We take a break from your daily dose of bitching, moaning and hyper analysis to focus on the up-coming Olympics and, much more importantly, which Flames may be making their way to Vancouver in February.
SBN has a network-wide thing going, so here's the pre-determined categories we'll be wedging the hopefuls into:
"Pack Your Bags"
"Nearly A Lock"
"Fairly Safe Bet"
"In A Battle"
"Work To Do"
Jay Bouwmeester - "Pack your bags"
|2009 - Jay Bouwmeester||22||2||10||12||8||16||1||0||0||0||42||4.8|
There are lots of great defenders to choose from for Team Canada, but it's hard to argue against Jay Bouwmeester's inclusion: not only is he capable at both ends of the ice, he's regularly been a league leader in terms of ice time for the last several seasons. He's frequently played against the best in the business during his career and only recently turned 26 years old.
Robyn Regehr - "In a Battle"
|2009 - Robyn Regehr||22||0||9||9||2||19||0||0||0||0||24||0.0|
One of the steadiest pure defensemen in the league, Regehr's chances of making the Olympic squad are nonetheless hampered by his below average offensive abilities. Big, mean and capable shutting down the best players in the league, Regehr make sneak onto the squad depending on how the roster shakes out.
Dion Phaneuf - "Moving Down"
|2009 - Dion Phaneuf||22||6||5||11||2||20||2||0||2||0||48||12.5|
At this time last year, most would have figured Dion as a lock to make the club. However, after struggling mightily with his defensive game last season, Phaneuf is in tough to crack what will probably the best blueline (on paper) in this year's Olympics. And while his game looks "steadier" in the early going, Phaneuf hasn't made a compelling case thus far with fairly middling stats across the board.
Jarome Iginla - "Pack Your Bags"
|2009 - Jarome Iginla||22||16||7||23||1||28||4||0||3||0||67||23.9|
Iginla is not only a sure thing to make team Canada, but most expect him to be it's captain. Recently named as one of the best players of the last decade by Puck Daddy, Jarome's 12 goal month has re-solidified his claim to a place on the club. As such, Vancouverites will get to the experience the unfamiliar feeling of cheering for an effectual captain for once this winter.
Olli Jokinen - "Pack Your Bags"
|2009 - Olli Jokinen||22||3||12||15||0||21||1||0||0||0||58||5.2|
It's been a steady downward slide for Jokinen since he scored 39 goals in 2006-07. He's also had a fairly miserable run so far this season. That said, the Fins are a smaller country and don't have as many bodies to choose from. He hasn't been completely terrible for the Flames in the last week or so, meaning his play is likely to ramp up as the season progresses.
Miikka Kiprusoff - "Pack Your Bags"
|2009 - Miikka Kiprusoff||20||1192||12||5||51||2.57||599||548||.915||1|
There would have been more debate around this selection had Kipper continued his descent into mediocrity. However, a strong start to the season has likely eased doubts about his abilities and propelled him past his struggling friend and countryman Vesa Toskala. Antero Niittymaki is knocking it out of the park currently, but is less proven and likely tabbed as a back-up. Niklas Backstrom may also challenge for a spot, but Kipper's superior resume and 2009-10 stats will put him ahead of the Wild's backstopper.