And sorry Dan Boyle, a two-time Olympian on Canada’s blue-line, but some CBCSports.ca readers believe it’s time to get rid of some of the old and bring in new, fresh faces to join the usual suspects when they take the ice at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
While the inclusion of National Hockey League players in the Olympic tournament remains unclear, we decided to move the process forward and ask you to select 12 forwards, seven defencemen and three goalies from the list of players we provided.
Perhaps Steve Yzerman, Canada’s executive director, will follow the heed of our readers and opt for youth instead of veterans such as Iginla and Richards, who will be 36 and 33, respectively, when the Olympics begin in a year’s time.
At the forward position, it was no surprise that Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby was most popular among fans, garnering 8.37 per cent of the 64,674 votes cast.
It was Sid the Kid who lifted Team Canada to victory at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, scoring the "golden goal" in a 3-2 overtime thriller against the United States to give Canada a national record for a Winter Games with 26 medals.
In all, readers voted back 12 of the 23 Canadian players from 2010.
Chicago Blackhawks star forward Jonathan Toews competed in Vancouver and received the second-most votes (7.99 per cent) among forwards for Sochi.
Steven Stamkos, 23, and fellow youngsters Claude Giroux (25) and John Tavares (22) rounded out the top five at 7.88 per cent, 6.72 and 6.06.
They are joined by 2010 returnees Rick Nash, Eric Staal, Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf, along with newcomers Jordan Eberle, Tyler Seguin and Taylor Hall.
Defensively, 25,950 voters liked the 2010 foursome of Drew Doughty, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Shea Weber. Young blue-liners like St. Louis’ Alex Pietrangelo and Marc Staal of the New York Rangers were more popular than Boyle, while fans also would also prefer watching Pittsburgh’s Kris Letang and Chicago’s Brent Seabrook.
Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger patrolled the blue-line in Vancouver but are unlikely to play in Russia due to retirement and post-concussion syndrome, respectively. Pronger hasn’t played since Nov. 19, 2011.
Many believe goaltender Martin Brodeur won’t be back for a fifth Olympics, despite a strong start to the NHL season (2.29 goals-against average and .911 save percentage).
That means it’s Carey Price’s net, according to 2,265 CBCSports.ca respondents, after he grabbed 32 per cent of the votes.
Like Brodeur, Roberto Luongo is shining in Vancouver this season (1.53, .940) and picked up 22.41 per cent of votes, followed by Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury (19.26), who beat out Carolina’s Cam Ward (14.34 per cent), Phoenix’s Mike Smith (6.7) and St. Louis’ Brian Elliott (5.28). Luongo, Brodeur and Fleury was the goaltending troika in 2010.
Since NHL players debuted at the Olympics in 1998 in Nagano, Japan, there has been talk of how Canada could ice two competitive squads.
Check out this roster that didn’t measure up to CBCSports.ca followers:
- Forwards: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Staal, Mike Richards, Milan Lucic, James Neal, Jamie Benn, Jeff Skinner, Logan Couture, Matt Duchene, Jarome Iginla, Joe Thornton and Brad Richards.
- Defence: P.K. Subban, Tyler Myers, Dougie Hamilton, Brent Burns and Boyle.
- Goalies: Cam Ward, Mike Smith and Brian Elliott.