Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Love It Or Hate It -- Part 2

By Nick Faris
Red Line Corp. Writer

Todd Bertuzzi is back in the NHL. He was finally reinstated by commissioner Gary Bettman yesterday, exactly seventeen months to the day he brutally attacked Steve Moore (story here). That will certainly benefit his team, the Vancouver Canucks, in the new NHL. The league has implemented several rule changes, including a shootout after OT. Could Bertuzzi be one of the three shooters the Canucks will choose when they have their first shootout (its a little obvious that everyone will have one)? Nobody knows, but in part 2 of this article, I will note who I believe will shoot for each Canadian squad.

Drumroll please!

We begin the farthest west, in Vancouver. Yes, Bertuzzi will be a shooter, Mark Crawford will say, as will linemate Markus Naslund. Here comes a tough decision - who is their other shooter? Don't expect many defencemen to be taken, and not on this team. From where I see it, three men could be chosen for that spot - Brendan Morrison, or one of the Sedin twins, Henrik or Daniel. Matt Cooke could even be a dark horse. Now, neither Henrik or Cooke scored enough goals last year for me to take them. In a close battle between the other Sedin and Morrison, the latter gets the nod, for experience and scoring lead. (He was second in both goals and points of Canucks). Dan Cloutier is obviously the goalie for Vancouver, although if they do acquire a goalie in the free agent market, expect that man to stop the shots.

On to Alberta. Calgary's obvious shooter is Jarome Iginla, with tough decisions to be made after. This is a team with Chris Simon fifth in goals. Martin Gelinas would have been a shooter had he not left. Tony Amonte will also try to net some goals, while I dive down the Flames goals table and select Marcus Nilson as the third man. Mikka Kiprusoff will be in net.

Calgary's counterpart, Edmonton, will choose captain Ryan Smyth as one man. This team was not very tough for me, given their lack of top scorers. I would definitely choose Raffi Torres and Ethan Moreau as Smyth's counterparts. Ty Conklin will stop the shots.

In Ontario, Ottawa has several men who could shoot. Daniel Alfredsson (32 goals) will be left out of the shootout (at least by me) and in his place will be Marian Hossa, Martin Havlat, and Jason Spezza. This young core of players should be one of the best shootout teams in the league. Dominik Hasek, a veteran of shootouts, will be the goalie.

Toronto will obviously choose Mats Sundin, but unfortunately for the Leafs, two others that I would have picked, Gary Roberts and Joe Nieuwendyk, are both gone. In their place I will put newcomer Jason Allison and 21-goal scorer Darcy Tucker. Ed Belfour will be the netminder.

Last, but not least, we have Montreal. Montreal has no shortage of young talent, with former Calder Trophy candidates Michael Ryder and Mike Ribeiro shooters. Captain Saku Koivu, who I would have chosen a few years ago, is left out, and in his spot is Montreal top scorer Richard Zednik. Jose Theodore will be in the paint for the Quebecers.

Of course, those are only my choices. Who knows what Canadian team heads might do come the season? Nobody. But look for them to have to decide several times, because the shootout is coming!

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