You have to give a lot of credit to Steve Yzerman for accepting, for a second time, the gig that will put him at the spotlight of the hockey universe today, in what is essentially a no-win situation.
No matter what 25 names he and his management group put forward today, there is going to be second guessing. And not the 3 or 4 names that caused a stir when USA Hockey named their roster on January 1st.
For every name that is on the roster beyond the Sidney Crosby’s, Jonathan Toews’ and Duncan Keith’s of the list, someone will have a player that could replace that person on the roster and do just as well.
You could have 100 hockey experts make a list of their 25 man roster, and no two would be identical.
So for Yzerman, second guessing will begin at 11:01 today, and will continue up until the Olympics begin, and god forbid Canada doesn’t win gold, it will continue until 2018.
Yzerman was the GM of the team that won in Vancouver, and nobody would have blamed him for quitting while he was ahead. Go out on top, and let someone else be the face of 2014.
Canada won in 2010, so people tend not to remember that budding superstar Steven Stamkos, in the midst of a 50 goal season, was left off the roster for more experienced players. However, people still recall to this day (or maybe it is just me) that Rob Zamuner was selected to be a part of Team Canada in 1998.
The level of depth of Canadian hockey is both a gift and a curse when it comes to making these types of teams. No matter what country you are picking, there is always going to be the “next guy”, or guys, that could have been on the team.
It just so happens that Canada’s list of “next guys” could easily fill another gold-medal caliber roster, and that is why we care so much about this day. Everyone makes their own list, and everyone in this country thinks they could make a gold medal winning roster. And in most cases, they could, and pretty much any “projected roster” I have seen would win the gold on any given day.
But, Yzerman’s final roster is the only one that matters. Come home with anything but gold, and he will face criticism. Win the gold, and he will get little credit because it is something he should have done.
It’s a no win situation, and I give him a lot of credit for taking the role again.
Now, Steve, you better win!