Steve Dangle presents: The World Cup’s Over 35 team

Steve Dangle gets Calder Trophy predictions from some of the best hockey minds around including Scotty Bowman & Joel Quenneville.

During a recent edition of my podcast, I went on a lengthy tangent about the World Cup of Hockey teams that involved a lot of yelling, confusion, and swearing. The “Young Guns” team is made up of players under the age of 23 but only if they’re from Canada or the United States.

If you’re under 23 and from Sweden you can still play for Sweden. If you’re under 23 can you play for Slovakia? No, because Slovakia isn’t in it. You’ll have to play for Team Europe instead, even though there some european countries get their own team.

After a while I just shouted “Why not just have an Over 35 team as well?”

I looked into it and it turns out an Over 35 team would actually be pretty great.

Here are the criteria:

  • If you’re 35 or older as of the starting date of the World Cup of Hockey (September 7, 2016), you have to play for the Over 35 team.

None of this “only North America” stuff. If you’re over 35, you’re on the team. “But what if I want to play for my country instead?” Well, you should have thought of that before you turned 35, shouldn’t you have?

Here’s how I imagine the Over 35 team would look:

FORWARD LINE 1: LW – Daniel Sedin     C – Henrik Sedin     RW – Jaromir Jagr

FORWARD LINE 2: LW – Henrik Zetterberg     C – Pavel Datsyuk     RW – Jarome Iginla

FORWARD LINE 3: LW – Patrick Marleau     C – Joe Thornton     RW – Joel Ward

FORWARD LINE 4: LW – Jason Chimera     C – Scott Gomez     RW – Marian Hossa

DEFENCE PAIR 1: Zdeno Chara     Andrei Markov

DEFENCE PAIR 2: Francois Beauchemin     Brian Campbell

DEFENCE PAIR 3: Paul Martin     Kevin Bieksa

GOALIES: Roberto Luongo, Ryan Miller, Craig Anderson

SPARE SKATERS: Brad Richards, Alexandre Burrows, Nicklas Kronwall

Even though the pool of over-35 centres contains just 15 players, the team could have Henrik Sedin, Pavel Datsyuk, Joe Thonrton, and Scott Gomez. Some notable omissions from those top four spots include Brad Richards, Vincent Lecavalier, and Mike Ribeiro. I’ve decided to carry Brad Richards as a spare centre because it’s a good idea to have an extra player who can take faceoffs.

Why not Lecavalier? Because he spends about 75% of the time as a healthy scratch for the Philadelphia Flyers. Why not Mike Ribeiro even though he clearly puts up enough points to deserve a spot? I’ll let fans of any team he has ever played for answer that one.

There are only eight left-wingers listed on that would be eligible for this team, but you only need four good ones to fill out your roster.

Daniel Sedin helps form an easy duo with his twin brother Henrik. The team’s other Henrik, Mr. Zetterberg, is a natural match to play with his Detroit teammate Datsyuk.

Patrick Marleau joins Thornton on the “gold medalists who have been stripped of the Sharks captaincy” line. Jason Chimera, who had just 19 points in 77 games last season, has scored 10 points through 20 games so far, so I’ll give him the fourth left wing spot.

If things change, maybe the ice-cold Chris Kunitz could improve on his three-points-in-20-games pace and take that spot from Chimera.

Let me throw one other name into the mix: Sergei Mozyakin. The 34-year-old former 9th-round pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets has won the KHL scoring title in two of the past three seasons and currently leads the league in scoring again, as well. He will be 35 by the time the tournament begins.

Right wing, with just 12 eligible players, is probably the toughest call up front.

Jaromir Jagr and Jarome Iginla are absolute no-brainers for this team. Joel Ward is having an excellent season right now and can complete an all-Sharks line with Thornton and Marleau. Any team with Marian Hossa on the fourth line wins automatically, right?

Then there’s a bit of a logjam at the bottom. Radim Vrbata and Alex Burrows are both former linemates of the Sedin twins that could work. With Vrbata struggling this season, I give Burrows the edge so far. Another name to consider might be Shane Doan. He, along with the rest of the Arizona Coyotes’ roster, is having a better-than-expected season brought on by the Fountain of Youth.

There were 20 greybeard defenders to choose from.

I chose my defensive pairings using a combination of sophisticated analysis and eeny, meeny, miny, moe. The problem here isn’t a lack of names.

Chara, Markov, Beauchemin, Campbell, Martin, Bieksa, Kronwall – this is a great mixture of Norris winners, nominees, power play assassins, and playoff veterans. The problem is a lack of right-handed shots. Frankly, that’s the main reason I have Bieksa on my team, otherwise I would have probably added Mark Streit instead. Another right-handed option could be Dan Boyle, but his offensive numbers are aging faster than he is.

Luongo, Miller, and Anderson are my goalies.

Why? They will be the only three goalies aged 35 or older in the NHL when September rolls around. Well that was easy!

The harder part is choosing a starter. I chose Luongo over Miller because, straight up, I thought it was funny.

That and the artist known as Strombone has the best save percentage of the three so far this season. Based on their resumes, any three of these goalies could play and give the Over 35 team a chance to win.

Which teams will hate this idea the most?

You’ve got to think Team Sweden wouldn’t be fans after losing both Sedins, Zetterberg, and potentially Nicklas Kronwall. If it was 2010, Team Canada might be more upset about losing Thornton, Marleau, Iginla, and Luongo. Most importantly, losing Chara would absolutely devastate Team Some Of Europe.

This will surely upset all of the Some Of Europe fans.

Forget the roster though. Which Rolling Stones song do they play as their anthem when they win the gold medal?

What changes would you make to the team?

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