• Mike Brophy

    Mike Brophy

    About Mike Brophy

    Mike Brophy brings a wealth of hockey writing and broadcasting experience to CBC Sports, having covered junior hockey for 14 years before joining The Hockey News as its senior writer for 17 years starting in 1992.


Mike Brophy - Thursday Dec. 5, 2013 12:23

Matt Duchene among 10 players on Team Canada bubble

Players have just one month left to impress

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    Matt Duchene has cooled off since his hot start with the Colorado Avalanche, running into some injury problems too. The forward from Haliburton, Ont. is only 22 years old and could gain valuable experience in Sochi. (Frederick Breedon/Getty)

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    Martin St. Louis has shown strong leadership since the injury to Steven Stamkos. The reliable forward, however, was left of the 2010 Vancouver team and age is not on his side. (Jeff Gross/Getty)

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    Corey Crawford backstopped the Chicago Blackhawks to the Stanley Cup. But it still might not be enough to crack Team Canada's crease. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty)

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    Jay Bouwmeester finds himself in a crunch to make Team Canada. But as a left-handed defenceman who plays well with likely pick Alex Pietrangelo, his odds of making Team Canada get a boost. (Patrick Smith/Getty)

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    Prior to the season, Claude Giroux seemed like a lock to make Team Canada. Not so much now after he recently went through a 21-game goalless drought. (Elsa/Getty)

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    Dion Phaneuf remains a longshot to make Team Canada. But the hard-hitting Leafs defenceman is having a strong season so far. (Jared Wickerham/Getty)

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    Pittsburgh Penguins' Chris Kunitz isn't a star in the NHL, but he is Sidney Crosby's preferred linemate. Is that chemistry enough to get the Regina-born forward a ticket to Sochi? (Bruce Bennett/Getty)

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    Winnipeg Jets captain Andrew Ladd is one of those nice surprises, working his way into the Team Canada mix. But with so much depth at forward, he's facing a difficult battle. (Marianne Helm/Getty)

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    San Jose's Marc-Edouard Vlasic is a rare commodity among top Canadian defencemen since he's a left-handed shot. (Bruce Bennett/Getty)

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    The knock on Edmonton's Taylor Hall is that he has defensive weaknesses and a tendency to cough up the puck. Not going to put him in Mike Babcock's good books. But he's a great skater with a soft touch — could be great on the big ice. (Derek Leung/Getty)

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It’s getting close to crunch time for those charged with picking the Canadian men’s Olympic hockey team. The team will be announced Jan. 7, which means those players that are on the bubble, are in final auditions.

Here are 10 players – one goalie, three defencemen and seven forwards – who are bubble players:

  • Corey Crawford, goalie, Chicago Blackhawks: The fact Crawford helped the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup last season and he currently leads the NHL in victories with 17 this year gives him an edge. His numbers aren’t great, though. He’s 21st in goals-against average (2.43) and 31st in save percentage (.909).
  • Jay Bouwmeester, defenceman, St. Louis Blues: He has been vanilla for much of his NHL career, but he is big, has great wheels and also an offensive upside with a goal and 19 points in 26 games. It helps that his coach in St. Louis, Ken Hitchcock, is on Team Canada’s staff.
  • Dion Phaneuf, defenceman, Toronto Maple Leafs: The big question is if Phaneuf’s skating will stand up on the big ice? Phaneuf plays big minutes for the Maple Leafs and has been successful in shutting down the opposition’s top scorers.
  • Marc-Edouard Vlasic, defenceman, San Jose Sharks: Being a left-handed shooter works in his favor, as does the fact he is solid at both ends of the ice. ‘Pickles’ has become a valuable player on a Stanley Cup contender.
  • Claude Giroux, centre, Philadelphia Flyers: Once thought to be a lock for Team Canada, not scoring a goal in his first 15 games this season changed that. Giroux seems to have found his touch, but is it too late?
  • Taylor Hall, left wing, Edmonton Oilers: Hall is a dynamic forward with a winning pedigree. However, he probably needed to shoot the lights out in the first half to be included and seven goals and 20 points may not cut it.
  • Matt Duchene, centre, Colorado Avalanche: The 22-year-old centre may have to move to the wing to make the team, but he has blazing speed and is a fine two-way performer. He leads the upstart Avalanche in goal-scoring with 12, but hasn’t tallied in his past four games.
  • Chris Kunitz, left wing, Pittsburgh Penguins: Will having friends in high places benefit Kunitz? He patrols the left side on Sidney Crosby’s line in Pittsburgh and has 14 goals and 28 points in 29 games. They have chemistry.
  • Andrew Ladd, left wing, Winnipeg Jets: A responsible up-and-down winger who has grit and drives hard to the net. Ladd is a natural winger, which makes him unique among the top forward candidates for the team.
  • Martin St. Louis, right wing, Tampa Bay Lightning: It’s almost impossible to envision Team Canada boss Steve Yzerman not picking St. Louis and risk losing him for the rest of the year in Tampa Bay where Yzerman is also the GM. St. Louis deserves to be there even at age 38. He is productive, responsible defensively and a leader.

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