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Women’s Hockey Wednesday: Open season on Team Canada

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Hockey Canada announced their centralization roster on Friday and people have opinions

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Ice Hockey - Winter Olympics Day 13 - Canada v United States
Caroline Ouellette and Mélodie Daoust celebrate after winning the gold medal at Sochi. Daoust will get a chance to make the Olympic team again in 2018.
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Article of the Week

Canada sends 28 invites to Olympic women’s hopefuls - CBC

Annie: On Friday, Hockey Canada named its centralization roster for the 2018 Olympics. On top of most of the 2017 Worlds team, the 28-woman roster came with some happy additions in the form of young, fast forwards Jillian Saulnier, Mélodie Daoust, and Sarah Nurse. I was surprised Hockey Canada passed over Saulnier before Plymouth, and both Daoust and Nurse spent this past year tearing up their respective collegiate leagues. Also new to the roster is forward Amy Potomak, little sister of Sarah, as well as defenders Micah Hart and Brigette Lacquette. Amy Potomak and Hart are outside chances to make the team, but Lacquette attended two World Championships for Canada—and, pertinently, can contribute offensively.

After two consecutive overtime losses at the World Championships, Melody Davidson’s quote in this article about the importance of scoring goals isn’t empty coach-speak, but an assessment of the team’s need. If Team Canada is searching out more scoring and speed—which is what I’d guess from both Davidson’s quote and this centralization roster—I’m excited to see the team they put together for Pyeongchang. I’ve described US-Canada games as “coin-flips” before, and Hockey Canada centralization is a multi-month process of tailoring a team that will swing the odds in their favor. This roster is a good first step. Who will end up making the team is another question entirely.

Nafio: Although this is a Canadian Press article and therefore does not belong to a particular news outlet, I linked to the CBC instead of Sportsnet because Sportsnet doesn't list the author, whereas CBC properly credits Donna Spencer. Nine times out of ten, if it's a CP article about women's hockey it's by Donna. She knows her stuff and it shows here.

For instance, she's the only writer I've seen covering either Team Canada or Team USA to come out and clarify:

Countries are now allowed 23 players — three goaltenders and 20 skaters — on their women's teams compared to the previous limit of three and 18.

This isn't even clear on the IIHF site. When Team USA announced 23 players the previous week, many people still thought the US had 2 players to cut to get to the Olympic roster. They don't. They're centralizing without any backup options, which is pretty gutsy. In contrast, Canada has not only centralized one more player than they did before the Sochi games, they've also got the two alternate goalies. Which strategy will work best? We'll see in February. But this small piece of new information is important and Donna took the time to spell it out.

One thing Canada’s 28 player roster does is give everyone plenty of time to debate who’s going to get cut. The roster includes many of the players in the national program that fans were hoping to see, such as Jillian Saulnier (I’m getting a jersey), Mélodie Daoust and Ann-Renée Desbiens. While it’s true the list doesn’t include CWHL standouts like Ann-Sophie Bettez and Jess Jones, neither have been in the national program for years. Pretend to be shocked they were left out is disingenuous at best.

I’m going to piss off a lot of hockey fans by saying this but if the goalie roster came down to Shannon Szabados, Desbiens and Geneviève Lacasse or Szabados, Desbiens and Emerance Maschmeyer, I’d have gone with Lacasse too. The big worry this year seems to be with Team Canada’s defence and Lacasse has plenty of experience dealing with a high volume of shots. Maschmeyer’s body of work in the CWHL this year came to a total of only 8 regular season games, some of which were brilliant, some of which were terrible, and all of which came behind the Inferno’s top-notch defence corps. Desbiens has earned another look, but only one Olympic rookie in the goalie rotation at a time, please.

That said, the players aren’t the only factor to Team Canada’s success and Kirsten Whelan raises some excellent concerns regarding Laura Schuler and her staff in her piece that’s linked a little further down the page.

We’ve given and linked a number of perspectives on the new roster - what do you think? Panic stations, too soon to tell or just ready to watch Team Canada kick ass and take names?

Hockey Canada

With new women’s Olympic roster, Hockey Canada marks end of an era - The Globe and Mail
Long-time faces of the national team like Hayley Wickenheiser and Jayna Hefford, now retired, give way to younger generation

Laura Schuler and staff have a lot to prove - The Ice Garden
Canada's coaching staff for Pyeongchang 2018 has no Olympic experience and no major tournament success

2018 Olympics now in sight for hockey player Micah Hart
Perspective is important. Micah Hart certainly has it.

Kristen Lipscombe Among Groundbreaking Journalists for Women’s Hockey in Canada
Having helped to shape the last decade of women’s ice hockey in Canada through her numerous efforts, she is an influential historian.

USA Hockey

High-School Players Did Not Make Team USA But Future Is Bright
This May, three high-school players were invited to the U.S. women’s national ice hockey team spring camp, from which the Team USA Olympic roster would be decided: Clair DeGeorge, out of Shattuck-St. Mary’s, Cayla Barnes of the East Coast Wizards and Grace Zumwinkle, a soon-to-be graduate of Breck School in Minnesota.

Meet The USWNT Goaltenders Headed To 2018 Olympics
All three goalies will attend the Olympics with the letters U-S-A stamped across the front of their jerseys; for them, this was the...


How do you solve a problem like the Olympics? - Pension Plan Puppets
Every four years, the CWHL faces an interesting dilemma

CWHL Showcases The Best Goaltending In Women's Professional Hockey
In the past two years we’ve seen that the NWHL has no shortage of stars, but the NWHL still can’t hold a candle to the quality of goaltending in the CWHL.

Three Furies named to Olympic centralization roster - Pension Plan Puppets
Spooner, Fast, and Ambrose will join Team Canada in Calgary

Furies Forward Kelly Terry Announces Retirement - The Ice Garden
The All-Star forward has decided to hang up her skates after three years in the CWHL.

Marie-Philip Poulin and Lauriane Rougeau named to Canada’s Olympic camp roster - Eyes On The Prize
The two Canadiennes make up part of the 28-player camp to centralize in Calgary


Sarah Casorso "A Farmers' Hockey Player"
An incredible skater, a Cup-winning hockey player, a farmer from BC - Buffalo Beauts' defender Sarah Casorso belongs in Buffalo.

Riveters re-sign All-Star Rebecca Russo - Blueshirt Banter
The breakout rookie star will be back with the Riveters.

Michelle Picard Remains Key To Riveters Blue Line
The blue line was arguably the Riveters’ greatest strength last season. And the keystone of the defense was rookie Michelle Picard.

Quinnipiac Athletics - Sydney Rossman Inks Professional Contract With Connecticut Whale for 2017-18 Season
Quinnipiac women's ice hockey senior goaltender Sydney Rossman (Excelsior, Minnesota), a 2016 NWHL Fifth Round draft pick of the Connecticut Whale, signed a one-year contract with the club on Monday, March 15, 2017.

Female Officials Growing Their Own Game
"Growing the game" is an important concept in women's hockey, and it's been adopted by both professional leagues -- the NWHL and CWHL.


Leslie Named Captain for 2017-18 Season -
Rising senior Rebecca Leslie will captain the Boston University women's ice hockey team during the 2017-18 season.


Luleå HF’s Emma Eliasson announces retirement - The Ice Garden
Star Luleå HF captain retires from the sport, citing lack of opportunity with Team Sweden and physical stress


Blake Bolden to Switzerland - The Ice Garden
Swiss club Lugano has reportedly agreed to terms with the Boston Pride defenseman

Former BC Women’s Hockey Defenseman Blake Bolden Signs On To Play In Switzerland - BC Interruption
Former Eagle will be playing for HC Lugano


And in case you prefer your news in video format, The Ice Garden has started a weekly roundup of women’s hockey news, including links to SBNation content.