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by Howard Fienberg, Correspondent
A new report out of Ottawa recommends that Quebec should have its own hockey team to compete on the international stage. Wales and Scotland have teams distinct from the United Kingdom at the World Cup of soccer. Why shouldn't Quebec have one for the World Cup of Hockey? Because it would lose miserably, same as Scotland and Wales always do.
Perhaps they were thinking of some by-gone era? Face facts. After you fill the goal, unless Mario Lemieux returned to the ice, Quebec faces a serious drop off in world class talent. Let us look at how we might fill out our prospective Team Quebec if the World Cup were in the immediate future.
At forward, who would be the number one center? Pierre Turgeon. Sad, I know. He hasn't exactly been dynamite since he was gooned by Dale Hunter in '93. Still, he is a great set-up guy and legitimate talent. So far, everything's rosy, and this poutine has the making of some good french fries.
Also gunning up front would be Vincent Damphousse, Luc Robitaille, Joe Juneau, and Claude Lemieux. Uh oh, trouble: Lucky Luc, Vinny, and Pepe are all on the slide. So let's add a little cheese -- some youth: Alexandre Daigle (underachieving), Pascal Rheaume (at least he's related to Manon), Rene Corbet (no scoring possibilities) and Vincent Lecavalier (unproven). For good measure, add some gravy with Claude Lapointe and Marc Bureau to kill penalties, and Gino Odjick to drop the gloves.
Mmm, tasty. Sticks in your throat like a crushed-glass sundae.
We find Quebec's real strength in goal. Patrick Roy and Martin Brodeur can fight it out for the starting job, while Felix Potvin waits in the wings. With the QMJHL production line of butterfly goalies, there should be no shortage of superstar Quebecois in this position any time soon.
To the blue line. JJ Doughnut and Eric Desjardins are the top two, and that ain't bad. Especially with a cup of coffee and some chocolate sprinkles. But after that, it's so long Tim Horton's and hello Joe's Truck Stop. Sylvain Cote and Sylvain Lefebvre are okay, Garry Galley and Steve Duchesne can still kick in the red light once in a while, and Marc Bergevin, Patrice Brisebois, and Karl Dykhuis can take the ice to play shinny with any old neighborhood kids who happen by.
Good old Karl Dykhuis. He used to beat up my friend Valerie, his neighbor in Septs-Iles, on a regular basis when they were young. Then he kindly brought his buddy Big E back years later to knock out her brother's teeth in a bar fight. On the upside, he is physical, and is the best on the Tampa Bay blue line. On the downside, my grandmother could lead the Tampa defensemen. Well, at least at knitting and nagging.
If this synopsis causes Quebecois to fear that they are losing their grip on the sport, fine. But remember, in a pinch, they can always declare folks like John LeClair and Rod Brind'Amour must play for Quebec, since they have French names.
So get out there and win one for Charest. I mean Bouchard.