Great players left off of Canada’s roster

WorldCup

The final rosters for the World Cup of Hockey will be announced today. Finland, Russia, Sweden and the Czech Republic filled out their 23-man rosters this morning, and the remaining four teams will be named this afternoon.

When
Canada’s final roster is finalized there will be a lot of debate among
passionate Canadian fans. Some very good players won’t make the roster,
but will we see ten eventual Hall of Famers omitted?

That is what happened in 1991.

Canada
has always had incredible depth. A second team could be very
competitive in these tournaments, but I think the 1991 Team Canada
omissions would be considered the greatest group of players not to play
in the tournament.

The 1991 Canada Cup roster:

D

Paul Coffey

Pittsburgh Penguins

D

Éric Desjardins

Montreal Canadiens

D

Al MacInnis

Calgary Flames

D

Larry Murphy

Pittsburgh Penguins

D

Steve Smith

Edmonton Oilers

D

Scott Stevens

New Jersey Devils

D

Mark Tinordi

Minnesota North
Stars

F

Shayne Corson

Montreal Canadiens

F

Russ Courtnall

Montreal Canadiens

F

Theoren Fleury

Calgary Flames

F

Dirk Graham

Chicago Blackhawks

F

Wayne Gretzky

Los Angeles Kings

F

Dale Hawerchuk

Buffalo Sabres

F

Steve Larmer

Chicago Blackhawks

F

Eric Lindros

Oshawa Generals

F

Mark Messier

Edmonton Oilers

F

Luc Robitaille

Los Angeles Kings

F

Brendan Shanahan

St. Louis Blues

F

Brent Sutter

New York Islanders

F

Rick Tocchet

Philadelphia Flyers

G

Ed Belfour

Chicago Blackhawks

G

Sean Burke

New Jersey Devils

G

Bill Ranford

Edmonton Oilers

A pretty solid lineup, but here is a list of Hall of
Fame players who did not make that team, so don’t be the fool who later
today claims a player isn’t good because he didn’t make
Canada’s World Cup of Hockey team. Canada has incredible depth, and the
best players don’t always make the team.

Adam Oates: 28 years old. He had 25 goals and 115 points in 60
games in 1990/1991.
Joe Sakic: 23 and scored 48 goals and 109 points.
Steve Yzerman: 25 when he had 51 goals and 108 points.
Cam Neely. Also 25 when he scored 51 goals in 1990/1991.
Ron Francis was 27 years old. Had 87 points in 81 games.
Joe Nieuwendyk was 24 years old coming off a 45 goal season.
Doug Gilmour was 27. He made it four years earlier but was left off this group.
Mike Gartner made it in 1987, but at 31 years old with 49 goals he didn’t make the cut.
Denis Savard wasn’t named in 1987 or again here at 29 years old.
Glenn Anderson was 30 years old, but didn’t crack the lineup.

**Ray Bourque opted not to play. Mario Lemieux was ill.**

Ten
Hall of Fame forwards did not make the team. Head coach Mike Keenan
opted for some more defensive-oriented checkers instead. It had many
people fired up, but Canada won so it was hard to criticize his choices.
Although I’d say Canada won because of their top-end talent, more than
who was standing behind the bench.

The crazy part about the
ten omissions was how different their styles of play were. Oates,
Yzerman, Savard and Sakic were offensive geniuses. Gilmour and Francis
were solid two-way players. Neely was a power forward. Anderson a
reckless, have-no-fear winger who produced in important games.
Nieuwendyk was a pure shooter who had scored an amazing 192 goals in his
first four seasons. While Gartner was a veteran speedster who had
amassed seven 40+ goals seasons in his first 12 seasons.

When you
look at who didn’t make the 1991 team, don’t be surprised if some
players not named to Canada’s World Cup team today will end up in the
Hall of Fame as well. Canada has so much depth that many great players
are left off the team every time the World Cup or Olympics come around.

We can go back to the 1987 Canada Cup and we’ll see some big names missing again.

C

Doug Gilmour

St. Louis
Blues

C

Wayne Gretzky

Edmonton Oilers

C

Dale Hawerchuk

Winnipeg Jets

C

Mario Lemieux

Pittsburgh Penguins

C

Brent Sutter

New York Islanders

C

Mark Messier

Edmonton Oilers

D

Ray Bourque

Boston Bruins

D

Paul Coffey

Edmonton Oilers

D

Doug Crossman

Philadelphia Flyers

D

Craig Hartsburg

Minnesota North
Stars

D

Larry Murphy

Washington Capitals

D

James Patrick

New York Rangers

D

Normand Rochefort

Quebec Nordiques

G

Grant Fuhr

Edmonton Oilers

G

Ron Hextall

Philadelphia Flyers

G

Kelly Hrudey

New York Islanders

LW

Michel Goulet

Quebec Nordiques

LW

Brian Propp

Philadelphia Flyers

RW

Glenn Anderson

Edmonton Oilers

RW

Kevin Dineen

Hartford Whalers

RW

Mike Gartner

Washington Capitals

RW

Claude Lemieux

Montreal Canadiens

RW

Rick Tocchet

Philadelphia Flyers

It is interesting to note Gilmour made the team in 1987 when he was 23, but didn’t make the cut at 27.

Scott
Stevens didn’t make it at 23 years old. The following season,
1987/1988, he scored 72 points in 80 games and was a dominant physical
force.

Al MacInnis was also excluded at 23 years old despite
scoring 76 points in 79 games in 1986/1987. He was named to the
tournament all-star team in 1991.

Denis Potvin was considered too old at 33.

Denis Savard was a spry 25 years old and scored 40 goals and  90 points in 1986/1987. The next
year he had 44 goals and 131 points, but he was never part of Canada’s best team.

Francis, Dino Ciccarrelli and Bernie Federko weren’t included in 1987 either.

Some players will be extremely disappointed later today when they aren’t
named to Canada’s team and the other seven teams in the tournament, but
they should realize many greats before them were also left off of these
star-studded rosters.

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    • smatic10

      A lot of emphasis on chemistry when it comes to these dman selections. (Muzzin-Doughty, Vlasic-Burns).

      I guess that’s understandable. I think the main reason Pietrangelo got picked over Gio was because he’s right-handed. I think we can all agree Gio is more of an impact player on both ends of the ice than Pietrangelo..

  • Kevin R

    Well I guess we have some pretty important players with something to prove next year. Shocked Brodie never made it. Hamilton omission is surprising to say the least, I guess we just like to over rate some of our players, but I’ll keep them despite these selections.

  • BlueMoonNigel

    How bad is Finland’s defence if Jokiipaka makes the team? Isn’t that Finnish kid on the Knights enough of a generational talent?

    Surprised Murray made it over Hamilton as Murray has spent so much of his young career on the DL.

    While many are maligning this tournament as nothing but a crass cash grab, the old Canada Cup provided some of the best hockey ever played. Personally, the best hockey game I have ever seen was the 1-0 Canada loss to Czechoslovakia in the round robin in the ’76 Canada Cup. End to end action and phenomenal goaltending on both ends. The Canada-USSR final in 1987 provided 3 of the most exciting games ever played involving Canadian professionals.

    I also like the idea of a team of young stars because how many of the guys on Team Canada would be supplanted by a young star? If the tournament is about best against best, then the young stars have to be there.

    Not crazy about all the games being played in TO, but that ensures travel fatigue isn’t going to be an issue.

    I’m looking forward to this event.

  • Kevin R

    So. What’s your point? Players now have to consider their body as a business. If they have physical or mental fatigue issues doesn’t make them less of a player in this league. This selection process is media hyped political control exercise with potential biases.