With Team Canada revealing their 25-man roster for the 2014 Winter Olympics earlier today, it is now time to talk about the players who got left off the team. There are several forwards like Martin St. Louis, Joe Thornton, Claude Giroux, and James Neal who could have made the roster, but being that there is so much depth at that position, it was a very hard decision to make. Goaltenders such as Josh Harding, Marc-Andre Fleury and Chicago Blackhawks Corey Crawford were also left off the list with Roberto Luongo, Carey Price and Mike Smith making the team. Despite Fleury and Crawford being Stanley Cup winners, the team decided against bringing them on board. So, we've talked about the forwards and the goalies – both deep positions for Canada, making it extremely difficult to crack the roster. That leaves us with the defensemen, where something went extremely wrong.
The eight defensemen who made Team Canada are: Jay Bouwmeester, Drew Doughty, Dan Hamhuis, Duncan Keith, Alex Pietrangelo, PK Subban, Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Shea Weber. All these players built a strong case to make the team and won over the selection committee. However, as we look at those eight names, we notice something is missing – where's Brent Seabrook?
Seabrook, 28, represented Canada in 2010 on their way to a Gold Medal. He has five goals and 26 assists this season and is well on pace to surpass his career highs in goals (9), assists (39), and points (48). He has played alongside Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith for years and the two of them have developed into one of the best duos in the league. They shutdown top lines, as well as provide offense when needed.
He may not be the fastest defenseman, but what he lacks in speed he makes up for in intelligence. Seabrook is a smart hockey player who positions himself well and knows where his teammates are. He moves the puck well and does a great job battling in front of the net protecting his goalie. Seabrook has many strong qualities, but the most underrated aspect is his leadership.
Despite not wearing a "C" or "A" on his jersey, Seabrook is one of the best leaders on the Chicago Blackhawks. He leads by example, but has also been vocal in important situations. There was a time in last year's playoffs where Jonathan Toews was sent to the box for a penalty. Toews was frustrated and was letting his emotions get to him. Seabrook immediately skated over to Toews in the box, put his arm around him and gave him some words of encouragement.
Seabrook also had a chat with Toews after game four of the Stanley Cup Final, saying that the team needed him to score goals instead of just doing the little things right. At the time, Toews was in a scoring slump but was positively affecting the game in other ways. However, in the next game Toews answered the call by scoring for the Blackhawks and giving them a 3-2 lead in the series. It's those types of moments that show true leaders and Seabrook showed he was one by doing those things.
If you combine the fact that he won a Gold Medal with Canada in 2010, he is a great leader, his chemistry with Duncan Keith is exceptional, and oh yeah, he also won two Stanley Cups in the last four years, going through a season of adversity, Brent Seabrook absolutely deserves to be on Team Canada. He was snubbed for this year's Olympic roster.
Now, this isn't to knock any of the guys who made the team. It's a great honor to represent your Country in the Olympics and we don't want to take that away from any of them. However, if Seabrook was to make the team someone would have to come off the list. Dan Hamhuis or Marc-Edouard Vlasic would probably be on the outside looking in had Seabrook made it. One could make the argument that Hamhuis made the team due to his familiarity playing in front of Vancouver Canucks teammate Roberto Luongo. The selection committee could have weighed that heavily in favour of Hamhuis considering Luongo could potentially be Canada's starter. Vlasic is also a lock-down defender, but he hasn't been battle tested like Seabrook has. Vlasic, 26, hasn't represented Canada in the past and it's unknown if has what it takes when adversity arises.
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