Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Should Politics and Demographics Influence Team Canada Olympic Hockey Selections?

Steve Yzerman and Martin St. Louis. Confidence destroyed?
Okay... a hockey post.
I don't do it often, but once a year is not an indulgence.

On Tuesday we were treated to the final list of players selected to represent Canada at next month's Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.
I've no doubt that the group put forward by those charged with making the difficult decision is eminently capable of delivering the goods, but....

Last week, Don Cherry ripped into Hockey Canada for choosing too many junior players based on provenience, (read ..Quebec) rather than taking the best players available for the World Junior Championships in Sweden where Canada came away with air, not even a bronze medal.
I don't know if it's true that there were too many players from the Quebec league, perhaps it was just a case of sour 'Grapes.'

But nobody can accuse Steve Yzerman and the rest of Team Canada managers of playing favourites or basing selections on demographics, politics or language, the team is clearly missing francophones and Quebecers, if one was to consider pure demographics.

Quebec placed just three players, where the math would say they should have placed almost 6, while the western provinces placed eleven, when demographics indicated that they should have 9 and Ontario placed eleven, against the 9.5 that demographics would indicate.
Worse still is the francophone contribution to the team, placing just two members against the six that demographics would indicate.

So there's no rumbling to be made over Quebec or Francophone favouritism here, in fact the opposite argument might be made by Francophones, that they were somehow shafted.
Now the only bone of contention is the omission of Martin St. Louis of the Tampa Bay Lightning from the roster, who in my opinion should have made the team and could easily have replaced Rick Nash or Jeff Carter, his numbers are way better.
Just yesterday, the day Team Canada snubbed St. Louis, he potted another two goals in Winnipeg.

Now St. Louis may be small, but in an over-sized Olympic rink, his attributes, speed and finesse would blossom and the emphasis on big and rugged players that seems to be the NHL formula doesn't match up as importantly on big ice surfaces.

Clearly St. Louis was a bubble player, but the negative effect of leaving him off the team, should have persuaded Yzerman et al to include him.
If Canada comes away with anything but a gold medal you can be sure that Yzerman will be scapegoated for the St.Louis snub and will never again be involved with Team Canada.
If one of the three players that St. Louis might have placed before, Rick Nash, Jeff Carter or Chris Kunitz fails to produce, the naysayers will emerge in force, especially if Canada fails to defend its gold medal.

So far, reaction in the French media has been surprisingly mild, nothing more vociferous than the complaints in the English press about the St. Louis omission.

The one exception was a stinging rebuke, written by Tom Jones for the Tampa Bay Timeswhich warned Steve Yzerman that his decision to snub St. Louis will come back to haunt him and hurt the Lightning, the team St. Louis plays for and for which Yzerman is the GM.
 Read the article, it's pretty good. Link

At any rate, I'm going to take the very unpopular position that when faced with a choice of bubble players who are six of one or half a dozen of the other, a toss up, so to speak, consideration should be given to evening up the team demographically.
Let us remember that this is a national team. 

Moving along and in anticipation of many negative comments in relation to the above position, I want to congratulate the Montreal Canadiens for sending an amazing eight players to the Olympics, the most of any Canadian team. I could not have been happier for the selection of Canadiens backup goalie Peter Budaj, who is joining the Slovakian team, probably to play his familiar role, this time behind Jaroslac Halak.
Budaj is the very model of a team player and has enthusiastically fulfilled his role with dedication, talent and an abundance of good cheer.

At any rate, the omission of Martin St. Louis on Team Canada and in fact the omission of Bobby Ryan by Team USA, may be a mistake based only on the fact that it has injected some serious second-guessing which may come into play and hurt confidence should the teams have some difficulty early.

Shoulda, woulda, coulda.....

My prediction:
Gold:     Russia
Silver:   Sweden
Bronze: Canada

I really have no faith in Roberto Luongo as number one, who never was a clutch player.
Yes he won the game where Canada won the gold metal in overtime in 2010, but let in a softie just the same.

As for softies, I cannot believe the performance of Toronto netminder Jonathan Bernier last night against the Islanders.
Bernier allowed two horrific softies and a slap shot from outside the blue line, as well as a wrister from the blue line.
When asked if he was grateful that he wasn't pulled in an interview after the game, Bernier asked the reporter to explain exactly why the reporter believed he should have been pulled. It was really surreal.

You can't win with that type of goaltending in the NHL and the Leafs should have paid the big bucks to Luongo when they had a chance.
While Luongo is not, in my opinion, a great playoff goalie, he is as solid as they come during the regular season and that is what the Leafs are in desperate need of.

Bernier is the king of the softies....Watch and wince..... Link 1 Link 2

And that readers, is it for hockey for a good long time.....


  1. UN GARS BIEN SYMPATHIQUE DE FRANKFORTWednesday, January 8, 2014 at 3:53:00 PM EST

    Editor wrote:
    "Last week, Don Cherry ripped into Hockey Canada for choosing too many junior players based on provenience, (read ..Quebec) rather than taking the best players available for the World Junior Championships in Sweden where Canada came away with air, not even a bronze medal."
    That's a misquote.
    This is what he really said:
    "“I'm telling you right now, (they won’t) take too many from Ontario. If 22 guys are the best from Quebec, we should take (them)."
    Sources: &

    Nice disinformation, Editor. Also shows your bias and reversed racism. You should move to NYC...

    1. Dude - do yourself a favor (more than do us a favor) and just fuck the hell off, seriously.

      At least the other dweebs who troll here know where they stand. Your schizophrenia is just fine where it is. Do us all a favor and please don't come back to either English or French Canada, retard.

    2. UN GARS BIEN SYMPATHIQUE DE FRANKFORTWednesday, January 8, 2014 at 4:26:00 PM EST

      Nice words, Sylvain: " just fuck the hell off, seriously." The use of profanity serves you well I see.
      Are you unpleased that I used a real quote to remind that your Editor is biased, Sylvain?
      Chill, Sylvain.
      I'm going back to Calgary in 2015, probably far from where you are, mon petit monsieur:)

    3. Hmmm. I honestly think you don't understand what you read, either Don Cherry or myself,
      Indeed Cherry they said the team should take the best players, regardless where they come from, even Quebec.
      What he complains about is taking players based on demography.

  2. What demographics are you talking about? Are you just using total population? Number of players from each province in the NHL?

    Anyway, Russia is probably the favourite but they really only have two solid forward lines and thin out pretty much after that. Canada certainly has the most depth. Who knows if that will be a big factor in a short tournament.... I would like to have seen St. Louis on the team.

    And Bernier has been living off his draft hype, he hasn't played enough games in the NHL to really know how good he is (although the Leafs are finding out).

    1. Bernier is much better than Reimer

    2. You may be right, but what are you basing that on?

    3. Bernier had six straight starts. He is also in the Top 10 of the NHL for the save %.

    4. By AnecTOTE

      "What demographics are you talking about? Are you just using total population? Number of players from each province in the NHL? "

      Are you guys kidding me? You want to play the politically correct game of selecting players based on demographics or ensuring that all provinces are covered? It is pretty sad if that's how we go about it. Shouldn't the idea be to pick players based on skill, talent and chemistry, not to mention work-ethic hunger and drive? I wouldn't care if my 14 guys came out of a hick town in PEI, if that's the most talented group and that's the winning combination of individuals then those are the guys I take with me to an international meet. Demographics and regional appeasement be damned. Mixing sports and politics is a sure way to lose but somehow this is a lesson some learn the hard way. Sports should be about honoring skill, ability and talent, not about political allegiance.

    5. @hands off my hijab

      the solution to this is to have a quebec team out there. a canada versus quebec final would be exciting to watch.

    6. This is a big issue in Toronto these days. Reimer and Bernier have almost exactly the same save % - Reimer is .923 and Bernier .926. Bernier's last two starts were both awful, 7-1 against the Rangers and in the loss to the Islanders he let in very soft goals. Reimer gets pulled after three goals consistently but Bernier is left in the games. It really seems to be more a case of reputation or "gut" than any evidence-based decisions. Well, not surprising, the Leafs are the only NHL team left that don't bother with advance stats.

    7. I need to laugh now because once again a separatist (who apparently knows nothing about hockey) is yapping about team Quebec. Never mind that:

      1. Apparently Quebec does not have enough players good enough to compete, just look at the two last Olympic rosters.

      2. Quebec-born players do not want to compete for Quebec. Just look for the aborted Coupe Quebec 2011.

      3. The International Ice Hockey Federation itself says that Team Quebec is an impossibility.

  3. UN GARS BIEN SYMPATHIQUE DE FRANKFORTWednesday, January 8, 2014 at 4:44:00 PM EST

    "Don Cherry ripped into Hockey Canada for choosing too many junior players based on provenience, (read ..Quebec)".
    "read..Quebec" is YOUR perception. Cherry never eluded to Quebec specifically. That's YOUR inject. Watch the video again...
    I know you have a clear agenda, Editor. Funny you won't admit you misquoted Don Cherry.

  4. UN GARS BIEN SYMPATHIQUE DE FRANKFORTWednesday, January 8, 2014 at 4:50:00 PM EST

    "What he complains about is taking players based on demography.

    You still had to mention Quebec in a connotation that implies that you suggest that Cherry meant Quebec as in too many players from one specific province.... "read..Quebec."

    That is why you are biased. And racist. You try to stir the pot. Fail.

    1. Sorry Cherry did allude to Quebec, you just missed the subtlety.
      Saying that if Quebec had the best 22 players, they should all be selected is a backhand compliment, meaning that if they had no players worthy, none should be taken.
      He specifically said that Ontario had excellent players who were left of the roster and yes the inference was that it was because too many QMJHL were on the roster.

      His message was clear, perhaps not to you.
      If you want to believe the Earth is flat and Cherry is a Quebec booster, I've got swampland in Florida to sell you.

    2. Cherry is clueless about hockey. Drouin and Mantha were Canada's best two forwards. Hudon and Fucale deserved to be on that team.

      Maybe you could make a case for Gauthier (who was picked in the first round pick by Toronto by the way) but even if you had changed Gauthier for a player from Ontario, Canada would still have finished in 4th place...

  5. FROM ED
    Great Comments. Six out of seven trying to clean the shit out of the head of Ars from Frankfart. Editor you should no better. You've told me often, "Don't let the trolls anger you." We take your words as they are. We see him as proving how little he knows or undestands. He is angry at his company for getting his stupid ass out of their hair by transferring him to Frankenstan so he takes ir out on us. He is mad at you because you have a brain and he doesn't. I'm sure he has brown eyes from the shit in his head. Ed

    1. stop showing off your vulgarity ed. you've got way too many excrement allusions in there.

    2. FROM ED
      Thanks for pointing out that out. You're the ome I've missed. Ed

    3. Bob Sirois where are yooooouuuuuuuu...?

  6. Normally I agree with the editor's comments on this site...but in this instance you should stick to the content of this site and not give hockey commentary. Don Cherry makes lots of dumb statements about Quebecers but this week his comments were spot on. The junior leagues go through ebbs and flows just as Canada's junior team has highs and lows. Canada can win 5 gold medals in a row because of a core group of talent and then go 4-5 years without a gold medal. Since the league's are divided into 3 groups, it's natural for coaches and personnel to want to see their talent represented on the international stage. There shouldn't be a regional quota and the best players should be chosen despite where they're from. If the Ontario hockey league happens to be the best hockey league and has the most talent then they should be chosen with a large percentage of their talent being on the team. Most of these leagues have boosters and sometimes the best talent end up in one league over the other and have better players as a result. There were several players not invited to camp who were leading the Ontario hockey league in goals and points and weren't even invited to the tournament. This should have been addressed. You can say the same thing about Canada's Olympic team where guys like Joe Thornton weren't considered yet they've played for Canada previously. International hockey experience plays a role. Rick Nash played for the World Championships several times for Canada on a large ice surface and was one of their best players. Here's a highlight goal from him against Finland. . Teams like the Czech Republic and Finland have guys such as Teemu Selanne and Peter Nedved playing for them at over 40 years of age due to the lack of depth on the roster. Canada can easily bring an A) and B) squad to this tournament. If this game were played on an NHL rink, guys such as Milan Lucic and Eric Staal would have been considered to play for Canada. Canada went with guys that can skate and that have size. Brent Seabrook wasn't chosen on defense because he's big but lacks skating speed that other more mobile defensemen possess. Nash is big but can turn on the jets and skate fast whereas St-Louis has the speed but lacks the size. In Nagano, Canada brought an experienced group of veterans who lacked speed and whose prime years had passed them by. Canada is not making the same mistake this time. Canada wanted guys who can skate fast, have some size, can be mobile on defense and move the puck up the ice fast and be familiar with each other. Crosby had a terrible start to the olympics in Vancouver because he lacked chemistry with his line mates. Kunitz would not be on team Canada if Crosby wasn't there. Guys like Thornton, Iginla, St-Louis have done well to represent Canada in the past but team Canada is looking to turn a corner and bring some great talent in their prime years. I'm sure that Giroux, Neal, Eric and Marc Staal, Lucic, Couture, Seabrook, Hall, Seguin, and many others wanted to be on the squad but there's only so many spots on the roster. As for Russia, good teams are built from the net and outward. Russia has great offensive talent but a weak defense and one goalie who had a good year in a short season and was mediocre before that. Canada won 7-3 in Vancouver. I would be more worried about Sweden who are well rounded in all aspects of the game. Also, USA can be a threat if their goaltending steals the game for them. Otherwise, if Miller and Quick continue their mediocre NHL seasons in Sochi, the Americans won't go far.

    1. Paragraphs are clearly not your thing

    2. I was going to edit the text. I don't know how. I do think it's relevant information though.

  7. Good observation, Dave! Anyway, to properly answer the Editor's question. I like to think the Selection Committee did thoroughly debate who was going to make the team. No matter the result, there will always be an ample supply of armchair analysts to debate the choices.

    I don't recommend putting the blame for St-Louis' pass squarely on Steve Yzerman. It was a committee that selected the team with plenty of discussion, opinion and debate. I'm sure for the sake of peace Yzerman would have preferred St-Louis' appointment to the team. I like to think there was enough input to assemble a good team based on talent as opposed to proportional representation. This is the assembling of a hockey team, not a prime minister assembling his cabinet where appeasement of the voters is far more significant.

    1. "I like to think there was enough input to assemble a good team based on talent as opposed to proportional representation"

      St.Louis is the player with the most points in the NHL since the Vancouver Games. St-Louis should have been on the team regardless of where he is from.

    2. "St-Louis should have been on the team regardless of where he is from."
      The point is, no one is saying Martin St. Louis was left off the team because he's a francophone from Quebec.

    3. Both points above are vaild. St-Louis is 38 years old and is on the short side, about 5'6" if I recall. No doubt is is still effectively contributing, and with a lot of stars he could be used in a limited role. I don't see any players getting 20+ minutes of ice time per game unless they are outstanding enough to merit that honor. Did St-Louis have much international experience? He is a good player, deserved to be picked, but so did others left off the team. It seems, however, Canada plays better in N.A, but not as well when they play overseas, but the Editor's picking Russia is not a big stretch. They'll have the hometown crowd behind them.

  8. Canadian hockey players don't play for bronze on an international level. When they lose in the semifinals, they give up and don't even bother playing for pride.


  9. Hey guys, this op-ed piece on the Gazette is really picking up steam and I thought the comments were interesting. Whole bunch of 101ers telling Anglos they're a bunch of psychotic freaks for sticking up for English.

    1. By AnecTOTE

      AC would this be the link you are talking about?

      The problem is that the 101'ers think this is about defending the English Language again, but what the opinion-writer is ultimately expressing is that we should All fight to defend Rights and Freedoms, because when you fail to do so thinking that yours are not at stake, before you know it, YOURS will be too. The airheads that don't realize this are headed for doom themselves cause that is the formula and math is a precise science. Either you defend EVERYONE'S Right to Democracy, or be prepared to eventually lose your own and that of your future generations. If for a moment the nay-Sayers in regards to recognizing this fact can think about the issue logically, they will discover that throughout history this is the sure path to losing your own Rights and Freedoms, THAT is what is ultimately at stake, and for the emotional quibble of sticking It to a minority, you risk Rights and Freedoms for the majority.

      The opinion piece from The Gazette is extremely eloquent and very well written....Here Here!!

    2. Oh shit, sorry - here's the piece, written by a spoiled little American twerp:

    3. Matthieu Sauvé

      Since Canada has always truly been a bilingual country (...), I''m certain that you won't mind if I comment your point of view in French.

      Je ne crois pas que la lettre de M. Robinson ait pour but de dénigrer l'Anglais. Je crois qu'elle vise plutôt à dénoncer l'intolérance d'une petite frange extrémiste minoritaire d'anglophones qui ont vécu pendant des décennies au Québec en refusant systématiquement d'apprendre le Français. Et je vous en prie, faites-nous grâce du bilinguisme canadien. J'ai dû être très malchanceux, mais à toutes les fois où je me suis adressé à quelqu'un - dans un restaurant, par exemple - en français à Toronto ou à Vancouver, on m'a regardé comme si je débarquais de la planète Mars. Si vous n'êtes pas convaincu, je vous suggère la lecture des derniers rapports de Graham Fraser. Le concept de Canada bilingue est la plus formidable et la plus persistante hypocrisie que j'ai vue de mon vivant.

      Acceptez l'expression de mes salutations les plus respectueuses.

    4. "Et je vous en prie, faites-nous grâce du bilinguisme canadien."

      We have nothing to prove to you. If you're too lazy to read the Canadian charter, your problem.

      Here's what you should take into account:

      1. Nowhere else in Canada do you have a so-called "charter of values" that is little more than a veiled excuse to be racist
      2. The French option for all government services in the ROC is available without trouble

      Our gripe is not that Anglos can't speak French, but that they are being ordered to speak French. Maybe you should make an effort to understand that, Sauvé.

      Your PQ government has successfully created a climate of Anglophobia and general disinformation against non-Franco communities. You wouldn't be aware of this because you're not one of the targets.

      So instead of treating Anglophones like whining "angryphones" you might want to check out some of the anti-Anglo videos that have surfaced on this blog.

    5. M.S

      "Nowhere else in Canada do you have a so-called "charter of values""

      Le canada a-t-il des valeurs?

    6. Ahhh...and here we go again with the "Quebec is more cultured than Canada" bullshit.

      Go back to your cave, Sauvé.

      The reason you feel excluded by Anglo-Canada is because you chose to have it so. If I'm wrong why are millions of Quebecois living in the ROC, happily and without a problem?

      Because Canada has a lot of value to offer them.

    7. Another completely garbage post from the troll S.R. If anything deserves to be deleted by the Editor, it is the post directly above.

    8. By AnecTOTE

      There will never be any way of convincing the seppie extremists that their extremism is counter-productive, not to mention that the issue is further aggregated by the fact that the "right" message is unfortunately coming from what they perceive is the "wrong" side. We are after all the the minority Anglos and Allos they despise who are delivering that message. If however the Francophones who do realize the merit and importance of defending Democracy for All citizen spoke up, then perhaps the pendulum would sway the other way. But emotions run way too high and Logic is sacrificed.

      I am just going to put this out there to make my point and pleaseeeeeeee I do not want to start a debate on this other topic, that is not the point.

      I am against Abortion, except in those awful circumstances, such as rape, incest ..(and/ or before the fetus indicates brain activity), that is my standard, but all this notwithstanding, I will defend any woman and fight alongside any woman who wishes to obtain or maintain her right to an Abortion because I believe in Rights and Freedoms for All and especially a woman's right to decide. This is an extremely difficult thing for me to reconcile, but I put Rights, Freedoms and Democracy before Life itself and trust me it is something I battle with all the time in spite of my own personal challenges to have child for a long time, yet I feel It cannot be otherwise for me, I will not allow my personal negative experiences and injury of bearing a child blind me to what is right and just.

      The Francophones who know better and don't defend the argument for Democracy and don't support everyone's right to Rights and Freedoms by acknowledging that these must prevail above their own self-interest of protecting a language and culture will realize one day that the same things they jealously guard presently will also be in jeopardy with absolutely NO POSSIBILITY to defend them later...THAT is the bigger picture and that's the real story.

      Your bias, apathy and indifference today will haunt you tomorrow.

    9. Exactly how I feel AnecTOTE - And abortion is a perfect example - I feel the same as you and never, ever debate the subject with anyone for that very reason. Thank you.

    10. @AnecTOTE

      If the debate does ever turn to female rights issues, be sure to use the moniker "Hands Off My Hoo-Ha."

      I just have to see how the trolls would react.

  10. Editor,

    My problem is not with Rick Nash or Jeff Carter, but with Chris Kunitz. He is selected basically not for his own merit but because he is Sidney Crosby's sidekick.

    1. FROM ED
      By Geez Anectote, well said. Stated in words that are so plain and to the point noone can claim they do ot understand. We must find a way to hammer this home. Ed

    2. Crosby played poorly in Vancouver. He did score the most important goal but most tv media said that his linemates were having difficulty adapting to his fast paced style of play. Kunitz wouldn't be there without Crosby...But so what? Would you prefer that we choose a better NHL player who then has trouble having chemistry with Crosby? The key is to put Crosby in a comfortable position to play well in a very short tournament. If Kunitz can get the best out of Crosby then I don't mind leaving one roster spot on the team for him.

  11. Kelly McParland: The ‘good’ news in Quebec is that the economy’s even worse than the politics
    "According to the Canadian Institute for Identities and Migration, departures from Quebec in the first nine months of 2013 were the highest of the century: 28,439 left the province for other parts of Canada, more than any year since 2000."
    The report says people are leaving because of the "decrepit state of the Quebec economy coupled with the highest income taxes of any Canadian jurisdiction,”
    “Where Quebec leads the country is in taxes and in public debt. Quebec income tax rates in all income brackets are more or nearly double what they are in neighbouring Ontario.”
    "While Quebec has one of the country’s richest web of social services, the high cost has clearly convinced thousands of residents to seek better prospects elsewhere." Are we surprised? Publicly-funded daycare isn't enough to convince enough to stay.

    1. The problem with our (Quebec's) rich (roc tax payer funded) social web is that it is not accessible to everyone. Medical services have become a joke and daycare has become a setting for the privileged. These union friendly services are only going to get more expensive so I can't see this province can sustain itself.

  12. This is really something - more of our tax money spent on nothing and totally unrealistic - this woman needs a swift kick in the slats:

  13. Yup hitting the highway this summer good riddance QC! Why stay and fight when you can drive over the border and live in peace!

  14. So it's a new year - and the Leafs still suck! Which will happen first - Quebec independence or the Leafs winning the Stanley Cup?

  15. Editor,

    As I wrote before, it is starting. First comments I found from separatist media about Team Canada, here and here.

  16. Off the topic of hockey (not a fan myself) but relevant to what is going on already with the minority government in place. Will get worse.

    1. From Ann
      It seems to me this actually started with the Liberals. That is why the anglo community needs to stand up and fight because the francophone leadership keep pushing the envelope more and more until one day we will only be able to get tax instructions, health care etc in French only. The government needs to be stopped as we are, little by little turning into Saudi Arabia with anglophones being the Quebec equivalent of what women and non Muslims are to those in Saudi Arabia.

  17. Another case of separatists who are actually opposed to la charte des voyous:

  18. And more from Lisee:

    Let's hope it's the PQ LAST STAND - EVER!

    1. I'm going to pitch a counter-article to the NYT.

      Americans, especially New Yorkers hate being told what to do and how to live. They are either full-on libertarians or at least have very strong currents of libertarianism running in their veins.

      Second, I'll be sure to point out how Lisee, like so many other Quebecekers actually hate Americans and constantly refer to Anglo-Canadians as "wannabe Americans" or "Fake Americans" and relate any intention of economic progress to selling out the environment and the poor (which in their fickle little eyes is an American trait).

      Time to put baby to bed.

    2. Just wondering: Has Lisee (and/or Drainville, for that matter) ever defended their policies in an English-language newspaper in the Rest of Canada? I keep a fairly close eye on the media (in which I worked for way tooooo long), but I cannot recall Lisee trying to promote his ideas to Canadians Canadians outside Quebec. He seems only to lecture anglos from the op-ed pages of The Gazette, or try to curry favour with the outside world via the New York Times.

    3. @Ex-MTLer1642

      This is the "petit peuple" looking for outside validation.

      They already know they can't sell any elements of sovereignty to the ROC, so they hope to have the international community pet them on their little heads and give them a "you're a good boy."

      Just wait until the Americans hear exactly what separatists really think of them (after all, that's one of their leading gripes about Canada, that we're all right-wing yahoo nutjobs, right?)

      But like I stated in my first comment, Lisee is barking up the wrong tree by going to New York. The city has twice the population of the entire population of Quebec and it's an even bigger melting pot than Toronto.

      Funny thing about the seps...they're no better at picking their friends than they are their enemies.