Skip to content

Babcock: Hamhuis, Subban don’t have chance of cracking top six

Feb 17, 2014, 7:07 AM EDT

Canada defenseman Dan Hamhuis and Norway forward Mats Olsen Rosseli fight for control of the puck in the first period of a men's ice hockey game at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) AP

Team Canada coach Mike Babcock was understandably very happy with Team Canada’s defense on Sunday as they led the nation to a 2-1 overtime victory against Finland. With that in mind, Babcock doesn’t plan to change course going into the quarterfinals.

“I’m going to be honest with you, Hamhuis and P.K. don’t really have a chance,” Babcock told’s Arpon Basu.

P.K. Subban, who is the reigning Norris Trophy winner, was in the press box yesterday while Dan Hamhuis was limited to just 3:58 minutes of ice time.

While there’s no question that both of they are talented, but the fact of the matter is that when you have a roster as stacked as Canada’s, it’s inevitable that great players are going to play minimal roles. In this case, Babcock has decided stick with the top-six of Duncan Keith, Shea Weber, Drew Doughty, Jay Bouwmeester, Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Alex Pietrangelo after they helped Canada sweep Group B.


Diamond D: Canada’s blueline ‘what we’ve relied on the whole tournament’

  1. Idaslapter - Feb 17, 2014 at 7:12 AM

    Hamhuis should never have made the team.

    • no - Feb 17, 2014 at 10:39 AM

      neither should subban. there was a much superior option available.

      can’t seem to remember his name… he’s only won two stanley cups and a gold medal. doesn’t hold a candle to the resume of these two esteemed individuals im sure. not to mention petrangelo, who must’ve won at least a stanley cup at this point.

      oh that’s right. none of them are even remotely as qualified as brent seabrook.

      guess the USA will have to show them what superior GMing can do for a team

      • bucrightoff - Feb 17, 2014 at 10:51 AM

        And Seabrook would be the 7th or 8th guy any way, so what is your point? That Canada is so absolutely stacked at D? Pretty obvious on that one. Canada’s defensive depth is absolutely absurd, so much so that many guys who’d be #1 pairing guys on other teams aren’t even on Canada.

  2. pastabelly - Feb 17, 2014 at 7:14 AM

    PK Subban is what is wrong with the Norris Trophy. He’s not a great defenseman in terms of defending. He’s a fast great puck moving defenseman with a great shot. I suppose that’s what gets you the Norris these days. Babcock has identified six better just in Canada. Subban would crack the US top six.

    • 19to77 - Feb 17, 2014 at 8:19 AM

      The Norris is basically the fourth-forward award at this point. Karlsson has literally no idea how to play defense because he’s not actually trained to play as a real defenseman. He’s a rover, a fourth forward. Backchecking is too complex for guys like him. So he plays “defense” and scores a point per game by being the third winger and everyone thinks he’s great. Bottom line for guys like that, though? Their own coaches won’t trust them on the PK. They’re not real defensemen if they can’t be trusted to actually play D.

      • ethanmacleod1685 - Feb 17, 2014 at 9:07 AM

        Couldn’t agree with you peeps more

      • shaundre93 - Feb 17, 2014 at 12:01 PM

        If they actually voted on the best defensemen the finalists would probably be Weber Suter and Chara every year. And that’s OK.

    • drewsylvania - Feb 17, 2014 at 8:57 PM

      Indeed. Last year’s award had affirmative action written all over it.

  3. imgoingtowichita - Feb 17, 2014 at 7:44 AM

    That’s perhaps why they should have a ‘Bobby Orr’ trophy for the most dynamic/highest scoring d-man. Players like EK, PK, Letang, Green, Doughty, etc would vie for. The NHL created the Rocket Richard for scorer and a BS ‘leadership’ award.

    • tlndma - Feb 17, 2014 at 10:24 AM

      Except that Orr was a great defensive defenseman too. Perhaps the Paul Coffey award would be a better name.

      • Mike Halford - Feb 17, 2014 at 12:41 PM

        I’ve always thought it should be the Phil Housley award for Most Offensive Defenseman.

  4. mgmac - Feb 17, 2014 at 7:58 AM

    the problem with the canadien hockey team is their choice of head coach, mike babcock

    • 19to77 - Feb 17, 2014 at 8:14 AM

      “The problem with Canada is choosing the best active coach in the sport.”

      No, but really, go on about how Mike Babcock is anything other than brilliant. Please, make an ass of yourself to the crowd.

      • blackhawksdynasty - Feb 17, 2014 at 7:09 PM

        Babcock falls in at #2 behind Joel Quenneville as the best active coach in the sport. I’m not discounting Babcock at all, as he’s a phenomenal coach. I’d be happy to have either of them behind my team’s bench.

  5. uscthom78 - Feb 17, 2014 at 10:09 AM

    I would not have been surprised if this quote was said before the Olympics. To be honest, you should not pick players who you know in advanced would not get even a single second of hockey time. Certain moves smells of tokenism.

    • soro17 - Feb 17, 2014 at 11:49 AM

      Ummm, you have to pick players that aren’t going to play. The roster size for the team is bigger than the team size for a game. Also, you are allowed to dress 13 F and 7 D, so there will always be an extra man up front and at the back. Finally, Hamhuis actually played quite a bit, just not enough to be ‘top 6’. Personally, I think he has been better than Vlasic, who has been underwhelming.

  6. afrozenpond - Feb 17, 2014 at 10:25 AM

    I’d take a true, rock-solid, stay-at-home defenseman over a sniper from the point any day.

    • comeonnowguys - Feb 17, 2014 at 1:18 PM

      That’s the beauty of it all, though. Take both and put them on the same line.

      • skr213 - Feb 17, 2014 at 4:11 PM

        Ds aren’t “lines” they’re “pairings.”

  7. hawksin5 - Feb 17, 2014 at 10:31 AM

    good job hockey canada, lets leave a guy like seabrook off the roster for hamhuis….

  8. pone27 - Feb 17, 2014 at 11:06 AM

    While I think Seabrook should have made Team Canada’s roster, its pretty much a pointless debate at this point. For him to start in the top 6, it would either be Vlasic or Boumeester that would have to sit, and honestly, I can’t see a reason to do that. Granted Seebs is Keiths full time partner, when you got this group of guys playing D, chemistry will be there regardless.

    As for this Norris Trophy talk, I agree that it is at this point with how the league is, its a very mis-construed award. But its basically for the highest scoring defenseman in the league. I think the problem is us big hockey guys want it to be recognized for the best all around Dman: Someone who puts up those top points, but also contributes defensively in a high fashion. Unfortunately, that’s not what the trophy is about. Hopefully they add another one to help that out.

    • soro17 - Feb 17, 2014 at 11:51 AM

      Both Vlasic and Bouwmeester have been underwhelming. Bouwmeester can skate, but has zero creativity with the puck in the offensive zone – his favourite play seems to be to shoot the puck into the unguarded corner. Make a play already.

  9. leepetertk - Feb 17, 2014 at 12:46 PM

    Going in to the tournament, PK was in tough for minutes with all the great right shooting defencemen. But I thought Hamhuis might more time seeing as how he is comparable to Vlasic. Vlasic is having a great season and obviously going well with Doughty. Top 6 d-men are looking so good right now.

  10. garybrian - Feb 17, 2014 at 12:54 PM

    Guess the feeling is “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”!

  11. garybrian - Feb 17, 2014 at 12:56 PM

    Feeling here must be “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”!!

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Kane (1857)
  2. P. Kessel (1723)
  3. M. Richards (1476)
  4. P. Datsyuk (1281)
  5. N. Backstrom (1201)