One team picks another

Sun Media chooses Olympic roster

By MIKE ZEISBERGER, SUN MEDIA


Sidney Crosby, left, will be a huge part of Team Canada's quest for gold at the Vancouver Olympics. (Sun Media/Jim Wells)


As the calendar slices deeper into December, the days quickly are counting down until Steve Yzerman and the Team Canada hierarchy unveil the highly anticipated roster of the 2010 Olympic team.

With only three-plus weeks remaining before Yzerman reveals his Group of 23 on New Year's Eve (if not a day sooner), Sun Media picked the brains of eight hockey scribes/columnists from across the chain to discover what the final list might look like.

The panel of experts from across the country included Chris Stevenson (Sun Media national hockey columnist); Bruce Garrioch (Ottawa Sun); Steve Simmons (Toronto Sun): Ryan Pyette (London Free Press); Ken Wiebe (Winnipeg Sun); Terry Jones (Edmonton Sun); Randy Sportak (Calgary Sun); and, yours truly.

Each panellist was asked to submit his own personal list of 13 forwards, seven defenceman and three goaltenders.

Yzerman recently indicated that many decisions already have been made, and the panel seems to agree. Almost half of the players on the Sun Media roster (11-of-23) -- forwards Sidney Crosby, Joe Thornton, Jarome Iginla, Rick Nash and Ryan Getzlaf; defencemen Chris Pronger, Scott Niedermayer, Shea Weber and Jay Bouwmeester; and goalies Martin Brodeur and Roberto Luongo -- were unanimous choices.

Without further ado, here are our choices to represent Canada in Vancouver. The number in parentheses reflects number of votes received from the eight-man panel.

Thirteen forwards

WHO'S IN: Crosby, Penguins (8); Iginla, Flames (8); Nash, Blue Jackets (8); Thornton, Sharks (8); Ryan Getzlaf, Ducks (8); Dany Heatley, Sharks (7); Mike Richards, Flyers (7); Corey Perry, Ducks (6); Jonathan Toews, Blackhawks (6); Shane Doan, Coyotes (6); Steven Stamkos, Lightning (6); Patrick Marleau, Sharks (5); Jeff Carter, Flyers (5).

WHO'S OUT: Martin St. Louis, Lightning (4); Brendan Morrow, Stars (3); Vincent Lecavalier, Lightning (2); Eric Staal, Hurricanes (2); Brad Richards, Stars (1); Ryan Smyth, Kings (1); Patrick Sharp, Blackhawks (1); Marc Savard, Bruins (1); John Tavares, Islanders (1).

SCOUTING REPORT: The final few spots remain contentious ... Yzerman recently told Sun Media that a number of combinations involving current or former teammates were emerging. Fitting that criteria is the Sharks' Marleau-Thornton-Heatley unit; the Carter-Richards duo from Philly and Anaheim's combo of Getzlaf-Perry ... Staal's bid obviously was hampered by early-season injury woes ... The panel believes Stamkos' play this season is no fluke.

Seven defencemen

WHO'S IN: Pronger, Flyers (8); Niedermayer, Ducks (8); Weber, Predators (8); Bouwmeester, Flames (8); Dan Boyle, Sharks (7), Duncan Keith, Blackhawks (7); Mike Green, Capitals (4).

WHO'S OUT: Robyn Regehr, Flames (2); Dion Phaneuf, Flames (2); Drew Doughty, Kings (1); Brent Seabrook, Blackhawks (1).

SCOUTING REPORT: The top six candidates pretty much were slam dunks ... Green's inclusion will cue debate, with critics questioning his defensive skills ... Seabrook is Keith's regular defence partner in Chicago, but that was not grounds enough to convince the panel to include him ... Doughty may be the wild card when all is said and done.

Three goalies

WHO'S IN: Brodeur, Devils (8); Luongo, Canucks (8); Marc-Andre Fleury (7).

WHO'S OUT: Dwayne Roloson, Islanders (1).

SCOUTING REPORT: Once again, pretty easy pickings ... The biggest argument will revolve around who the starter should be ... Roloson received a vote from one panelist on a "gut instinct."

MIKE.ZEISBERGER@SUNMEDIA.CA

POLL