Today is Hockey Day in Canada and it is a jammed-packed day of Canadian team action going down in the Scotia North division.
Other than the Oilers, every team will play in what should provide a ton of quality play for Canadians around the world to celebrate the game of the North.
The Jets are currently in a deadlock at 1 with the Senators in a mid-day matinee from MTS Center in Winnipeg.
At 4 PM PST, the Maple Leafs are hosting the Montreal Canadiens in the first of a back-to-back, where it was Toronto who took down the Habs 4-2 just three days ago.
And finally, the struggling hometown Canucks are basically playing for the job of their GM, whose seat continues to heat up after a terrible start over a quarter way into the campaign. They take on the Calgary Flames in the second of four games looking to snap a six-game losing skid.
GET OUT YOUR STICKS, IT'S HOCKEY DAY IN CANADA 🇨🇦
— Hockey Night in Canada (@hockeynight) February 13, 2021
This year, Hockey Day in Canada takes on a little bit of a different feel.
As the usual festivities in small Canadian towns across the nation have obviously been put off due to the pandemic, we turn our focus to recent events and put extra energy into the heritage of the game as well as diversifying the sport of Hockey.
Seven current and former NHL players announced Monday they have formed the Hockey Diversity Alliance, which has a mission “to eradicate racism and intolerance in hockey.”
Over the course of the last year, world events have fuelled an initiative to ensure that nobody feels unsafe or uncomfortable when playing this great game that was made for people of all ethnic backgrounds.
A group called the Hockey Diversity Alliance was introduced to push the mission ‘to eradicate racism and intolerance in hockey.’
— Hockey Diversity Alliance (@TheOfficialHDA) July 30, 2020
San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane and former NHL player Akim Aliu were named as co-heads of the organization. The executive committee included the likes of Detroit Red Wings defenseman Trevor Daley, Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba, Toronto Maple Leafs forward Wayne Simmonds, and Vegas Golden Knights staffer Joel Ward.
The importance of this association and what they are trying to achieve has no bounds, and on Hockey Day in Canada, we must recognize their efforts and understand that as a nation, we have improvements to make when it comes to inclusion and most importantly education of the same topics.
Also a part of this year’s Hockey Day in Canada celebration, we look back on the great things that our NHL teams, as well as small communities around the country, have used Hockey as a central part of their culture and development.
Things such as Craft Hockeyville and Hometown Heroes have brought our communities into the spotlight to get the recognition they deserve for putting meaning behind inclusion and the history of Hockey.
All these topics and so many more are touched on by educated people and special guests throughout the Hockey Day in Canada broadcast on Sportsnet, and I challenge people to pay closer attention to the types of things that are talked about during pre-game, intermissions, and post-game analysis.
The Best of the Best – Canadian Team Edition
Something I thought would be fun to do for Hockey Day in Canada was to try to create the most talented and entertaining lineup of players that are on Canadian team rosters today.
Over the last few years, Canadian Hockey fans have been fortunate to see a lot of international and homegrown talent suit up for their favorite franchises.
When making this team, I took into account the excitement and intrigue that seeing these players together would bring. There is plenty of combinations that would be so much fun to watch play a game together, here is the way I would love to see its lineup.
My top-line is made up of the two NHL leading scorers from the Oilers in Connor McDavid and Leon Drasaitl, having these two ensures that the team won’t have any scoring troubles at all. I am pairing them up with Canucks young star Elias Pettersson, because why not?
On the second line, two Toronto Maple Leafs with strong chemistry, Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner. On their wing for scoring touch around the net and a knack for defending his teammates, Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk is a perfect fit for this high powered set of forwards.
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) February 14, 2021
The third line is all about the two-way game, Jets winger Kyle Connor and the Canucks’ Brock Boeser are an American duo that thrives in their respective Canadian markets. In the middle, I am slotting in John Tavares, who signed with Toronto just a few offseasons ago in order to have the chance to compete in a Canadian market.
To cap it off, the fourth line is for the young stars, Canadiens centermen Nick Suzuki is joined by Brady Tkachuk and Nikolaj Ehlers as a speedy, gritty trio that will be able to provide offense at the depths of their lineup.
To recap the All-Canadian team forward group:
Draisaitl – McDavid – Pettersson
Marner – Matthews – M. Tkachuk
Gaudreau – Tavares – Boeser
B. Tkachuk – Suzuki – Ehlers
On the back end, we’re keeping it simple with a nice mix of offensively gifted defencemen and stout shutdown guys as well.
The top pair, the matchup nightmare tandem of Shae Weber and Quinn Hughes. These two together would fit so perfectly it is almost a move I wish the Canucks had made at last years deadline if the cap could work.
That fake pass by Quinn Hughes.. pic.twitter.com/bogQ01S4sU
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) February 14, 2021
Behind them, I’m going with Morgan Rielly and Jeff Petry. Another smooth-skating, defensively responsible defenders who can play in any situation, this pairing and the first are interchangeable on this make-believe roster.
And to round out the skaters of this all Canadian team roster, I’m going with Darnell Nurse of the Oilers and Mark Giordano of Calgary. Not sure how the chemistry would be as these two have had their battles in the past, but on the same pairing, no team wants to play against these two at any given time.
The D group:
Hughes – Weber
Petry – Rielly
Nurse – Giordano
And between the pipes, it doesn’t get much easier than the two Vezina trophy candidates, one of which took the award home in 2019-20. Jakob Markstrom of the Calgary Flames and Connor Hellebyuck of the Jets would ensure this team allowed little to no goals on a nightly basis. Scary things are happening in this country when it comes to talent…
Now it’s just time to bring Lord Stanley back home where it belongs.
Evan Power, Evolution 107.9