ON KUNITZ CHANCES FOR TEAM CANADA
The buzz going around this week is that Sidney Crosby’s struggles to mesh with linemates in the 2010 Olympics has been something discussed internally among Team Canada’s top decision makers and those concerns will strongly enhance Chris Kunitz bid to make Team Canada and likely play on the top line with Crosby.
Crosby in the 2010 games had respectable numbers (4G-3A-7Pts), and scored the overtime winner in the Gold Medal game over the Americans, but he didn’t have a dominant Olympics and failed to find much chemistry with the likes of Rick Nash, Jarome Iginla and others.
Making the games best player comfortable is a must and will very likely have Kunitz making the team over much more skilled players, including teammate James Neal who can be looked at as a longshot candidate going into the season.
Aside from his chemistry with Crosby, Kunitz is also attractive for his ability to play a bottom line role as a physical presence, the type of role Brenden Morrow played so well in during the 2010 Olympics.
Chatter on Crosby’s potential linemates has Claude Giroux on the right side with Kunitz and Crosby, or Steven Stamkos on the right wing with Crosby and Kunitz. We’ll see as things play out but Kunitz is a much stronger candidate for Team Canada than many envisioned when Canada’s orientation camp roster was announced.
TSN’s Pierre LeBrun, Bob McKenzie and Darren Dreger released their Team Canada roster projections based on what they claim is how they sense the coaches and management feel not their personal projections.
Kris Letang and James Neal were both left off the roster and it’s been surprising to hear the rumblings this week that some decision makers are not that high on Letang who was a Norris Trophy candidate.
TSN’S TEAM CANADA ROSTER
Duncan Keith – Drew Doughty
Marc Staal – Shea Weber
Jay Bouwmeester – Alex Pietrangelo
Dan Boyle – PK Subban
Chris Kunitz – Sidney Crosby – Steven Stamkos
Eric Staal – Jonathan Toews – Rick Nash
Logan Couture – John Tavares – Claude Giroux
Patrick Sharp – Ryan Getzlaf – Jeff Carter
Patrice Bergeron – Martin St. Louis