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TSN's McGuire, Ferraro project Team Canada for Sochi 2014

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TSN.ca Staff
2/28/2011 2:16:11 AM
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It was the crowning moment of the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver.
 
In the final event of the games, Sidney Crosby's dramatic overtime winner past Ryan Miller was the Golden Goal, clinching a record-setting 14th gold medal at an Olympic Winter Games.
 
It should be Crosby front and centre again - should the NHL allow players to participate at Sochi, Russia in 2014 - as Canada tries to defend its title.
 
It is exactly one year to the day that Crosby's goal ignited a nation-wide party. In honour of that, NHL on TSN analysts Pierre McGuire and Ray Ferraro put on their general manager caps, and put together a squad that they expect to see in 2014.
 
The lynchpin, of course, is Crosby, who will be 26 and in the prime of his career when 2014 rolls around. It's a safe bet that this would be 'his' team, and the odds-on-favourite to replace the highly decorated Scott Niedermayer as the new captain.
 
As co-GM's, Ferraro and McGuire were unanimous with 22 of 23 selections (we'll discuss the disagreement later). The team has plenty of experience up front, as eight of the 13 forwards selected for this team played integral parts in the pressure-packed Vancouver run. Flanking Crosby will be Patrice Bergeron, Rick Nash, Mike Richards, Eric Staal, Jonathan Toews and the Anaheim tandem of Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.
 
Steven Stamkos leads the newest additions for Team Ferraro and McGuire. The Lightning centre was a controversial omission in 2010, but barring injury he seems like a unanimous choice for Sochi and beyond.
 
Jeff Carter was nearly a member of the 2010 team as Ryan Getzlaf made a last-minute decision that his ankle injury would be fine during the Olympics. He makes the cut here, and is joined by another Flyer, Claude Giroux, who has had a breakout season this campaign, and is one of the big reasons Philadelphia is considered a legitimate title contender.
 
Jordan Staal was at orientation camp for Vancouver, and his versatile play makes the cut for the TSN GM's, while Taylor Hall gets the nod as the potential star that could be ready for primetime in 2014.
 
The two elder statesmen on defence in Vancouver aren't on the radar for this team, as Niedermayer has retired from hockey, while Chris Pronger would be 39 years old when Sochi rolls around. But the defence should be in good hands, led by Team Canada's surprising youngster Drew Doughty holding down the fort. He was arguably the best defenceman for Canada in Vancouver at the tender age of 20, and will be just 23 in Russia. Duncan Keith, another returnee, would be the oldest defenceman at age 30, alongside Shea Weber, who will be 28.
 
McGuire and Ferraro rounded out the roster with defencemen who should just be moving into their prime come 2014. Marc Staal becomes the third Staal to crack the roster, and he joins Tyler Myers, PK Subban and Kris Letang as the new faces on the blueline.
 
It's the battle for a spot in goal, though, where the co-GM's could not come to an agreement.
 
Ferraro and McGuire agreed on two goalies that would definitely be on their roster, and they include Marc-Andre Fleury (who was third on the depth chart in Vancouver) and rising Canadiens star Carey Price. Where they couldn't agree was on the other goalie to round out their trio. McGuire went with Carolina's Cam Ward, who battled injury during orientation camp for Vancouver, and never felt he could show what he could do.
 
Ferraro went with Roberto Luongo. The Canucks goalie replaced Martin Brodeur after Canada lost to the United States in the round robin, and never looked back, winning every game the rest of the way including the gold medal game against the U.S. Neither GM stipulated who would be their starter, backup or third stringer.
 
As with the 2010 team, this edition of Team Canada is built heavily on versatility. Of the forwards they chose, 11 of the 13 are centres, a position that has proven to be more adaptable to a move to either wing. Only Perry and Nash are not considered centres for this team. They have also assembled plenty of leadership: of the 24 players that they have selected, seven are captains of their NHL teams.
 
You've had a chance to look at Ferraro and McGuire's roster, and now we want to hear from you. Who deserves to be on this team? Is there anyone you would take off? Are there any glaring omissions? Let the debate begin. As always, it's Your! Call.

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