of the players already proved their worth at the 2002 Olympics.

Bertuzzi, with the Steve Moore incident hanging over him, was a wild card, while Luongo's place as Martin Brodeur's backup was threatened by a number of strong goalies emerging in the first half of the National Hockey League season.

"Todd's in the top five in Canada as far as power forwards go," Tambellini said. "He has had emotional ups and downs and he wasn't performing up to standards at the start, but in the past three weeks to a month, he has demonstrated again that he's an elite player."

Luongo made Martin's job a lot easier by being named NHL defensive player of the week earlier this month. He has answered the Team Canada call in the past and was invited to the summer orientation camp.

Doan, who had the winning goal for Canada at the World Cup, is newer to the scene, but makes a case for himself without too much prodding from his famous boss.

Gretzky likely wanted Coyote Curtis Joseph as the third goalie, too, but Luongo and Marty Turco will be the backups to Brodeur.

"It was a difficult decision, because we had (Leafs') Ed Belfour and (Montreal Canadiens') Jose Theodore in the mix," Quinn said. "Curtis came in and was fantastic (one of the NHL's best goalies from mid-November through early December), but we simply had to pick three."


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