Monday, August 4, 2008

The team that dreams are made of

Puck Daddy's (now somewhat outdated) challenge got me to thinking - what would my ultimate team be? I've actually been racking my brains on this one for the weekend, trying to figure out who I'd put where, who I'd sneak in and who I'd (unfortunately) leave off my roster.

So, here it is - Amrit's Ultimate Hockey Team

Line 1: Bobby Hull - Wayne Gretzky - Gordie Howe
Hull and Howe would bring all kinds of strength to the first line. Gretzky's got to be there, his talent in every non-violent facet of the game is undeniable. All three have incredible vision, and the talent to set up and score ridiculous, unnecessary, highlight reel goals. A first line that will break your jaw then score - Brian Burke's dream, perhaps?

Line 2: Luc Robitaille - Mario Lemieux - Maurice Richard
Prolific goalscorers, all three. Luc Robitaille and Mario Lemieux can score in almost any situation, and Maurice Richard is a beast, this would be an incredibly entertaining line to watch.

Line 3: Marcus Naslund - Peter Forsberg - Daniel Alfredsson
Macke, Foppa and Alfie. The line I used to make all the time in the NHL games when playing as Team Sweden. Naslund and Alfie providing all kinds of offensive flair, while Forsberg mixes talent with brute strength. A fearsome line, and another "break your jaw then score a goal" line. Although less jaw-breaking and more goal-scoring from Naslund and Alfie.

Line 4: Frank Mahovlich - Phil Esposito - Valery Kharlamov
This would be such an awesome line to watch, plus there'd be some great drama going on. Kharlamov's position is listed as "forward", so I've decided that he's a RW, in order to make this line work. Espo sets up in front of the net, 'Big M' flying up the left, setting up Espo and taking some fearsome shots, and to finish it off, Kharlamov, whose vision and skill allows him to do essentially anything he wants, at any time, no matter the opposition (unless, of course, Bobby Clarke decides to shatter his ankle...). With the Summit Series drama going on with this line, they'd be a fun bunch - almost like a "Real World - Hockey" reality TV show. Biggest downside - they all shoot left.

Defensive Pairing 1: Niklas Lidstrom - Bobby Orr
Both incredibly calm on the puck, fast and offensively gifted. Oh - and they can flat-out play defense. I honestly can't imagine a better first pair in defense. They'd also be fearsome on the powerplay. And penalty kill... what can't these guys do??

Defensive Pairing 2: Scott Stevens - Al MacInnis
Al MacInnis can shoot the lights out, Scott Stevens can knock your lights out. This would be a great mix of offensive talent and stay-at-home defensive grit. As a forward, this is a DP I'd stay away from. Wouldn't want to get too close to MacInnis when the puck's going to him because, truth be told, I wouldn't want to lose my teeth to a one-timer... and the Scott Stevens point is obvious. But, in short - boom.

Defensive Pairing 3: Ray Bourque - Chris Chelios
Bourque and Chelios have unmatched work ethic and determination. Bourque has won every possible trophy for a defenseman, Chelios is a perfect example of a stay-at-home defenseman who can score. Both are leaders, both are inspirational, both would be perfect for 3rd DP defensemen.

Starting Goalie: Roberto Luongo
This was a tight race, really, really tight - but it comes down to this. My backups (who you will see in a second) were both incredibly successful, with incredible teams in front of them. Luongo has, for all intents and purposes, a shit team in front of him and, unless his wife is giving birth, is completely immersed in almost every game he plays. To him it seems like every start is a Stanley Cup Game 7, and he stands on his head until the final whistle. The only reason Vancouver have been somewhat halfway kinda decent for the past few years is Luongo between the pipes.

Backup Goalie(s): Patrick Roy/Martin Brodeur
I can't choose between the two of them. Both are exceptional goaltenders, but the reason they're backups is because all their success came with incredible teams. There's no question that these are both elite goaltenders, but every Cup and award either goalie has won, they had an incredible team in front of them. New Jersey is built around defense, and has been for years. The shots that wind up getting to goal are almost never shots that should score, and Roy would've had to be a monkey not to be successful on teams like early-90s Habs and late-90s Avs.

Anyways, that's my dream team, shit-talk it all you like (those three readers of mine are kinda harsh...). Feel free to make a dream-team too, they're a lot of fun and a great time-waster.

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