Nov 132010
 

[Every weekend, Canucks Hockey Blog goes out of town as Tom Wakefield (@tomwakefield88) posts his thoughts on what's happening around the NHL.]

Hockey Canada and Team Quebec?

Photo credit: Montreal Gazette

Rarely under Bob Nicholson’s leadership has Hockey Canada ever courted controversy.

This makes their decision to support an international tournament that features a Quebec team all the more puzzling.

As Hockey Canada rightly points out, provincial and regional teams regularly play against national teams from other countries.

But it’s hard to believe Hockey Canada were naive enough to think this would be just another hockey tournament.

The notion of a Team Quebec filled with NHL players has been the dream of separatist Quebec for decades.

And it’s taken no time at all for Quebec nationalists to jump on board the bandwagon and politicize the decision.

So what could have motivated Hockey Canada?

The bottom line, for one.

Hockey Canada has never turned down a chance to make a buck. A Quebec Cup tournament, featuring the provincial team against France, Italy and Switzerland would do mega business in La Belle Province.

In fact, you could argue that a tournament featuring a Team Quebec would be more significant than any tourney that featured a Team Ontario, Team British Columbia or Team Alberta.

Expect Hockey Canada to earn a nice return on licensing fees and other revenues associated with the tournament, all the while playing the innocent “this is not a big deal” card.

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How good could a Team Quebec be?

On the surface, the lineup doesn’t look too bad – fast, skilled, deep in goal but lacking grit and defensive-depth:

Martin St. Louis (RW)
Jason Pominville (RW)
JP Dumont (RW)
Patrice Bergeron (C-RW)
Simon Gagne (LW)
Danny Briere (C-LW)
Guillaume Latendresse (LW)
David Perron (LW)
Vincent Lecavalier (C)
Mike Ribeiro (C)
Antoine Vermette (C)
Eric Belanger (C)
Jason Demers (D)
Bruno Gervais (D)
Kris Letang (D)
Stephane Robidas (D)
Marc-Edouard Vlasic (D)
Francois Beauchemin (D)
Martin Brodeur (G)
Roberto Luongo (G)
Jonathan Bernier (G)

Extra Forwards:

Alex Tanguay (LW)
Derick Brassard (C)
Max Talbot (C-RW)
Alex Burrows (RW)

Extra Defensemen:

Mathieu Roy
Alex Picard

Extra Goaltender:

Jean-Sebastien Giguere

That being said, there’s been little comment so far from the NHLPA, and it’s doubtful NHL players would line up to shorten their already brief off-season.

Francophone NHL’ers who’ve played for the Habs would also be among the first to tell you that the language politics surrounding hockey in Quebec can be a negative distraction.

One suspects then that Team Quebec will be filled with also-rans and players from overseas, who see this as one last chance to catch the interest of an NHL team.

If this is the case, what happens to Quebec nationalists if the inaugural winner of the Quebec Cup is not the home team?

THOUGHTS ON THE FLY:

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