BC’s Hockey Buddies
I’ve long believed that a tournament of the provinces would be a fantastic idea. The Western provinces and Eastern provinces would split off and round-robin before engaging in a knockout tournament to crown Canada’s best hockey province.
Ontario would carry the heavy advantage, and would probably have to be split north-south for it even to be fair, but Quebec would definitely give them a run in the east.
In the west, Alberta already hates British Columbian hockey fans and a chance to settle the grudge on the ice would be quite the game.
But who would we cheer for?
Let’s take a look at what team British Columbia might look like.
BC carries a rich young pipeline of centres in Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Kyle Turris, and Ryan Johansen. The three are locks for the team and would probably anchor each line in the order presented.
For the fourth line centre, you have some options. Shawn Horcoff could be a good veteran complement to the other three young pivots, but Andrew Ebbett, Colin Fraser or even Zach Hamill might have something to say about that.
On the wing, Jamie Benn, Milan Lucic, Evander Kane and Andrew Ladd will add solid punch to the top six while Troy Brouwer and Brett Connolly would look on the third.
The wing options on the fourth line are a mixed bag that will make you choose between two of Aaron Volpatti, Colton Gilles, Chuck Kobasew, Michael Santorelli, or even an aging Brendan Morrison.
Team BC’s top pairing would undoubtedly be Shea Weber and Brent Seabrook with a second pairing of Dan Hamhuis and the always reliable Josh Gorges.
For the third pairing, you have an embarrassment of riches to choose from including Willie Mitchell, Karl Alzner, Jason Garrison, or Cody Franson. Guys like Steve Montador, Clayton Stoner, Barrett Jackman and Scott Hannan would be left on the outside looking in.
It’s a blueline that rivals most seen on Team Canada, and would be neck and neck with Ontario for the best in this hypothetical tournament.
Not much of a contest here with only two BC-born goalies in the league. Carey Price will start, and Jason LaBarbara (French for “the barber”) will back him up.
So it looks like….
Lucic – RNH – Benn – Ladd – Turris – Kane – Brouwer – Johansen – Connolly – Volpatti – Horcoff – Santorelli – Kobasew - Weber – Seabrook – Gorges – Hamhuis – Mitchell – Garrison – Alzner - Price – LaBarbara
Which looks really really good and would definitely crush the weaker provinces and Alberta, who would be relying on first line centre Kyle Brodziak and a first pairing of Dion Phaneuf and Jay Bouwmeester who didn’t exactly light it up the last time they played together in Alberta. Western dominance would be a lock.
However…the competition from the nation’s two most populous provinces would be fierce. Take a look at these two rosters and tell me in the comments if the BC Dogwoods stand a chance.
Giroux – Stamkos – Perry – Neal – Spezza – Couture – Staal – Staal – Nash – Seguin – Tavares – Moulson – Simmonds – Richards – Doughty – Pietrangelo – Bieksa – Boyle – Campbell – Subban – Girardi - Elliott – Smith
St Louis - Bergeron – Pominville – Burrows – Lecavalier – Briere – Parenteau – Ribeiro – Brassard – Talbot – Statsny – Perron – Tanguay, Vermette - Letang – Vlasic – Beauchemin – Bergeron - Robidas – Demers – Gragnani - Luongo – Brodeur
If Luongo can bail out that awful blueline, Quebec stands a chance but seriously that blueline is awful.
If I’m a betting man, my money is on Ontario to cruise to victory and defeat BC in the final.
What do you think?