Thursday, February 23, 2006

Paul Kariya for Prime Minister?

In the wake of yesterday’s devastating loss to the Russians, second guessing the selections of Wayne Gretzky has been the popular method of venting.

Though I think some onus has to be placed on the players themselves, I’m okay with those in charge also being held accountable, because, as I’ve said before, it comes with the job, and those who take it know that should they lose, it will happen. Gretzky saw it first hand with Bob Clarke, Bob Gainey and Pierre Gauthier after Nagano.

When making their argument about the mistakes made when picking the team, everyone is mentioning who should have been invited, and the consensus name seems to be Paul Kariya.

What’s funny is that I can’t recall too many people being outraged Paul wasn’t on the team back when it was selected. The fuss was about Sidney Crosby, Dion Phaneuf, Eric Staal and to a lesser extent guys like Brendan Shanahan. I realize hindsight is 20/20, but damn, some of you in the media are out of your mind with this rewriting of history. “Oh, I thought Paul Kariya should have been there.” Really? Then why didn’t you say so?

The only guy I remember championing Kariya’s cause was Internet punching bag Pierre Maguire, who, in fairness, is a good friend of #9. He was saying all the things everyone else is today: Kariya’s speed is tailor made for the big ice. He was playing well with Nashville. He’s a king of the shootout (as if that was a factor in why they lost).

Looking back, it might’ve been smart to bring Kariya along, but let me ask you this: Do you think Paul Kariya, or any other single guy, would’ve made that kind of difference? If you put Paul Kariya on this team, and take off someone like Kris Draper, does Canada not lose to the Russians (or the Swiss and/or Finns)?

I believe they’d still take the L.

The problems with this team couldn’t be cured by the addition of one player, however fantastic he might be.

On paper, Paul Kariya should excel in this tournament, but this team’s 13 forwards have combined for 274 goals this NHL season. They have six guys with 20 or more goals. Even with the big ice factor considered, scoring should not have been nearly the issue it was, and so I have to think Kariya would’ve suffered the same fate as every other sniper on the team.

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