Oly debate sure to be a blast

TED WYMAN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 1:11 PM ET

Don Cherry suggested recently that Canada could send three men's hockey teams to the Olympics and come home with three medals.

He's not far off (yes, I agreed with Grapes and Hell has indeed frozen over).

From the looks of the list of 81 players put together by Hockey Canada, which in fact would comprise three teams and 12 spares, the real difficulty will come when Wayne Gretzky and company have to whittle this star-studded lineup down to just 23 names.

The biggest conundrum will come at forward, where 12 or 13 players will be selected. Gretzky has already named Mario Lemieux and Steve Yzerman as locks, although given their fragility, that has to be debatable, and Joe Sakic and Jarome Iginla are sure bets as well.

The other eight or nine will be a second-guesser's dream and there are sure to be some major surprises. By our count, at least 20 forwards who could excel in Turin, will be left at home and that list will likely include Jason Spezza, Sidney Crosby, Eric Staal and Steve Sullivan, all among the NHL's leading scorers.

Making tough decisions might not be much fun for Hockey Canada, but the public debate promises to be a blast.

SPRINKLES WITH THAT? Precocious teenager Michelle Wie's likely reaction when LPGA officials first mentioned to her last week that there might be a DQ: "Yay, ice cream! ... Memo to self: make sure to look around for Sports Illustrated reporters before kicking that golf ball out of the bush ... Many macho people in the NHL are maintaining the same old song and dance about how visors should be a choice for players even though their absence can lead to severe injuries (see Mats Sundin). If it's about choice, why even force the players to wear helmets? Get used to it boys, visors will soon be just as standard as jock straps in your equipment bag.

TIME TRAVEL: If anyone has a time machine, I'd like to go back to April 1 and place a bet on the White Sox and Astros playing in the World Series. The odds would be, well, astronomical ... Just one major complaint about the baseball playoffs so far. There's altogether too much champagne popping. They do it when they make the playoffs, when they win the division series, when they win the LCS, when Julio Franco makes it through the night without going to the bathroom and every time the umpires actually make a correct call. Please fellas, save some of the bubbly for the truly meaningful moments, like the first time Ozzie Guillen calls for a reliever ... My new dream job is to be a member of the White Sox bullpen. Get paid millions to sit around and watch baseball ... Did you hear about Pepsi's latest idea for a commercial? A-Rod (.133) and Vladdy Guerrero (.184) compete to see who can manage the lowest batting average and the most consecutive groundouts in the playoffs. Sounds like a hot seller ... The nerve of the NBA asking players to comply to a dress code. Dress jeans? What, do they think the players are made of money?

BY THE NUMBERS: So, will there be a ceremony to re-retire Bobby Hull's number in Phoenix? What a colossal waste of time that venture was. You think maybe Brett Hull could have retired a few days earlier and saved everybody a lot of trouble? ... Gotta give the Golden Brett credit for bowing out as soon as it became obvious that he can no longer compete. But after years of whining about all the clutching and grabbing, couldn't he at least have tried to get in shape so he could enjoy it ... Brett might be receiving more love from hockey fans if he hadn't angered millions of poolies by retiring soon after they drafted him ... It's great to see a player named Steen having great early success in the NHL. Just glad Alexander is playing in Toronto and not Phoenix or they'd be unretiring No. 25 next ... On the subject of ex-Jets and soon-to-be ex-head coaches of the Pittsburgh Penguins, how about that Ed Olczyk? Not enough talent for you Eddie? ... Great news for Danica Patrick. If this whole auto racing thing doesn't work out, she could always go a few rounds with Tonya Harding on celebrity boxing.


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