Imagine a tournament featuring Canada's best hockey players competing not for their country, but for their provinces in a revamped and modernized version of the Canada Cup...
Of course this has absolutely no chance of ever happening (except maybe in a lockout year), but it gave me a reason to waste 10 (15, 20?) hours putting together seven rosters (my apologies to NWT and Nunavut, there just isn't enough talent coming from the deep North to construct those rosters)...
My official pre-tournament rankings would look like this (have your say in the poll on the right sidebar):
1) Ontario - Easily the best set of forwards in the country (albeit from the largest population). Jason Spezza would make every other province's roster but there isn't room for him here.
2) Quebec - Who starts in net? Either way la belle provence looks good on paper, especially with the emergence of Kris Letang, who made Ryan Whitney expendable in Pittsburgh and just finished outplaying Mike Green by a mile.
3) Alberta - Slightly better top-to-bottom than B.C.
4) B.C. - The defence is tremendous but scoring could be an issue.
5) Saskatchewan - Considerable grit but not a lot of flash. No word on whether Getzlaf will have recovered from the inexplicable overuse at the hands of Randy Carlyle.
6) Manitoba - The 2009 World Junior back-up Chet Pickard gets the nod in net...by default. What happened to goaltending in 'The Tobe'? Terry Sawchuk, Joe Daley, Ron Hextall, Ed Belfour and then a giant vacuum that threatens to make them also-rans in this tourney, much like the...
7) Maritimes - Even with Crosby double and triple shifting it still wouldn't be enough to make up for the lack of defensive depth. And yes, John Slaney is still playing (11G, 16A, 53GP) for the Frankfurt Lions of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL).