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In Roberto Luongo, left, and Martin Brodeur, Canada figures to have the best goaltending duo of any team in the Vancouver Olympics. ((Brian Bahr/Getty Images))

Last February, we seized on the one-year countdown to the Vancouver Olympics to start thinking about the Games' marquee event: the men's hockey tournament.

Now, with Canada's vast reservoir of NHL talent assembling in Calgary for orientation camp, we thought it would be fun to revisit our selections for who should wear the Maple Leaf in 2010.

The setup was simple, even if settling on a roster could scarcely have been tougher: we assembled a star-studded team of 18 sports journalists — including Hockey Night in Canada analysts, and CBCSports.ca bloggers Cassie Campbell, Marc Crawford, Elliotte Friedman, Kelly Hrudey, Jim Hughson, Jeff Marek, Scott Morrison, Craig Simpson and P.J. Stock — and asked them to choose three goaltenders, seven defencemen and 13 forwards, plus a captain and two alternate captains. We also allowed our selection committee to name a couple of their toughest omissions (turns out that list was a veritable all-star team, by the way).

A lot has changed since the winter, so let the second-guessing begin. Again.

All stats through Feb. 8, 2009

FORWARDS

This unit has room for the most players, but the selections process wasn't any easier judging by the 26 different skaters who received votes. How stiff is the competition? The captain of the 2006 Olympic team — Joe Sakic — was named on just one ballot.

Still, some consensus emerged. Three players were unanimous choices, including a certain young Penguins captain who was overlooked in 2006. Our panel also loved centres — no less than nine of the 13 picks man the middle for their NHL clubs. Let's just hope some of these guys don't mind moving to the wing.

The choice for captain was surprisingly clear, with the good-natured leader of the Calgary Flames garnering a decisive 14 votes — or 13 more than any other player. The alternate captains are both respected vets who wear the "C" for their NHL clubs.

The selections:

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Do-it-all star Jarome Iginla is our choice for Canada's captain. (( Al Bello/Getty Images))

 Jarome Iginla "C" (18 votes) (C 14, A 2)

Hometown: Edmonton

NHL club: Calgary Flames

Age on Feb. 12, 2010: 32

The skinny: Perhaps the most respected man in the game, Iginla gives you everything you'd want in a hockey player. He hits, fights, scores (50 goals last season), plays both ends of the ice, and does it all with a quiet dignity you can't help but admire. Iginla was also one of the heroes of Canada's 2002 Olympic gold medal team, scoring a pair of goals in the final against the U.S. No wonder more than three quarters of our panel picked the centre to captain the 2010 squad.

"He's what everyone wants a hockey player to be," says Hughson.

 

Sidney Crosby (18 votes) (A 4)

Hometown: Cole Harbour, N.S.

NHL club: Pittsburgh Penguins

Age on Feb. 12, 2010: 22

The skinny: Can you believe this guy is still just 21? On and off the ice, Crosby exhibits the skills of a 10-year veteran, and has the trophy case to match: the playmaking centre already has an MVP and scoring title under his belt courtesy of a 120-point sophomore season in 2006-07. Sid the Kid's omission from the Turin team (he had 102 points as a rookie that season) was perhaps the biggest blunder of Wayne Gretzky's executive career.

"Canada's best player," says Marek. "He'll probably shift to the wing with this team so stacked at centre."

Vincent Lecavalier (18 votes)

Hometown: île Bizard, Que.

NHL club: Tampa Bay Lightning

Age on Feb. 12, 2010: 29

The skinny: By his lofty standards, Lecavalier is having a down season. But don't forget the big centre with the sweet hands underwent shoulder surgery in the off-season, and may be distracted by the constant speculation about a potential trade to Montreal. And remember this: Lecavalier averaged 46 goals in the past two seasons.

"You can't leave this generation's Beliveau of any team," says Hughson.

Dany Heatley (17 votes)

Hometown: Calgary

NHL club: Ottawa Senators

Age on Feb. 12, 2010: 29

The skinny: Speaking of down seasons, Heatley's fortunes have mirrored those of his fading team's. As the once-proud Senators spiral toward the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the production of their best sniper has gone along for the ride. With "only" 46 points in 51 games, Heatley is on pace to finish with less than a point a contest for the first time since joining Ottawa in 2005. Still, who can argue with a durable two-time 50-goal scorer who plays the wing?

"They need natural scorers and he's been incredible at international events," says Friedman.

Rick Nash (17 votes)

Hometown: Brampton, Ont.

NHL club: Columbus Blue Jackets

Age on Feb. 12, 2010: 25

The skinny: On track for a fourth 30-goal season with a bad Columbus team, it's tantalizing to envision what Nash would do if surrounded by top-shelf talent. Ignore the meagre one point he produced in Turin (no one on that team did much of anything) and look at his performance at the 2008 world championships, where he racked up 13 points in nine games on a line with Heatley and Ryan Getzlaf. Plus, on a Canadian team stocked with centres, it doesn't help to have a few natural wingers, eh?

"A power forward who can score big in the international game," says Campbell. "He'll probably  play with Getzlaf and Heatley."

Shane Doan "A" (16 votes) (A 7)

Hometown: Halkirk, Alta.

NHL club: Phoenix Coyotes

Age on Feb. 12, 2010: 33

The skinny: Want consistency? How about nine straight 20-goal campaigns, including at least 27 in the last four and 21 more already this season? A veteran of the 2006 Olympics, the affable Phoenix captain (and former Winnipeg Jet!) will add another respected voice to a dressing room already full of them. Nearly half our panel picked the right winger as an alternate captain.

"A grinder with hands," says Hrudey.

Joe Thornton (16 votes) (C 1, A 2)

Hometown: St. Thomas, Ont.

NHL club: San Jose Sharks

Age on Feb. 12, 2010: 30

The skinny: That reputation as a playoff choker? It's a myth. In 35 post-season games over the last three years, Thornton has 30 points. He's also arguably the best playmaker in hockey — remember that ridiculous 92-assist MVP season in 2006-07? Flank Jumbo Joe with two elite finishers, and you've got an unstoppable scoring line.

"Olympic experience, size, and can be a third-line player if they need it," says Campbell.

Mike Richards (16 votes)

Hometown: Kenora, Ont.

NHL club: Philadelphia Flyers

Age on Feb. 12, 2010: 25

The skinny: Every good hockey team needs a checking line, and every good checking line needs a centre like Richards. He has the speed, smarts and tenacity to shut down anyone's best player. And unlike Kris Draper in 2006, Richards is a major threat to turn the tables and go on the attack: witness his point-a-game pace and nine shorthanded goals since the start of 2007-08.

"A young Bobby Clarke," says Crawford.

Ryan Getzlaf (16 votes)

Hometown: Regina

NHL club: Anaheim Ducks

Age on Feb. 12, 2010: 24

The skinny: At six-foot-four, 221 pounds, and with more than a point a game since 2007-08, Getzlaf is the heart and soul of the Ducks' sandpaper forwards. Sure, he takes a lot of penalties for a top centre, but he's been a plus-rated player in each of his four seasons. And would you want to go in the corner with him?

"As good as he wants to be," says Marek. "And he can be scary good."

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Jeff Carter has the hot hand. But will he cool off by next February? ((Bruce Bennett/Getty Images))

 Jeff Carter (11 votes)

Hometown: London, Ont.

NHL club: Philadelphia Flyers

Age on Feb. 12, 2010: 25

The skinny: If we'd drawn up our roster a year ago, Carter wouldn't have gotten a sniff. At the time he was on his way to a quiet season of 29 goals and 53 points. Now? The lanky centre has already set a new career high with 58 points in 52 games, including a Flyer-high 34 goals. You can never have enough pure scorers.

"Having a breakout season and he's a two-way player," says Simpson.

Patrick Marleau (10 votes)

Hometown: Aneroid, Sask.

NHL club: San Jose Sharks

Age on Feb. 12, 2010: 30

The skinny: Last season was a disaster — 48 points and a career-worst minus-19 rating by a guy who's supposed to be one of the best two-way centres in hockey. Consider his reputation restored: Marleau is on pace to beat his career high of 34 goals, and his plus-20 tops the Western Conference-leading Sharks. Now he could be en route to his first Olympics.

"Big, strong, skilled and playing his best hockey," says Marek.

Jonathan Toews (10 votes)

Hometown: Winnipeg

NHL club: Chicago Blackhawks

Age on Feb. 12, 2010: 21

The skinny: The precocious centre got his first taste of international stardom with a clutch performance for the ages at the 2007 world juniors. With Canada facing elimination in the semifinals against the U.S., Toews scored three straight times in a shootout to propel his country into the gold-medal game. Now the second-year pro is one of the NHL's brightest young stars even though he still can't legally drink a beer in Chicago.

"A gifted scorer," says Morrison.

Simon Gagne (10 votes)

Hometown: Sainte-Foy, Que.

NHL club: Philadelphia Flyers

Age on Feb. 12, 2010: 29

The skinny: Last year's concussion problems are history, and Gagne is again displaying the scoring touch that earned him back-to-back 40-goal campaigns in the two years prior. A third consecutive Olympics could be in the offing for the left winger.

"Can play any role and brings a lot of speed," says Campbell.

Also receiving votes: Marc Savard (8), Martin St. Louis (6), Brenden Morrow (5) (A 1), Corey Perry (5), Eric Staal (4), Brad Richards (3), Chris Kunitz (2), Patrick Sharp (2), Ryan Smyth (2), Jason Spezza (2), Joe Sakic (C 1), Rene Bourque, Mike Cammalleri.

DEFENCEMEN

Unlike with the goalies, there were no unanimous picks here. The guy who came closest may surprise you, until you remember that after being rescued from hockey purgatory in Tampa, he's now the best blue-liner on arguably the NHL's best team.

The one thing our panel seemed to agree on was a desire for youth. More than half of the seven selections will be 26 or younger when the Olympics begin. On the other hand, opinion was divided on a smooth-skating four-time Stanley Cup champ and former Conn Smythe winner who may or may not still be playing in 2010.

The selections:

Dan Boyle (17 votes) (A 1)

Hometown: Ottawa

NHL club: San Jose Sharks

Age on Feb. 12, 2010: 33

The skinny: A key member of the Lightning's 2004 Stanley Cup championship team, Boyle is back in the spotlight now that he's moved from one of the NHL's worst teams to one of its best — Western Conference-leading San Jose. A reserve on the 2006 Olympic team, the offensive-minded defenceman (39 points in 46 games for the Sharks) figures to be a key player in Vancouver.

"A smooth skater and great puck carrier," says Simpson.

Jay Bouwmeester (16 votes)

Hometown: Edmonton

NHL club: Florida Panthers

Age on Feb. 12, 2010: 26

The skinny: Big (six-foot-four, 212 pounds) and skilled (12 goals already this season), Bouwmeester toils in obscurity in Florida, though maybe not for long: the pending free agent may be moved if the Panthers fall out of contention. Though still at a tender age, he comes with plenty of big-game experience: six NHL seasons, three world juniors, a World Cup and the 2006 Olympics, where he played in all six Team Canada games.

"He could be Chris Pronger if he played with hate," says Hughson.

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Dion Phaneuf shoots and hits with the best, but can he curtail his tendency to gamble on risky plays? ((Dave Sandford/Getty Images))

 Dion Phaneuf (16 votes) (A 1)

Hometown: Edmonton

NHL club: Calgary Flames

Age on Feb. 12, 2010: 24

The skinny: At a rock-solid six-foot-three and 214 pounds, Phaneuf's game is about power and intimidation. He comes equipped with a blistering point shot (54 goals in his first three NHL seasons), and opposing forwards make a point of knowing where he is on the ice at all times, in case they end up on the receiving end of a bone-rattling check. Phaneuf's penchant for the highlight-reel hit causes him to get burned from time to time, but his sheer presence has the ability to take other countries' skilled players off their game.

"Hits like a Mack truck and skates like a Ferrari," says Stock.

Shea Weber (16 votes)

Hometown: Sicamous, B.C.

NHL club: Nashville Predators

Age on Feb. 12, 2010: 24

The skinny: Those who saw him in the hardest-shot competition during all-star weekend (he was beaten only by six-foot-nine monster Zdeno Chara) know Weber has one of hockey's most powerful deliveries. And he knows how to use it, with 14 goals in his first 44 games this season.

"A punishing hitter. He'll keep opponents honest," says Marek.

Mike Green (15 votes)

Hometown: Calgary

NHL club: Washington Capitals

Age on Feb. 12, 2010: 24

The skinny: Green got his big break last season, his second full-time in the NHL, when Bruce Boudreau took over the Capitals bench and gave Green a central role. The result? 18 goals, and another 19 in his first 41 games this season. Green has a howitzer of a shot (ask Patrick Thoresen) and proved his international mettle with 12 points in nine games at last year's world championships.

"A great offensive defenceman," says Morrison.

Chris Pronger (12 votes) (A 3)

Hometown: Dryden, Ont.

NHL club: Anaheim Ducks

Age on Feb. 12, 2010: 35

The skinny: One of the most feared defencemen ever, Pronger's unique combination of size (six-foot-six, 214 pounds), strength and nastiness (remember when he stomped on Ryan Kesler's leg last season, or the time he rammed Tomas Holmstrom's face into the glass in a 2007 playoff game?) is what nightmares are made of for opposing forwards. Throw in his veteran savvy and ice vision, and forget his age: Pronger is still one of the best blue-liners in hockey. Now if he could just be a little more disciplined.

"Still the best passer in the game," says Crawford.

Scott Niedermayer "A" (11 votes) (C 1, A 9)

Hometown: Cranbrook, B.C.

NHL club: Anaheim Ducks

Age on Feb. 12, 2010: 36

The skinny: Wonder why Canada flamed out in the quarter-finals in Turin? Look no further than the absence of the injured Niedermayer, whose unmatched skating and puck handling skills simply couldn't be replaced. No one doubts he belongs on the 2010 team, but some think he won't be around: Niedermayer contemplated retirement after being named the playoff MVP in 2007, and he hasn't looked quite the same since. Still, how can a B.C. boy resist one more shot at Olympic glory in his own backyard?

"The retirement questions are there, but he's still so smooth and solid," says Simpson.

Also receiving votes: Brent Burns (6), Brian Campbell (6), Duncan Keith (3), Robyn Regehr (3), Dennis Wideman (3), Adam Foote, Marc-Edouard Vlasic.

GOALTENDERS

With only three spots up for grabs, competition for the honour of donning the Team Canada mask is typically cutthroat for 2010. Still, our choices were clear: the top two goalies were unanimous picks (don't envy the head coach who has to decide on a starter every night) and the No. 3 guy (probably just an emergency option, but you never know) received twice as many votes as his closest competitor.

The selections:

Martin Brodeur (18 votes)

Hometown: Montreal

NHL club: New Jersey Devils

Age on Feb. 12, 2010: 37

The skinny: Check out this trophy case: three Stanley Cups, four Vezina Trophies, four Jennings Trophies, a 2002 Olympic gold medal, a World Cup of Hockey title and a Calder. And did we mention he's a 10-time all-star who's closing in on the all-time records for wins and shutouts? The only question mark, oddly, is his health. After a super-human run of durability, Brodeur has missed most of this season with a torn biceps. Bad luck? Or are all those deep playoff runs finally taking their toll?

"The most athletic goalie to ever play the game," says Stock.

Roberto Luongo (18 votes)

Hometown: Montreal

NHL club: Vancouver Canucks

Age on Feb. 12, 2010: 30

The skinny: He's never won a Vezina (Brodeur casts a long shadow) but does anyone doubt Luongo is one of the best in the game? Big and athletic, his career .919 save percentage is five points better than the man he'll be battling for Team Canada's No. 1 job. Brodeur may have the hardware, but Luongo is much younger and will have home-ice advantage when the Olympics come to GM Place.

"When Luongo is on, he's unbeatable," says Crawford.

Carey Price (10 votes)

Hometown: Williams Lake, B.C.

NHL club: Montreal Canadiens

Age on Feb. 12, 2010: 22

The skinny: Short on pro experience but long on talent, Price boasts a stellar .916 save percentage over his first two NHL seasons. Sure, he looked shaky in last year's playoffs, but the kid is cool: witness his tournament-MVP performance in backstopping Canada to the world junior title in 2007. And what better place to prepare for the Olympic pressure cooker than in Montreal, where Price is constantly compared to the long line of Habs goalie greats.

"Price is the best up-and-coming goalie," says Hrudey, a former NHL netminder.

Also receiving votes: Steve Mason (4), Jean-Sebastien Giguere (2), Marty Turco, Cam Ward.