The other day we looked at Canada's defence to try to figure out who would be sporting the Maple Leaf in Vancouver. But what about the Leafs' defenders? Should any of them start booking their flights to the West Coast? The snap reaction will be to look at the Leafs' current 29th ranking in goals against per game (3.50 - yikes!) and call them all bums. However, some countries just don't have better players. I know, it's weird. Canada might be spoiled. Without further ado, check out after the jump to see if you agree and then share your thoughts in the comments.
Pack Your Bags
|2009 - Tomas Kaberle||32||2||29||31||-5||6||1||0||0||0||60||3.3|
There's no doubt that Tomas Kaberle will be on the Czech team. He'll be reunited with Pavel Kubina and likely skipper the team despite having no leadership abilities. He is what he is at even strength but where he'll make a real difference for the Czech's entry is on the powerplay. Special teams can make the difference in the tight scoring games that you'll find in the medal rounds.
|2009 - Mike Komisarek||24||0||1||1||-7||35||0||0||0||0||22||0.0|
Brian Burke is the General Manager of the USA's Olympic team. Ron Wilson is the coach of the team. One signed him to a multi-year, multi-million dollar deal that made him the anchor of his NHL defence. The other leans heavily on him on the penalty kill especially. After a rough start, Komisarek has found the balance between physical play and discipline and is back to the game that made him one of Brian Burke's marquee signings this summer. I don't know that I would pick him for the American team but I do think that he'll get picked.
Had A Shot
|2009 - Carl Gunnarsson||8||0||4||4||4||4||0||0||0||0||12||0.0|
Poor Carl Gunnarsson. He was on Sweden's pre-Olympic roster (although to be be fair, so was Jonas Frogren as well as almost every Swedish defender ever) and he had a strong showing at last Spring's Worlds. Then he started the year off on the Marlies because his waiver eligibility made him the easiest player to demote. Once he finally got a chance he was a revelation. Of course, he's currently out of the lineup with a hyperextended elbow so any chance he had of making the team has been consistently derailed at every turn.
|2009 - Francois Beauchemin||32||3||11||14||-6||13||3||0||0||0||80||3.8|
Francois Beauchemin might have been invited to the summer evaluation camp but then he joined the Maple Leafs. The instant loss of elite goaltending, Hall of Fame teammates, and the increased scrutiny all conspired to make Not Durno's transition to Toronto less than successful at first. Since the rocky start he's improved by leaps and bounds and really found a comfort zone but he needed to be absolutely lights out to even get a sniff.
This section could also be re-named "Canadian defencemen" because none of the Canucks on the buds' blueline are going to Vancouver in any capacity other than a cheerleader.
|2009 - Ian White||32||5||12||17||11||29||1||0||0||0||68||7.4|
Ian White might be killing it for the Leafs but his stint at the World Juniors won't count for much. Not to mention that for all of his redeeming qualities "Moustachelence" is probably not high on Steve Yzerman's evaluation rubric.
|2009 - Luke Schenn||31||0||4||4||0||33||0||0||0||0||35||0.0|
Sigh. Not in 2010 and on this pace not in 2014 or 2018 or...He's regressed mightily after a first season which I think was far more impressive that we had any right to expect or most people like to remember. Luke Schenn outscored Tomas Kaberle at even strength last year while also putting up some good Behind The Net numbers(ie better than Drew Doughty).
|2009 - Garnet Exelby||17||0||1||1||-4||19||0||0||0||0||4||0.0|
HAHAHAHAHA Yeah, I just put this for the sake of being thorough. Also, I wanted to make a request: can people stop pretending that the Kubina and Stapleton for Exelby and Stuart trade was made in isolation? It's the kind of disingenuous thing that we'd rip the MSM for doing.
|2009 - Jeff Finger||16||2||6||8||-7||5||0||0||0||0||13||15.4|
I can't say that I really understand Ron Wilson's handling of Jeff Finger this year. In my mind, you put Finger into the lineup over Garnet Exelby 100 times out of 50 but somehow it's only happened 50% of the time. He wasn't an invite to the orientation camp and he never did anything of note.