With the Olympics drawing closer and closer, the speculation of which players Steve Yzerman and company will choose to represent our country is roaring higher than ever.
There is no doubt that Hockey Canada will do a great job in selecting the team (with the amount of talent our country has it would be hard to ice a bad team), but no hockey fan in Canada can resist making their own predictions of who they believe will be wearing the red and white when it comes time to drop the puck.
Some of the talk is beginning to get a little out of hand though, with players being looked at who, really, have no chance of making the team.
The latest of these who are "playing their way on the team" is Mike Fisher of the Ottawa Senators. Now, for this portion of my article, I am going to throw aside the fact that I am a Leafs fan and must hate everyone who wears a Sens jersey and talk purely from a hockey fan standpoint.
Mike Fisher is a solid two-way player and would be a perfect fourth-line center for a team of "stars," but does he belong on Team Canada? I don't think so. There are far to many players who are ahead of Fisher on the Canadian depth chart. As a center, there is no chance for Fisher to make this team with the likes of Sidney Crosby, Joe Thornton, Mike Richards, and Ryan Getzlaf also gunning for the four center positions.
Granted, Fisher is having a career year with 27 points in 30 games so far this season, but there are other Canadians centermen around the NHL who are producing as much, if not more, than Fisher and they are not getting any media attention for Team Canada.
Rich Peverly of the Atlanta Thrashers has 30 points, Stephen Weiss of the Panthers has 29, and Matt Stajan has 26 points, just to name a few, and I can almost guarantee that there aren't any wanna-be GM's that have Peverly as their No. 4 center on Team Canada.
So why all the attention to Mr. Fisher?
Well playing for a Canadian team probably has a factor, another is the fact that he has already surpassed his goal totals from a year ago, but there are too many other players having career years to pick out just one and say that he has played his way onto the radar of Stevie Y.
When Dec. 31 rolls around, and Hockey Canada reveals the roster for the 2010 olypmics, I can garuntee that you will not find Mike Fisher in that lineup.
There are other players who people believe have played their way OFF of Team Canada. Immediately, Vincent Lecavalier comes to mind as a player who has struggled and has been effectively ruled out by the media and fans alike.
However, upon review of the stats of Fisher and Lecavalier, Fisher has only one point more than Vinny. Anybody with basic hockey knowledge would never pass over a player with the talent of Lecavalier to put Mike Fisher on their team.
Lecavalier admits that he has struggled so far this season, saying that he does not feel comfortable around the net with the puck and he probably will not be named to Team Canada, but you can bet that the Team Canada brass are keeping a close eye on him to see if he turns it up and plays like the Vinny of previous years.
Once the team is announced, there will be endless discussion of who was left off and who should not be there, but until we are either listening to our anthem being played prior to the gold medal game, or we are watching two other countries fight it out, the discussion will be ongoing.
Just an interesting fact, if the Olympic team was made up of who was leading in points as of RIGHT NOW (the way players are "playing their way on"), here is how the team would look. Not necessarily a bad team, but not the way Team Canada will look in reality.
(highest points= first line, etc.)
Joe Thornton Sidney Crosby Corey Perry
Dustin Penner Ryan Getzlaf Brad Richards
Rick Nash Patrick Marleau Paul Stastny
Martin St. Louis Nathan Horton Jarome Iginla
Mike Green Dan Boyle
Duncan Keith Drew Doughty
Michael Del Zotto Chris Pronger