So Hockey Canada has released it's list of invitees to it's World Junior Championship training camp, and now it's time to release the hounds as Mr. Burns would say. A quick scan of the team and one thing is obvious, a lack of vets. Only 3 to be exact in Brad Marchand, Karl Alzner and goaltender Leland Irving. But there is still plenty of talent in the squad, which always makes it hard to argue about players being left of the list. But this would be a pretty boring blog if I didn't.
I have to wonder where defenceman Alex Pietrangelo's name is on the list? Did they not know h0w to pronounce it, so they decided against an embarrassing moment when calling it out? Some have pronounced it (PEE-Tran-Jelo). For the record, I believe it to be (Peeter-Angelo) but I could be wrong as well...it's only happened a million times before.
I just can't wrap my head around the fact that a kid who I believe could go first overall this June, or 3rd at worst, doesn't even get an invite to camp. It's not that he doesn't have the offence, he's a point per game guy with Niagra in the OHL. He has the size at 6-4, 210 pounds. And he plays a great all around game that some compare to Nik Lidstrom, who only has 5 Norris trophies to his credit.
Pietrangelo is a great passer who can quarterback the power play and will surely go atleast top 5 in this year's draft, doesn't that atleast warrant an invite. No. Instead, Hockey Canada invites 4 D-men who are under 6 feet tall. I'm not saying that Pietrangelo should have a name plate in the Czech Republic already, but at the very least should be getting off a plane Sunday night in Calgary. I know he's young, but what better way to get him used to how Hockey Canada works then invite him to camp, even if he doesn't make it.
While I'm on the subject, I'm starting to wonder if there is something wrong with Logan Couture. The one time consensus first overall pick in the OHL - until some guy named Tavares opted into the draft early - was a first round pick, 9th overall by San Jose last June in the NHL entry draft. Yet he didn't play in the Canada -Russia Super Series, and didn't get an initial invite to Calgary, although with an injury to Dana Tyrell he may still get the call. Couture is 21st in OHL scoring with 38 points in 27 games. He seemed like a good kid when THE PIPELINE SHOW interviewed him last year, and from those who watched him in the OHL there are no stories of him being a bad apple. He was supposed to play for Canada at the Under 18 one year, but a bout with mono scratched that plan. Couture is a terrific all around player, who can score, kill penalties and check the other team's top line. While he isn't as physical as Brandon Sutter he is somewhat similar to the Red Deer Rebel, who will surely make this team. I would have invited Couture over Angelo Esposito, who will be at his 3rd camp and looking to make the team for the first time.
Then again, maybe I shouldn't second guess Hockey Canada, after all they've only won the last 3 tournaments. Having said that, here is my prediction for what Team Canada will look like when they board a plane for the Czech Republic on December 14th.
Enjoy the World Junior Championship, and don't miss THE PIPELINE SHOW
December 18th, for our 2 hour preview show.
The Pipeline Show
Tuesday, 7-9 PM MST