DETROIT -- Tuesday’s alumni game between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs served as a short distraction for Steve Yzerman from making the final decision on Canada’s roster for the Sochi Olympics.
But the general manager of Team Canada was planning to get back to watching games right away.
“I’ve watched a lot of hockey live, on TV, on tape, so you take the afternoon off, but I’ll go home tonight and watch a game, probably two games tonight and watch some more tomorrow. But I enjoyed it [the alumni game]. This was a good day,” Yzerman said Tuesday.
Canada will announce its roster on Jan. 7 in Toronto, but Yzerman said he could pick his team today, if he had to.
“If I pick it a week from now it might be one or two [guys] different,” Yzerman added. “But again, we name it on the seventh and to say exactly which 14 [forwards], and which eight [defensemen], and which three [goaltenders], there’s still a couple we’re mulling over and we’re going to get on the phone later and in a couple days and then meet in Toronto to finalize it at that point.”
Without going into any detail, Yzerman said the toughest decisions would be up front, with Canada so deep at the forward position and so many of the candidates playing well right now.
“I watch games every night and I hear the local announcer saying ‘there is no way they can leave him off the team.’ Well, I’ve counted that for about 22 guys,” Yzerman joked. “So either way we look at it we are going to leave off some really, really good players. You look around, you think, ‘he’s got to be on the team, he’s got to be on the team.’ Next thing you know you are up to 20 names.”
You would think announcing the roster in a week would be a big relief for Yzerman, but it won't be, as that is when the critics get to voice their opinions.
“No, that’s when the worrying starts,” Yzerman said. “From my last experience, it was easy up until you name the team. Then you have to sit there for five weeks until the Olympics and hold your breath and listen to everyone tell you how stupid you were for leaving this guy or that guy off.”