Wayne Gretzky has announced the 26-player roster for this summer's World Cup of Hockey. You'll find the complete list here.
As predicted, Eddie Belfour is the lone Maple Leaf selected. That's the problem when your biggest stars are Swedish and Russian. Eddie deserved it.
Here are my feelings regarding the other 25. It's great to see Mario Lemieux and Steve Yzerman back for one last kick at the can. Both are glorious players I've had the pleasure of watching for years and years and both deserve to be on this team. The defense has changed little and that's a good thing. Our defensive corp is relatively young and skilled with the size necessary to wear down opposing forwards. Up front, there has been much turnover with Canada's young and fresh speedsters making their debut. I'm glad Martin St. Louis and Dany Heatley were chosen instead of overrated guys like Paul Kariya and guys on the downside of their career like Brendan Shanahan, Joe Neiwendyk and Owen Nolan. Shane Doan, Kris Draper and Kirk Maltby will form our "Grind Line" to shut down the other country's top line. You can never go wrong with fantastic Canadian hockey players like Joe Sakic, Jerome Iginla, Joe Thornton and Martin Brodeur.
On the negative side, it's a shame Todd Bertuzzi screwed his chances to make this team. He's certainly among our best forwards if you exclude his actions against Colorado's Steve More. I'm also puzzled as to why Simon Gagne was selected again. He's been a very average looking hockey player since the 2002 Winter Olympics. We just played against him for six playoff games and I hardly noticed him. Wouldn't Rick Nash have made more sense? Even Paul Kariya is a better pick in my opinion than Gagne. Then again, who am I to question The Great One?
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