Commentary

Breaking down 2010 Canadian team

Updated: December 30, 2009, 5:54 PM ET
By Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun | ESPN.com

The 2010 Canadian Olympic men's hockey team was unveiled by executive director Steve Yzerman and the rest of the Team Canada staff on Wednesday. Here is our breakdown of the selections and omissions:

Forwards

Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins
Burnside: Certainly the biggest surprise of the forward contingent, Bergeron's solid two-way play and ability to play either center or wing paved the way for his inclusion. He is the only player named to the team who was not at the summer orientation camp in Calgary and has some history with Sidney Crosby, playing alongside him at a World Junior Championship during the NHL lockout.

LeBrun: One of the real roster surprises, but a well-deserved nomination. He had great chemistry with Crosby on a line at the 2005 world juniors, so he may get a look there come Vancouver.

Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins (alternate captain)
Burnside: There was some debate about whether Crosby would be made captain, but he is an alternate and you can imagine he will start out playing with Rick Nash on one wing.

LeBrun: Only thing left for the young superstar to accomplish is Olympic gold.


Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks
Burnside: Getzlaf has picked up the pace after a slow start and will almost certainly start out playing with his Anaheim teammate Corey Perry. He provides great size and skill down the middle.

LeBrun: An early prediction from yours truly: He'll be Canada's top scorer at the Olympics.

Dany Heatley, San Jose Sharks
Burnside: Despite hard feelings about his demanding out of Ottawa in the offseason, Heatley is a world-class producer and has a long history of international play for Canada. The assumption is he will play with San Jose linemates Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau.

LeBrun: Eat your heart out Ottawa! And Edmonton!

Jarome Iginla, Calgary Flames (alternate captain)
Burnside: A no-brainer, Iginla did play some with Nash and Crosby at Canada's orientation camp, although he can play anywhere in the lineup and may be asked to fulfill a more defensive role with the youthful Canadian lineup.

LeBrun: A third-time Olympian who will be leaned on for experience given the big turnover in the roster from four years ago.

Patrick Marleau, San Jose Sharks
Burnside: A long shot at the orientation camp, Marleau has more goals (25) than any other Canadian and is likewise full value for his inclusion on this roster.

LeBrun: Stripped of the "C" in August and named to the Olympic team four months later. Impressive.

Brenden Morrow, Dallas Stars
Burnside: Morrow will be asked to provide a healthy dose of sand on Canada's fourth or energy line, perhaps with Mike Richards, Jonathan Toews or Bergeron.

LeBrun: A terrific fit as the fourth-line left winger; the smaller NHL rink a boost bonus for him.

Rick Nash, Columbus Blue Jackets
Burnside: One of the team's best pure goal scorers, Nash showed instant karma with Crosby at the orientation camp.

LeBrun: One of the NHL's premier power wingers and a great fit on Crosby's left side.


Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks
Burnside: Perry's play in and of itself might have been enough to help him make this team, but the fact coach Mike Babcock can pencil in Perry and linemate Getzlaf onto a second strong offensive trio, perhaps with Eric Staal, made this an easy choice.

LeBrun: His chemistry with Getzlaf was a big leverage point for him, but his tremendous season makes him deserving in his own right. He'll need to avoid bad penalties in Vancouver, however.

Mike Richards, Philadelphia Flyers
Burnside: There was some discussion that perhaps Richards' stock had fallen as his Flyers have struggled, yet he remains one of the top penalty killers in the game and will be asked to bring his strong two-way play to the Olympics.

LeBrun: His so-so season didn't cost him, but believe me, Yzerman and his staff debated his inclusion to the last hour.

Eric Staal, Carolina Hurricanes
Burnside: A significant surprise as Staal has been injured and his point production is off his usual standards with 26 points in 29 games. Still, he is a big body, a top talent and a proven winner and leader.

LeBrun: I'm actually surprised he made the team, only because he's had an average season, but he's a tremendous player. Keep in mind he won gold with Canada at the 2007 World Championships in Moscow, something Hockey Canada cares about deeply. I think he'll play wing in this tournament.

Joe Thornton, San Jose Sharks
Burnside: Jumbo Joe leads all Canadian players with 54 points and gives the Canadians three dangerous forward combinations.

LeBrun: The NHL's leading scorer flies into Vancouver with his Sharks linemates.


Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks
Burnside: The Chicago Blackhawks' young captain is the top faceoff man among the Canadian players under consideration for the Olympic team and will likely anchor a third or fourth unit.

LeBrun: A versatile young star who can play center and wing and special teams and win faceoffs. He can be moved around if there are injuries during the tournament.

Defensemen

Dan Boyle, San Jose Sharks
Burnside: He will be counted on to help jump-start the Canadian power play and provide veteran leadership. No surprise here. Look for Boyle to line up with Chris Pronger.

LeBrun: He should have played for Canada in 2006, but a wrong was finally righted. A dynamic offensive playmaker who will key the transition game.

Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings
Burnside: The biggest surprise along the blue line, and maybe of the entire Canadian roster. But kudos to Yzerman and the management team for having the gumption to take a 20-year-old sophomore who has quickly established himself as a top NHL defender and is tied for the league lead among defensemen with nine goals.

LeBrun: Gutsy, gutsy pick by Yzerman and the correct one. He's a dynamic young force with the kind of vision and decision-making a player his age should not possess.

Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks
Burnside: Perhaps the best defenseman in the NHL right now, Keith will almost certainly play with his Chicago defensive partner, Brent Seabrook, and log lots of ice time for a very deep Canadian blue line.

LeBrun: He'll be on my Norris Trophy ballot this season; another key transition-game defenseman.

Scott Niedermayer, Ducks (captain)
Burnside: Niedermayer has been critical of his own play this season as the Ducks have struggled, but he was a lock to make this team regardless. His selection as captain is likewise no surprise, although he remains one of the most understated players and isn't likely to produce many Knute Rockne-style speeches.

LeBrun: The Team Canada captain isn't having his best season, but he'll be the Hall of Famer of old come Olympic time.

Chris Pronger, Flyers (alternate captain)
Burnside: Another lock, Pronger will provide the healthy dose of nastiness the Canadians will want on the back end. He's a winner, pure and simple.

LeBrun: Along with Niedermayer, the other sure lock, a veteran international performer who will be more at home on the smaller NHL ice in Vancouver.


Brent Seabrook, Chicago Blackhawks
Burnside: Another big body for the Canadian blue line, he will bring instant chemistry and stability playing with Keith.

LeBrun: I love this pick; a physical presence who brings instant chemistry with Chicago teammate Keith.


Shea Weber, Nashville Predators
Burnside: Weber has emerged as a topflight NHL defender with a heavy shot and he's tough as nails.

LeBrun: The heaviest shot on the team and a monster physical presence.


Goaltenders

Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils
Burnside: No surprise with any of the three netminders named, but it seems certain Brodeur will be the starter in Vancouver. Having said that, it will be a shock if he plays every game, which sets up the debate about who will back him up.

LeBrun: Four years ago, he told me he didn't think he'd be in Vancouver. He surprised even himself.

Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins
Burnside: In our minds, Fleury has earned the right to be the second man behind Brodeur. Fleury has a Stanley Cup ring and won 30 postseason games over the past two seasons. In fact, his performance in the clutch has been better than Brodeur's over the past two seasons.

LeBrun: He'll be nipping at Luongo's heels for the backup job going into Vancouver.

Roberto Luongo, Vancouver Canucks
Burnside: Most observers believe Luongo will be the backup to Brodeur, as he was in Italy four years ago. But he has never led his team out of the second round of the playoffs and was miserable when the Canucks were ousted in six games by Chicago in the second round last spring.

LeBrun: Don't forget his international experience, capturing gold at the 2004 World Championships in Prague.

The omissions

Forwards
Burnside: Many believed it would be Jordan Staal, not Eric, who would be named to the Canadian squad, but he became a victim of Canada's incredible depth down the middle. Jeff Carter, who led all Canadians last season with 46 goals, played himself off the radar in the first half of this season, but we admit surprise that Martin St. Louis, the heart and soul of the Tampa Bay Lightning and a former Olympian, wasn't named to the team even though his 43 points are fifth among all Canadian players.

We can only assume Yzerman et al wanted as much size as possible and went with Eric Staal instead of the smaller St. Louis. Former Conn Smythe Trophy winner Brad Richards, who has 44 points, was also left off the list, as was Tampa captain Vincent Lecavalier and former No. 1 draft pick Steven Stamkos, whose blazing start to the season earned him some consideration.

LeBrun: For me, the biggest surprise was the omission of Martin St. Louis. He's a real spark plug and a great leader, and I thought he could really make a difference in Vancouver, where the pressure on the host nation will be out of this world.

I thought there would be a Staal on this team, but I figured it would be Jordan, not Eric. The Penguins' Staal is a real versatile player and terrific penalty killer. I figured his ticket to Vancouver was booked after his performance in the Cup finals in June. I was wrong.

"I thought I had a good season," Jordan Staal was quoted as saying to Pittsburgh media after the announcement. "I wouldn't say I had the best shot out there. I didn't say I should be on the team or anything like that, but there was definitely a moment I thought I could make it. ... That's how it goes."

It is also disappointing to not see Ryan Smyth on the team given his decorated international career, but Morrow beat him out for the fourth-line, left-winger job, and Smyth's five-week injury hiatus this season also hurt his chances.

Brad Richards was also a player I had on my team. He is having a huge comeback season, has versatility with his ability to play both wing and center and has international experience.

Other players who were on the bubble that didn't make it include Steven Stamkos, Mike Fisher, Jeff Carter, Vincent Lecavalier and Shane Doan, the latter, like Smyth, a longtime Team Canada guy.

Defensemen
Burnside: Even though Mike Green's exclusion from the roster was expected, it remains startling that a player who is the most prolific point-producing NHL defenseman with 40 goals and 111 points in the past season-and-a-half couldn't find a way onto the Canadian team. It is also shocking that none of the three Calgary Flames defenders who were invited to the Canadian orientation camp in August -- Dion Phaneuf, Robyn Regehr and Jay Bouwmeester -- made the team. Although he was a long shot, Stephane Robidas is tied for the lead in goal scoring among all NHL defensemen (nine), but could not crack the lineup.

LeBrun: The seventh job went to Doughty over Jay Bouwmeester and Mike Green. I give Yzerman credit because Bouwmeester was the safer pick, but he's taking a chance on the young Doughty, who'll be perhaps a power-play specialist in Vancouver. You have to feel for Green because he's played tremendously well with the Capitals this season and has improved his defensive play; but, fair or not, I think his fate was sealed during last spring's NHL playoffs.

Dion Phaneuf and the underrated Stephane Robidas also made good cases, but until the day Canada sends two teams to the Olympics, real good players will be looked over.

Goaltending
Burnside: There really weren't any issues when it came to Canadian goaltenders. Cam Ward saw his opportunity to make the team disappear when he was injured and his Carolina Hurricanes got off to an absolutely horrid start to the season.

LeBrun: Cam Ward's chances took a fall after his early-season injury.

Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun cover the NHL for ESPN.com.

ALSO SEE