OK, Blob - you got me thinking about an entire roster...
My #1 line is explosive, fast, and high scoring. Thomas Gradin is my No. 1 center - gritty, talented and defensively responsible. His two wingers are both capable of breaking a game wide open: Lester Pearson winner Markus Naslund, and two time 60 goal scorer Pavel Bure.
Naslund - Gradin - Bure
My 2nd line combines artistry, resillience, and one of the best power forwards to play the game (ya, I'm aware that Neely didn't have his peak years in Vancouver... I picked him anyway). Henrik Sedin is at center with his brother Daniel on the left, and Cam Neely on the right. Just imagine how many goals Neely would have bagged on this line, and if anyone touched a hair on the twins head --- look out!
Daniel - Henrik - Neely
My 3rd line can score as well, with Patrik Sundstrom at center, 40 goal scorer Tony Tanti on the left, and all-around player, and 30 goal scorer Trevor Linden on the right. Added bonus: If Sundstrom is tossed from the face-off circle, Linden steps in.
Tanti - Sundstrom - Linden
My 4th line would scare the crap out of the opposition - but, although intimidating, these guys can play and score. Curt Fraser on left wing, Orland Kurtenbach at center, and Ryan Kesler on right wing. Look out!!!
Fraser - Kurtenbach - Kesler
As my spare forward, I would carry Stan Smyl to be inserted into the lineup in case of injury, or if we need a spark - they guy can play scoring line, checking line, and can fight middleweights. It was tough to leave Igor Larionov and Ivan Hlinka off of the team, but I favoured the Swedes at center. Bertuzzi also came up just short, but he couldn't beat out Bure, Neely, Linden, Kesler...
My #1 defense pairing is Mattias Ohlund and Ed Jovanovski. On the nights when Jovanovski had his legs, Ohlund would hang back and let Jovanovski spark the offence, but if Ed was having an off game, Ohlund could cover for him, and pick up the offensive slack. If any rough stuff broke out, JovoCop would be there to flail away. Right Adam Deadmarsh?
Ohlund - Jovanovski
My #2 pairing is all Finnish: Jyrki Lumme and Sami Salo. Both players can play at both ends of the ice, but I would be counting on them for creating offence from the back line. These two would also be running my first powerplay unit.
Lumme - Salo
My 3rd pairing is Dan Hamhuis and Paul Reinhart – a mixture of a shut down/smart passer/penalty kill defenceman and a powerplay quarterback.
Hamhuis - Reinhart
My 7th defenceman is a tough choice, but I have to have Harold Snepsts on my team. Heart and soul player, giving his all when he gets in the lineup - although it's likely I keep him out of the lineup if we're playing against Mike Bossy.
I know, I know, how could I leave out Willie Mitchell, Doug Lidster, or even Garth Butcher... I guess they get honourable mention.
At goalie, I pick the best goalie that has ever played for the Canucks: Roberto Luongo. His backup would be Kirk McLean, with Richard Brodeur waiting in the wings for playing time.
And that's my team.
Markus Naslund – Thomas Gradin – Pavel Bure
Daniel Sedin – Henrik Sedin – Cam Neely
Tony Tanti – Patrik Sundstrom – Trevor Linden
Curt Fraser - Orland Kurtenbach – Ryan Kesler
Mattias Ohlund - Ed Jovanovski
Jyrki Lumme – Sami Salo
Dan Hamhuis – Paul Reinhart
Six former captains on my team - but I would give the captaincy to the first ever captain of the Canucks, Orland Kurtenbach.
By the way, Hall of Fame broadcaster Jim Robson produced his all-time Canucks' team for a TSN broadcast... In case you missed it, here it is:
1. Markus Naslund - Trevor Linden - Stan Smyl
2. Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Pavel Bure
3. Don Lever - Thomas Gradin - Tony Tanti
4. Greg Adams - Patrik Sundstrom - Todd Bertuzzi
1. Mattias Ohlund 2. Jyrki Lumme
3. Doug Lidster 4. Harol Snepsts
5. Dennis Kearns 6. Ed Jovanovski
1. Kirk McLean
2. Roberto Luongo
It's a great day for hockey!