|This will not be a sight in Sochi.|
So, was I surprised when Matt Moulson was not on the list of invitees to Team Canada's Olympic Orientation Camp for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, while fellow Islanders', John Tavares and Travis Hamonic, did? No. I wasn't surprised, nor was I disappointed with Team Canada's "snub." Quite frankly, I don't see how Moulson could have made the loaded roster.
No disrespect to Matt Moulson, fellow Isles' fans. I know this decision created some ripples in Islanders' Country, but let's be honest. Whose spot are you expecting Matty-Ice to take? Scrolling through the list of invitees, I find that question a very difficult one to answer.
There is a total of 25 forwards that have been invited to Team Canada's Orientation Camp. By doing simple math, 12 of those forwards will be sent home. Yes, only 13 forwards out of this selected group, which includes former "snubs" like Martin St. Louis, last year's Art Ross Trophy winner, will make Team Canada.
While Moulson is one of the game's best finishers, the Olympics is a showcase of the world's best talents. Moulson's finishing ability would probably make the cut for a less-stacked Team USA, but to make a team like Team Canada? You have to have more than just offensive tools.
I agree that Moulson has improved many aspects of his game during his tenure on Long Island. He has come a long way as an overall hockey player since he became a member of the New York Islanders in 2009. What is it that he provides that the rest of these guys cannot, though?
Sure, we will all boast Moulson's offensive game. However, when you stack Moulson's numbers up to the rest of those invited to camp....well, you may not have the strongest case.
Speaking statistically, Moulson ranks 12th among Team Canada's invitees in points (behind seven captains of their respective NHL teams) and tied for 18th in goals (behind possible cuts such as Matt Duchene, Jordan Eberle, and Brad Marchand). Again, if you're trying to create a "top-13" list, you're going to find some difficulty in making a case for Moulson based on offense, Moulson's biggest strength.
From there, how would you stack up Moulson's skating compared to a probable cut such as, say, Jordan Eberle's? Or Moulson's grit next to a player with an outside chance such as, say, Milan Lucic's? Although Moulson provides plenty of offense for the New York Islanders, Team Canada can find offense, plus more, by adding any one player from a variety of extremely-talented Canadians forwards.
Look. I think Matt Moulson's talented. In my eyes, he's the Canadian version of former Islanders' forward Mark Parrish, who made Team USA in the 2006 Games while filling a similar role that Moulson fills now. And yes, like Parrish, I think Moulson would have been welcomed with open arms by Team USA, had he been born in America; however, Moulson's role will most likely never be needed by a National Canadian Team that can fill scoring positions at will.
So, Isles' fans. I urge you not to take any of this personally, as I'm sure many of you will. I don't believe Moulson was snubbed by Team Canada. I don't buy the excuse that Canada thinks Tavares "made his game" (which would be a ridiculous reason to leave Moulson off the list because of all the talent that Team Canada would have). This also has nothing to do with the lists that he was held off of, or the All-Star Teams that he didn't make (and probably should have). Simply put, Moulson's style of play is not needed by Team Canada, so there's that.
Who cares what I think. Do YOU think Matt Moulson was snubbed by Team Canada?
I'm Chris Triants, and this is my blog.
Let's go Islanders!