I guess I'm one of those bitter old guys who believes yesteryear was better.
Recently, I floated out an idea to a friend and long-time NHL scout that the two Canadian junior teams put together for the NHL lockout of 1994-95 and 2004-05 were close in talent.
After all, both won gold. Both didn't lose a game.
"Come on, not even close," the NHL scout said. "There was much more talent on the 2005 team. Did that first team have anybody close to a Sidney Crosby or Shea Weber? No way.
"Count up how many Stanley Cups the players from each team has won, and most of those players have only seven years in the NHL."
Okay, okay. Settle down, my friend.
He was right, of course. Besides the fact that the 1994-95 Canadian under-20 team went a perfect 7-0 and outscored the opposition 49-22 under head coach Don Hay. A decade later, the Canadian juniors went 6-0 and walloped opponents by a combined score of 41-7 with Brent Sutter behind the bench, and dominated Alex Ovechkin and the Russians 6-1 in the final.
The 1994-95 championship, hosted by Red Deer, Alta., was the third in a streak of five in a row for Canada. Ten years later, when Crosby and company won in Grand Forks, N.D., snapped a seven year gold-less slump for the Canadian junior team program.
Already, players from that 2004-05 team have a combined 11 Stanley Cup rings in Andrew Ladd (2006, 2010), Ryan Getzlaf (2007), Corey Perry (2007), Sidney Crosby (2009), Colin Fraser (2010, 2012), Brent Seabrook (2010), Patrice Bergeron (2011), Jeff Carter (2012) and Mike Richards (2012).
Ed Jovanovksi (1996), Ryan Smyth (2006), Shean Donovan (2007) and Wade Redden all went to Stanley Cup finals, but the only NHL championships among the 1994-95 Canadian junior team were from Jeff Friesen with the 2002-03 New Jersey Devils and Jason Botterill as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins front office in 2009.
I guess there was only one dream team when it comes to Canadian junior hockey.
Here are the number of NHL games each player has suited up for from both Canadian junior teams:
2005 Canadian juniors 1995 Canadian juniors
G Rejean Beauchemin 0 G Dan Cloutier 351
G Jeff Glass 0 G Jamie Storr 219
D Cam Barker 296 D Chad Allan 0
D Shawn Belle 20 D Bryan McCabe 1135
D Braydon Coburn 460 D Nolan Baumgartner 143
D Dion Phaneuf 552 D Wade Redden 994
D Brent Seabrook 552 D Lee Sorochan 3
D Danny Syvret 59 D Jamie Rivers 454
D Shea Weber 480 D Ed Jovanovski 1085
F Patrice Bergeron 537 F Larry Courville 33
F Jeff Carter 516 F Jason Allison 552
F Jeremy Colliton 57 F Todd Harvey 671
F Sidney Crosby 434 F Darcy Tucker 947
F Nigel Dawes 212 F Jeff O'Neill 821
F Stephen Dixon 0 F Alexandre Daigle 616
F Colin Fraser 291 F Ryan Smyth 1151
F Ryan Getzlaf 512 F Jason Botterill 88
F Andrew Ladd 484 F Shean Donovan 951
F Clarke MacArthur 363 F Denis Pederson 435
F Corey Perry 530 F Eric Daze 601
F Mike Richards 527 FJeff Friesen 893
F Anthony Stewart 262 F Marty Murray 261
Total 7,144 Total 12,867
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