Archive for April, 2012

The Blue Jays sent the Royals on an 11-game losing streak after winning their last of a four-game series in Kansas City on Monday night. Toronto also broke a bizarre streak of its own, wherein it opened the season losing two, winning two, losing two…and so on and so forth. Big brooms were needed – the club picked up its first sweep since a million* years ago and travels to Baltimore in an attempt to paint Camden Yards blue tonight (if you will…and I think you will).

Traveling to Misery did the team good.

*2003, vs the Yankees. BALLER.

#beauty

Luis Perez came out of the bullpen with an anchor this past week. He firmly attached the anchor to the score and said “THIS STAYS RIGHT HERE”. I’m not on the Perez bandwagon. Let me explain: the 27-year old lefty was one of the sure things from last season in an otherwise always up-in-the air bullpen. Not surprisingly, Perez returned in 2012 to the re-vamped house of bulls and quickly made it clear why he kept his job. So no, I’m not on the Perez bandwagon – I’m basically leading the parade and hitting non-believers in the back of the knees with my ornate baton.

What a dream. (Photo: Mark Duncan)

In the Jays first game in KC (a 4-3 win), Perez had four K’s in 1 2-3 innings of work. Last night, to close out the series, he picked up where a pretty-dang-good Brandon Morrow left off in the seventh with two outs, and pitched a scoreless 1 1-3 innings. Luis Perez has not allowed a run in 11 1-3 innings this season. I dare you to tell me that he’s not a #beauty.

 

#dirty

Okay, so maybe the strike zone isn’t a person, and the strike zone doesn’t play for a team, but the strike zone was striking the fuck out of the entire Tampa Bay series in Toronto. Balls were strikes, strikes were balls, the entire ‘zone’ was anywhere from the batter’s box to either of the dugouts and probably seven feet in front and behind the plate (just to be safe). Absolutely filthy.

Pitchers are always asked to “talk about” finding the zone, “talk about” getting it down. Bore me to tears. Hold the athletes accountable because they make a balls-load of money to talk about what they’re doing right and wrong, and for the most part because at this level, they should be doing most things right.

At least we all agree that the seventh pitch was a little out of the zone. Wed, Apr 18 on Game Day.

Still, I’m a firm believer that you need two things to do your job, pro-athlete or stock associate at Old Navy:

1. You need to know how to do your job.

Okay, so I think with the exception of Morrow-meltdown days, everyone’s on board with the whole throwing-strikes situation.

2. You need to know what’s expected of you.

If the strike zone isn’t visible by the person who is calling the strikes, what are the expectations? How do you know how to do your job when the strike zone is subject to change based on whether or not the ump had enough coffee, got enough sleep last night, is having an emotional breakdown, is going through a divorce, hates his job, hates his co-workers, hates Canada, broke his nail, has a hang nail, or skipped all of his eye exams for the last 12-18 years? Boys club needs to clean it up.

Airing of Grievances III

Posted: April 23, 2012 by centennialsports in Puck

By John Spurr

Playoff hockey at its finest


I don’t know if it’s just the NHL playoffs that has me especially fired up but I’m really getting pissed off by this hockey is too violent claim.

The first few games of these playoffs have been awesome, offering an amazing level skill, speed and hits!!! Unfortunately, it seems that all the major sports outlets have officially decided that the intensity of this playoffs is just too darn much. This is complete bullshit, playoffs have always been violent, as the level of competition is amplified. I keep hearing that “players are hitting to injure because the players don’t respect each other,” this is garbage.

I’m gonna tell you the three reasons why these hits are hurting people so much more than in the past, none of which are the reasons that you ever hear from the major networks.

1) Hard metal shoulder and elbow pads: It used to be that players had tiny plastic pads but someone decided that it would be safer to make these pads out of Kevlar… safer for who? Players didn’t often take full speed runs at each other with the dinky little plastic pads because they could actually hurt themselves but with the Kevlar pads they are fully armored and can simply throw themselves around. When a player used to lay a big hit and make some contact to the head the player would get back up, at least most of the time. Now with the metallic armor, a big hit leaves the victim cloudy and stumbly.

2) Taking out the redline: When the NHL took out the redline and allowed the two line pass it accelerated the speed of the game, which is fantastic!! It allows for more open ice and room for brilliant plays. Unfortunately, it also accelerated the speed of the f*cking game!!!! Players regularly skate from one end all the way to the other end unimpeded before laying a hit, which means that they have nearly 200 feet of speed built up. Back when the redline was in play, players would have to slow down at the centre before building up their speed again. Hits today have much more momentum built up between both players and therefore a much more violent collision.

3) Training: I don’t know if you’ve noticed but hockey players today are quite simply bigger, stronger and faster. The average size of an NHL player is 6’2 and 210 pounds, as a comparison, Scott Stevens was 6’1 and 212 pounds. Stevens was considered a big defender back in the mid 90’s. The size of the players has changed because of the training programs that the modern athlete lives by. Players used to show up to training camp out of shape and play themselves into shape, all the while never lifting a single weight. The skating has improved immensely too, not necessarily the top players because nobody can skate like Mike Gartner or Pavel Bure but even fourth line forwards are really good skaters these days. Some of this is due to improved skate technology, I mean they used to skate on glorified butter knives but much of it is better technique and again stronger players.

So there are the three major reasons for the severity of today’s hits but I’d also like to address this respect myth that has somehow remained part of the violence rhetoric. Apparently players no longer respect each other on the ice, my question is when did they ever? Have you ever seen the footage of old hockey? It was stick swinging, elbowing, kneeing, just completely over the top violence. Realistically players probably like each other more today because the average player changes teams so much throughout their career that there’s a good chance that they’ve played with a few guys on the other team.

Say what you want about his suits, Donny makes some good points.


I’m curious how somebody thinks that David Shaw respected Mario Lemieux when he slashed him in the throat in 1988 and was consequently suspended for 12 games. This respect idea is especially ridiculous because in the playoffs players will do almost anything to win. The only thing that players used to respect was the fact that if they did something that was considered crossing the line, then they’d have to face music and get their ass beat by an enforcer. I’m gonna sound like good ole Don Cherry but because of the instigator rule, that fear (or respect) is gone and instead they only get a little fine or suspension. Speaking of fines, when Shea Weber went all King Kong Bundy on Henrik Zetterberg and slammed his head into the boards, he was fined $2,500. This is the same as fining the average Canadian $14, not even a parking ticket, what a great deterrent there Sandyham.

Useless claim of the week – I have heard it mentioned that for proof of how violent these playoffs have been, people should look at the 8 suspensions in this NHL playoffs. This is the most of any playoffs and it’s only the first round. While that does sound convincing, let’s not forget that headshots didn’t used to lead to suspensions, they were simply two minute penalties for elbowing, charging or roughing. If there were suspensions for head shots back in the day, then Scott Stevens would’ve spent every game up in the owner’s box. So by my count, in these playoffs, there would be one old time suspension, to Byron Bitz for his ridiculously bad hit from behind.

Bonus Anger: I’ve been hearing rumours that if the Canucks lose to the Kings (let’s hold hands and pray this doesn’t happen), then Alain Vigneault will be fired. That really shouldn’t happen, I mean he was only missing the Danny Sedin, one part of the telekinetic Sedin duo, for the first three games. The Canucks minus a Sedin is a much weaker team, I mean Henrik inherited Max freakin Lapierre onto the first line in Daniel’s absence. Vigneault is an excellent coach, with the exact demeanor for the talented Canucks squad.

If Vigneault were to be fired, he wouldn’t even have a chance to pack up his office before he’d get offered the head-coaching job for the Montreal Canadiens.

If the Canucks organization decided there had to be a sacrificial lamb then I would be much more supportive of showing the swollen-faced Mike Gillis the door. Absolutely none of the core pieces of the Canucks team were acquired by Gillis but that doesn’t mean he’s been shy when it comes to trading. Everyone is now beginning to see what a retarded trade it was when Gillis traded Cody Hodgson to the Buffalo Sabres for Zach Kassian (killing it on the 4th line) and Marc Andre Gragnani (a healthy scratch throughout the playoffs) in the name of getting tougher. When you make the seventh game of the Stanley Cup finals you are plenty tough. The forgotten Gillis brilliance was the trade for Keith Ballard last offseason and in return the Canucks only sent Michael Grabner, Steve Bernier and first round draft pick to Florida. Gillis’ final gaff was signing Bobby Lou to a 12-year contract, with a no trade clause. I’m one of the biggest Luongo supporters that I know of but he’s not gonna be great for 10 more years, that contract will make moving him very difficult. Trust in Gillis, pfft I’d rather trust Kenny Powers.

Monday Morning Wood April 16th

Posted: April 16, 2012 by centennialsports in Morning Wood

By Dane Belbeck

This was my nurse Edith


I had surgery this past week on my lower back/top of my ass that left a wound needing to be packed with gauze every other day for a week. On a list of things I never hope to experience again, this particular injury finds itself between wearing Joseph’s technicolour dream coat into a biker bar and the stomach pain associated with drinking a 24 of coke in 4 hours. (I had an interesting childhood…don’t ask) A few things I learned with this injury are: Do not drink McDonalds milkshakes when you cannot sit down to use the toilet, spraying cologne twice daily for a week is not an acceptable substitute for a shower, do not trust Jamaican nurses named Edith (aka the Executioner), no matter how much pain you are in, the guy next to you is probably in worse shape (in this case Mr “I take 20 percocets a day and wonder why I developed an addiction” next to me) and when choosing a girlfriend, make sure they aren’t against shaving certain areas of your body for bandaging reasons (Shout out to the russian rocket). Anyway if you are going to sustain an injury that will make you bed or couch-ridden for a period of time, right now is just about perfect, so here’s what caught my eye this weekend…

1. Playoff Hockey

Oh to be a Penguins fan right now. Fleury is letting in softies, Crosby is fighting Giroux, 18-year-old’s are dominating them. This is probably next to happen. Everything is out of whack in the NHL playoffs right now. The Kings are up 3-0 on Vancouver, the Flyers are up 3-0 on Pittsburgh and both can close out the series at home. The Penguins have lost their minds and are showing as much control as a wealthy businessman in a strip club on an out of town trip. Every series seems to have a few things in common…excessive fighting and overtime. This is commonly referred to as awesomeness. I mean if you are the NHL and someone is creating Jim Ross WWE voice-over videos, you have to be happy right?

2. Hooters Tour

This guy weighs 215 apparently.....and Hayden Panettiere called me last night for a date

Tuned into CBS for the PGA tourney at Harbour Town and I got the Hooters Tour. No I don’t mean pro golfers who should probably give it up because they are barely staying afloat on a 4th tier tour, I mean actual hooters, like breasts, man boobs, fat men. Turns out it was the Harbour Town tourney which should probably change it’s name to the Heavyweight Invitational because here’s four of the names in the top 6 and their PGA.com listed weight…
Carl Pettersson (195lbs), Colt Knost (215lbs), Kevin Stadler (250lbs), and Boo Weekley(210lbs). Apparently the PGA tour only measures their players with one leg on the weight scale because Carl Pettersson weighing 195 pounds and Colt Knost weighing

Now that's an athlete if I have ever seen one

215 pounds makes as much sense as these song lyrics. I’m the leader of the charge when it comes to arguing that golfers are athletes, but this weekend’s tournament isn’t exactly strengthening my argument. Perhaps Andy Roddick said it best

3. Blue Jays

So much optimism following the first two series of the season for the Jays. The usual bottom-feeder Orioles in town, and the Jays should be clear-cut first place. And then Brett Lawrie decides to try and steal home with the bases loaded and Jose Bautista up. John Farrell decides to let 81-year-old pitcher Darren Oliver face two right handers in the 8th inning of a one run game. If anything he should have let this happen on Sunday during Jackie Robinson Day since Oliver is the last active major leaguer to have played with Robinson. Next thing you know the crowd at the Rogers Center is doing the wave in the 8th inning of a tie game and the Jays lose two of three from the O’s. Note to people attending baseball games, the wave is a sorry excuse for people at the game who do not like, or understand, baseball. If you must indulge in such stupid behaviour please do so in the first three innings when the crowd needs to manufacture excitement. If you have to manufacture excitement in the 8th inning of a tie game by doing the wave, just stay home and watch Wayne’s World instead, it’s the same thing…

4. Kings-Canucks anthem singers

I’ve had Blue Jays, Raptors and TFC season tickets over the past three years. I’ve attended atleast 75 live sporting events in this time. Not once have I made it in time for the national anthem. I’ve always been okay with having another round quick at the bar and then heading into the game during the first inning. So Sunday night I’m watching the LA Kings-Vancouver Canucks game three from Staples Center, and this little hottie trots out to perform the Canadian national anthem.

(yes I know shes singing the American anthem in this video but I couldn’t find last night’s). And just when I think Rachel Stark is going to be my favourite part of the weekend, Pia Toscano starts belting out the Star Spangled Banner. For those who don’t know Pia, well your welcome….

For some reason most teams seem to think we want to hear old men sing us the Anthems, such as Rene Rancourt in Boston or Mark Donnelly in Vancouver. Um no, we want Rachel and Pia and we want them over and over again.

Airing of Grievences Round II

Posted: April 16, 2012 by centennialsports in Uncategorized

By John Spurr

Betting on Kentucky is like betting that this marriage would fail

There are a few things/people that have really been bugging me this week and here they are.

 

People who are really proud of picking Kentucky to win the NCAA Basketball Tournament  –  Congratulations, you chose the team that was the consensus tournament number one and who had 5 to 2 odds to win.  They only started five guaranteed first round draft picks and were lead by one of the best coaches in college basketball.  Their top two players (Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist) are almost locks to get drafted first and second overall in the 2012 NBA Draft.  They won in dominating fashion and you called it, nicely done.  Just don’t go bragging about it, everyone knew they’d win as long as they didn’t fall apart like a 14 year old dude asking a girl out.    Way to go out on a limb for your pick, I would also like to wish you luck with your Packers, Angels, Heat and Penguins picks too.  Are you gonna pick the US to win Men’s basketball at the Olympics too?

 

The Louisiana State Senate  –  On April 4th the Louisiana State senate passed a resolution urging the NFL to reconsider its one year suspension of Saints head coach Sean Payton.  Are you serious?  How pathetic is this state? I understand that football is very important to this state and that it gave the people of New Orleans a moral boost while they rebuilt their city after Hurricane Katrina blah blah blah.  The state senate really shouldn’t have the time to consider the Saints suspension issues a problem that requires addressing.  Maybe instead they should focus on actual policies to improve the state, considering the average income in Louisiana is 31k ranking 41st in the country, or that for 23 years straight the state has the highest murder rate in the country (seriously that’s f*cking awful).  Just to make things even worse (or better depending on how much you appreciate idiocy), the next day a recording from inside the Saints locker room prior to their NFC Wildcard game against the 49ers was released.  It was unlike anything I’ve heard, as Gregg Williams very coldly talked about targeting specific injuries on 49ers players.  It was a terrible pregame speech and I urge Al Pacino or Ray Lewis to slap Williams in the face and show him how to motivate.  So now the State Senate gets to backtrack and pretend like they were just kidding, because it is becoming painfully obvious that the penalties being administered to the Saints are very warranted.

 

Dwight Howard – It is a serious treat to watch him play basketball, if he is trying, he displays the athleticism to be the best big man since Shaq and to be honest his skill set could allow him to be better if he really applied himself.  The guy is just such a douche though, I used to think that big grin he had on all the time was a representation of how much fun he has playing ball.  Now I take it as, “I’m better than all the people in this building and should be able to do whatever I want.”  The interview with his head coach, Stan Van Gundy, was rude, arrogant and incredibly two-faced.  It was being reported that Howard had approached the Magic ownership and basically said that he wanted Stan Van gone.  In the interview Van Gundy is asked about the rumor and he confirmed that he had heard it too.  In comes “the big sleazy” basically daring his head coach to say something in front of him.  It was probably the most awkward scrum interview I’ve ever seen and I really feel bad for the shrill voiced Van Gundy.  Howard knows he holds the power in Orlando and he is ruthlessly cocky about, this shit really grinds my gears.

 

Mike Milbury – I don’t know who decided that Mike Milbury should be a hockey analyst but somehow he’s bullied his way into a fairly prominent position.  He gets to weigh in on violent hits and declare what’s dirty or not.  That’s like asking a priest to run a daycare, it just doesn’t seem right.  I mean all Milbury did in his day career was run around getting penalties and then beat a New York Rangers fan with his own shoe in the stands.

This meathead also singlehandedly set back the New York Islanders franchise probably a decade by trading away players like Zdeno Chara, Roberto Luongo and Jason Spezza, for the likes of Alexei Yashin.  Also, who loves Rick Dipietro’s crazy 15 year contract, well let’s all thank Mike Milbury for that fantastic trendsetting contract.  Mike’s latest moment of brilliance came when Milbury was charged for verbally and physically assaulting a 12 year old boy during his son’s peewee hockey game.  So when Mike Milbury comes out and calls Sidney Crosby a punk who is secretly one of the dirtiest players in the league, I just have to laugh and call baloney (thanks Ms Corningstone).  Sidney Crosby is far too busy being the most dynamic offensive player on the planet to worry about slowing down and being overly dirty but it is hockey so I’m sure he gets a little bit of stick work in.  Amazingly, Milbury has still managed to maintain his hockey analyst job and there were even rumblings that he might replace Don Cherry on Hockey Night In Canada.  Seriously people next time you’re enjoying a little rant from Grapes, think to yourself, holy fuck I’m glad I’m not listening to Mike Milbury.

Joey Votto Extension Crushes Jays Fan’s Dream

Posted: April 16, 2012 by centennialsports in Baseball

by Tom Ruminski

To the Toronto Blue Jays, Joey Votto was that hot girl in college that all of sudden appeared to have an interest in you. She smiled at you, laughed when you came her way, and would occasionally eye f*ck the sh*t out of you.
It looked like a certain thing, that is, until the ex-boyfriend got in the way…the Cincinnati Reds, who decided to propose to the girl with a 10-year-225-million dollar contract extension and win her back.

The dream is over……sigh.

Millions of Jays fan are devastated after hearing news of the monster extension handed out to the Toronto native. Votto, the apple of the Blue Jays desire, was expected to hit the free-agent market in the 2013 offseason after negotiations with the Reds appeared to hit a snare. He could have been the perfect complement to a righty-heavy lineup, provided protection for slugger Jose Bautista, and could have pushed the team to the brink of legitimate contention in the tough AL East.

Coming off a so-called “disappointing” offseason, Blue Jays fans were expecting the team to make an all-out effort to acquire the 2010 NL MVP. With the team losing out on the bidding war for Japanese sensation Yu Darvish, and the lack of attention given to MVP-caliber first baseman Prince Fielder, the masses had turned their attention to Votto. The Richview alumni right fully deserves the attention. Since becoming a full-time player in 2008 he has put up a total of a 120 homeruns, 403 runs batted in, and a batting average of .312 with an OPS of .954. In addition, it appears he has overcome emotionally trying issues that haunted him during his first couple of seasons. In particular, these problems were caused by an onset of depression caused by the death of his father during the early stages of his playing career.

The acquisition of Votto would have given the Blue Jays a first baseman that would match up with the best in the division.

Furthermore, his numbers surpass the likes of Mark Texeria, Carlos Pena, Mark Reynolds, and arguably Adrian Gonzalez. He would have enjoyed the prime of his career dawning Jays logo on his hat. However, with one swift move the Reds burst the bubble.

What does this mean to the Blue Jays? The answer is quite simple. It means it is time to rethink the clubs five-year-or-less policy for free agents and their own players. The team has reached to the verge of contention, thanks in large part to a minor league system that is considered a prospect gold mind. However, to sustain its potentially new found success, the team must be able to retain its homegrown stars.

Enjoy him while we got him Jay fans

For players like Jose Bautista and Brett Lawrie, the Votto extension signifies that there are teams on the open market that are willing to break the bank for a franchise player. Especially in the case of Lawrie, it will be almost impossible to sign him to a five-year contract because the market price for him could be sky high. Moreover, there is a growing trend in the MLB to sign star players to decade long contracts. In addition to the Votto extension, examples of such deals include the Troy Tulowitzki, Alex Rodriguez, and Albert Pujols contracts, as well as a nine-year deal handed out to all-world slugger and cheeseburger enthusiast Prince Fielder.

So the high school crush has moved on, however, there is still time to lock up the new girl. The Toronto Blue Jays need to pop the question to Brett Lawrie sooner than later, or risk losing another “dream girl”.

Welcome back, baseball season. In between the too-frequent outbreaks of ‘the wave’ at all the wrong moments, the YOLO streaker, and the potatoes on the field, there were some shining stars, and some regrets in the first week of Blue Jays baseball at the Rogers Centre. It’s only appropriate to name (with a hashtag) the beauty of the series, followed by someone that needs to clean it up.

#Beauty

Colby Rasmus

It’s really ‘cool’ to like Colby right now, the same way it’s ‘cool’ to like any player who is on a hot streak. The problem with the entire scenario, is that Colby has always been awesome. As Toronto fans so eloquently proved during the Opening Series after the big Santos non-save, Toronto just ain’t so great at warm welcomes (y’all).

Centre field swag

Toronto surely thought they won the trade, until Colby arrived with a sad face and put up .173/.201/.316 for the rest of his first season in the AL East through 35 games. On the other hand, we can celebrate Octavio Dotel winning the entire World Series (and being in the right place at the right time might not be so out of reach again this year in Detroit).

Sure, the country boy has a few issues of his own – like Tony LaRussa, his dad, Tony LaRussa’s feelings about his dad, his dad’s feelings about Tony LaRussa, and just wanting to hunt in Alabama, but dude is going to save Toronto a lot of runs with his full-out swag dives and panther-like tracking in centre field.

You know, sometimes homesickness and St. Louis are a bad mix. This pup just needed a new stage to shine on. I think the Jays have got a best-in-show on their hands.

#Dirty

Brett Lawrie

Look guy: everyone knows you think your balls are huge, but trying to steal home with the bases loaded and Jose Bautista at the plate, maybe watch your back. Despite Bautista acting a little too Switzerland about the whole ordeal the next day (“He just slid the wrong way…”), I can’t help but think that all Jose really wanted to do was slap him in the face  and say “YOU’RE NOT ON THE COVER OF MLB12 IN CANADA” (in Spanish).

And then, not to be outdone by himself, Lawrie tries to steal second later in the game with Arencibia at the plate on the final out of the inning. John Farrell called it a major baserunning mistake. I call it running like an asshole.

Reuters' pro photogs know how to capture the essence of stupidity.

When approached about Lawrie’s seemingly blase attitude about the errors of his ways, Farrell said he’d make sure the coaches got the message delivered again. Sounds like someone forgot to read the memo about the TPS reports.

This is a team game, cowboy. If anyone else had done that, the city would be calling for their public beheading, but the Lawrie jerseys are still alive and the bros who wear them are still drawing hearts around his name on their beer cans. YA BUDDY.

2014….The Countdown is On

Posted: April 12, 2012 by centennialsports in Puck

By John Spurr


The 2010 Men’s Olympic Hockey final was simultaneously one of the most stressful yet ecstatic moments of my life. It validated that sense of superiority that all Canadians carry with us, whether there’s any actual reason for this is open for debate. As we turn the page on that great game versus the damn dirty yanks, we can pretend that we’re kids again getting excited about Christmas and consider what our 2014 men’s team might look like.

Does this look like the chest of a world leader who doesn't get what he wants?.....Didn't think so


Of course we haven’t been informed whether or not the NHL players will actually get to go to the Sochi games but there are some positive rumblings. NHLPA president Donald Fehr was in Moscow in February meeting with Russian Overlord Czar Vladimir Putin. Obviously the only reason that these two would ever meet would be to discuss the viability of the NHLers participation in the marquee event during the Winter Olympics. The way I see it, on his home soil, what Putin wants, Putin gets.

Onto the speculative 2014 Canadian Men’s Olympic Hockey team. Goaltending is probably the easiest to figure out, the two best Canadian goalies are Marc-Andre Fleury and Carey Price. Fleury was the third goalie for the 2010 team but didn’t get to dress for a game. He is arguably the most athletic and technically sound goalie in the NHL. Price is a beast in net, he also possesses an extremely calm in-game demeanor, which is a trait that would serve him well in a tournament of this magnitude. The third goalie is a little more up in the air; Cam Ward would make for a solid third, as would Roberto Luongo depending on his health and mental stability from the scorns of ranting bandwagon Canucks fans.

The blue line would be significantly different from the 2010 team but shouldn’t be too surprising, with Dan Boyle probably too old and Brent Seabrook no longer possessing the speed to play on the big ice, here’s my seven defencemen. Shea Weber, Drew Doughty, Duncan Keith, Kris Letang, Alex Pietrangelo, Tyler Myers and Pernell Karl Subban. This group of D-men would give Canada a terrific blend of size, speed and playmaking ability, necessary for advancing the puck to the uber-talented forwards. Perhaps there is a young defenceman who is going to jump into the picture with an excellent year, Michael Del Zotto or Erik Gudbranson strike me as dark horses. Final point to consider with defencemen, the Sochi games will be played on international size ice so Yzerman might decide to go with a faster D, this could make one of those dark horse picks a reality.

The forwards are insane, we could make at least six lines of elite forwards but instead we will have to disappoint six or so top notch players. Our gluttony of centers is just ridiculous Sidney Crosby, Steven Stamkos, Jonathan Toews, Claude Giroux, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Ryan Getzlaf, Jordan Staal, Eric Staal, John Tavares, Jamie Benn and Jason Spezza. By no means do I think all those guys make the team, I don’t see Jordan Staal or Spezza getting in there off that initial list. Many of these traditional centers will play out on the wing as they did in Vancouver when we had seven natural centers on the team. I seriously have no idea how Yzerman will choose but I’ll pick eight; Crosby, Stamkos, Toews, Giroux, Tavares, the Nuge(yeah he’s gonna be unreal in two years), Getzlaf and Eric Staal.

On the left wing we boast current league MVP Corey Perry as well as Jeff Skinner, Matt Duchene and Taylor Hall. On the right wing we’ll have Rick Nash, Jordan Eberle, Milan Lucic and Tyler Seguin. The talent across our forward lines will be staggering but it will be interesting to see the roles that various players will be asked to play. If you remember the game against the Russians in 2010, our top checking line assigned to shutting down that ultra-skilled team down was Nash, Toews and Mike Richards. Toews will no doubt be our top-checking center as he is probably the toughest two way center in the NHL.

Yzerman builds teams with an eye for the bigger picture, players have defined roles and must simply do their part for the overall success of the 23-man team. Remember, Steve Stamkos watched the Olympics from his couch, as Yzerman selected Patrice Bergeron instead to win right side face-offs in the defensive end. This team will no doubt have a few surprise players who will have very specific tasks and specialized roles.

It’s still 22 months away from happening but when that team of f*cking studs is unveiled we are gonna see a roster that is probably superior to the team that took to the ice in Vancouver and they will methodically go about the destruction of the other hockey nations.