Saturday, August 3, 2013

The All-Nation Teams for the Caps

This summer, Yahoo Sports is asking bloggers to name the greatest player in team history from different countries.

I'm gonna take this a step further and make an all-nation team for most of the big hockey countries. There are not enough players to make a full 20-man roster, but I can at least put up a starting 6.

So here we go.

Why not start with the home country?
Kelly Miller-Bobby Carpenter-Dave Christian
Rod Langway-Kevin Hatcher
Jim Carey
Bobby Carpenter was a tough call over Jeff Halpern, but in the long run, Carpenter is the top-scoring American center in team history. Miller and Christian were also two good wingers. Caps fans may be bitter at Hatcher's success with Pittsburgh, but he is the top-scoring American in Caps history. Rod Langway was just awesome. Jim Carey may have been the greatest goalie in team history, but unfortunately we will never know how good he could have been.

Next, we go to the country we all love (hockey-wise).
Alexander Semin-Andrei Nikolishkin-Alexander Ovechkin
Sergei Gonchar-Dmitri Mironov
Semyon Varlamov
Russia has been extremely polarized for the Caps. Semin, Ovechkin, Gonchar, and Nikolishkin (who?) are the only Russians on the team who have more than 100 points for the team. Varlamov is the only Russian goalie in team history. There is no telling how good this team would be, with Nikolishkin centering OV and Semin and Mironov anchoring the blue line with Gonchar, but this team has some good talent whom we know and love (or hate. Looking at you, Semin).

We love these guys when the play for us, hate them anytime else.
Mike Ridley-Dale Hunter-Mike Gartner
Scott Stevens-Larry Murphy
Don Beaupre
Canada always has the most talent, so there is no surprise that this is probably the most stacked team here. Dennis Maruk could be here, as could Mike Green and others, but it this is still a very good starting six.

Considering Washington's recent draft history, we could be seeing some new players here soon enough.
Bengt Gustafsson-Nicklas Backstrom-Ulf Dahlen
Calle Johansson-Leif Svensson
Olaf Kolzig
It's surprising to think that the Caps have not had a Swedish goaltender in their history, so I added Kolzig, who is the only German Capital who has been, well, good. Gustafsson, Backstrom, and Johansson are Washington legends, while Dahlen and Svensson, I guess, are there to fill out the lines.

Slovakia/Czech Republic:
And the last two major countries.
Jaromir Jagr-Michal Pivonka-Peter Bondra
Roman Hamrlik-Milan Jurcina
Michal Neuvirth
I did not want to put Jagr on here, but the alternative was Richard Zednik. Pivonka and Bondra are really the only two players here who are rightfully part of Capitals royalty. Jagr, Hamrlik, and Jurcina were huge disappointments, while Neuvirth could potentially join Pivonka and Bondra, but Holtby won't let him.

So there we are. Canada, USA, and Russia have some good talent (with Canada having the most, obviously), while Sweden, Germany, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic needed to double up in order to fill out these lines. In the end, all of these are talented, proving how good the rest of the world has performed in the nation's capitals.

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