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Canada's picked, but more work for Yzerman

Thursday, 01.7.2010 / 10:22 AM ET / News
By Dan Rosen
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Canada\'s picked, but more work for Yzerman
Just because his daunting task of selecting Team Canada is now complete, Steve Yzerman isn't about to kick up his legs while sipping on a fruity cocktail poolside for the next month.

Yzerman, Team Canada's executive director for the 2010 Winter Olympics, at least allowed himself a few days in the Florida sun with his family after naming the 23-man roster Canada will take to the Games, but he had to go to British Columbia earlier this week to bury his maternal grandmother, who passed away at age 95.

When NHL.com caught up with Yzerman on Wednesday afternoon, he was on his way back to Detroit, where he planned to settle in and watch a lot of hockey.

Really, what else can the man do?
The San Jose forward line (of Joe Thornton, Dany Heatley and Patrick Marleau) got stronger, stronger and stronger and it became clear to us that they would be on the team. - Steve Yzerman

His roster is out there for public consumption and it won't change unless one of his 23 players suffers an injury that threatens their participation in the Olympics. Patrice Bergeron's doesn't count because his broken thumb should keep him out for only two weeks.

Yzerman said he won't even be watching on the edge of his seat -- unless the action takes him there -- while praying nobody gets hurt. As he said, there's nothing he can do anyway, so why make yourself go nuts?

"We will keep watching and hopefully nobody gets hurt," Yzerman told NHL.com. "We continue to watch players and make decisions if they are necessary should someone get hurt. We just continue to watch and stay abreast of what is going on around the League. I'm not going to react immediately to replacing any player."

More than anything, the main tasks for Team Canada fall on the coaching staff, including Mike Babcock, Lindy Ruff, Ken Hitchcock and Jacques Lemaire.

They have to figure out the lines, defensive pairs and power play combinations before they get to Vancouver because there is only one pre-Olympic practice scheduled before Canada opens Feb. 16 against Norway.

They also have a lot of pre-scouting of opponents to do. Canada also plays Switzerland and the United States in the preliminary round.

Yzerman can be of assistance in all of the above, but mainly he will get his hand into the pre-scouting phase. He's learned about the European players who don't play in the NHL because he has been to the World Championships the last couple years.

"Hockey Canada will take care of all the logistics and legwork in terms of preparation for players' families and flights," Yzerman said. "Right now it's about preparation and any pre-scouting and I will have input on that. Being at the Worlds, I have gotten to know these European players well, the guys that aren't in the NHL."

While most of Canada, if not the entire hockey world, is dissecting his roster and offering their opinions, Yzerman is trying to steer clear of all of that analysis.

It does him no good anyway.

"I think everybody feels generally that this is a great team and then they say, 'How come you didn't pick this guy?' " he said. "That doesn't come as a surprise to me. Everybody has a different opinion and there is a lot of depth of talent to choose from. I haven't really paid much attention or looked for particular reaction. I stay away from it."

Not surprisingly, when we asked Yzerman to reveal which player received the most attention in the debates between he and his staff of Kevin Lowe, Ken Holland, Doug Armstrong and coach Mike Babcock, Yzerman stayed away.

He did admit earlier that they had lively discussions until the last few hours before the team was finally revealed, but as a whole picking this team was a gradual process that worked itself out over time.

"If you start at the regular season this year, maybe there was six forwards that we figured would be on the team and maybe four defensemen and it evolved from there," Yzerman said. "A little bit at a time it became clear. The San Jose forward line (of Joe Thornton, Dany Heatley and Patrick Marleau) got stronger, stronger and stronger and it became clear to us that they would be on the team. When we got to Saskatoon, we had a small group of players to debate. You are trying to figure out who is the right player to go into a particular spot.

"We talked a lot and discussed a lot of possibilities to go with this team," Yzerman added. "We finally made our decision on the 23 players and it's time to move on. We feel good about this team. We selected our 23 and it's time to move forward."



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  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
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9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

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2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 77 17 49 -6 66
P. Datsyuk 63 26 39 12 65
T. Tatar 82 29 27 6 56
G. Nyquist 82 27 27 -11 54
J. Abdelkader 71 23 21 3 44
N. Kronwall 80 9 35 -4 44
R. Sheahan 79 13 23 -3 36
D. Helm 75 15 18 7 33
D. DeKeyser 80 2 29 11 31
S. Weiss 52 9 16 -2 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Howard 23 13 11 .910 2.44
P. Mrazek 16 9 2 .918 2.38

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