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Thursday, January 2, 2014

USA!! USA!! USA!!

Well it's now official.  The US Men's Hockey Team roster was set at the conclusion of the Winter Classic yesterday in Michigan.  I have a few comments about some of the guys here and I kind of took offense at some of the missing names but other than that, I think this is one of the best possible lineups the selection committee could have assembled.  Barring a disaster of injuries and the like, I think Team USA will be able to stand skate-to-skate with any of the teams on the Olympics.

Let's first look at the forwards:



Ryan Kesler, Patrick Kane, Dustin Brown


Zach Parise, David Backes, Phil Kessel


Paul Stastny, Ryan Callahan, Joe Pavelski


TJ Oshie, Blake Wheeler, Max Pacioretty


Derek Stepan & James van Riemsdyk

Ok.  First and foremost in all the picks for Team USA, there are big injury concerns.  I think over half the roster has dealt with or is still dealing with an injury from this year (I think Parise is still on IR?).  I won't go into all the injuries but just check the NHL injury report and you will see.

The first eight guys on this list get a pass.  They all have proven themselves, they have all shown they are more than capable at competing in International play, and they are all top US players that would probably make it to most Top 10 lists.  They are also all returning from the 2010 Vancouver team which, as we all remember, got beat by Sidney Crosby.

With that being said, I don't think the same thing can be said for the last five guys.  Blake Wheeler?  Really?  I guess I can see Oshie because of his skating ability and size as well as special teams play.  I can even see van Riemsdyk, considering his resurgence this year playing alongside Phil Kessel.  But Pacioretty?  Over Bobby Ryan?  Derek Stepan?  Over Bobby Ryan?


What happened to Bobby Ryan? How do you put together an Olympic team without Bobby Ryan on it?  I don't know.  This was my biggest gripe with the forwards.  I don't get that at all.  UPDATE 1/3/14:  And apparently I'm not the only one.

Now the D-men:


Kevin Shattenkirk, Ryan Suter, Ryan McDonagh



Cam Fowler, Justin Faulk, John Carlson


Brooks Orpik & Paul Martin

This collection of guys intrigues me.  The first four on the list are basically lock picks based on what we already know they can do.  I think the addition of Brooksie and Pauly, while solid, may not have been the best choices.  With Orpiks injury this year and Martin coming off a few himself, I'm not sure I want to see two pivotal Pens in extremely intense competitive play that doesn't go toward an NHL Playoff run.  Orpik probably got a pass because of his inclusion on the team in 2010.

What I can't understand here is why Keith Yandle or Jack Johnson weren't picked and can only speculated it was due to this season's play of Carlson and Faulk.  But I would take Yandle over Carlson any day of the week.  So what if the ice is bigger.  The recent memories of the committee members seem to be helping the bulk of the newcomers see their first Olympic ice-time in Sochi.

And finally, the goalies:


Jonathan Quick, Ryan Miller, & Jimmy Howard

I think these guys are mostly easy picks to make.  Ben Bishop got dumped because they thought he didn't have the experience in international play and weren't sure he would be solid, obviously ignoring his play for Tampa as of late.  Cory Schneider was a consideration too apparently but the committee obviously thought Howard gave them a better chance at winning if he was called upon.  I don't know if I agree with that necessarily since he hasn't been his stellar self this year for Detroit and he has dealt with injuries.  But, I really can't argue with the top two guys here.  For my buck, Miller is #1 with Quick right behind him.

What about the readers out there?  Any comments about any of these guys being included, not included, etc?  I'd also like to hear a few opinions from our rival team fans to the north.  I'm sure there are many.

11 comments:

  1. I think leaving Ryan off the list was a HUGE mistake. I understand they claim this team is the best designed to get the gold in Sochi, but I cannot see how Ryan would be worse than a couple of the picks. If you think Stepan is a better blend into the team than Ryan, I would love to see the tapes you viewed to come to that decision, cuz maybe it wasn't Bobby Ryan from Anaheim but some 7yr old named Ryan Bobby that plays in some park district league in Orlando.

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    1. Bobby is on the Sens now but I agree with everything you just said. The "committee" said that they didn't pick the best 25 players, they picked the 25 players best able to win a gold medal. I guess MONEYBALL tactics are spilling over into the Olympics now too.

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  2. Team USA's claim has been that they are trying to "build the best team, not the top 25 players in the country," and that was their reasoning for not including Ryan (along with now-publicized questions of his character). While I like the mindset by the roster-builders, I still find leaving Ryan off the list a big mistake. Also, I think Yandle would have been a great addition to the team and would have been able to use his speed to his advantage on the larger European ice.

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    1. Yeah they've said that a number of times. As I mentioned in the last comment, it's like Moneyball hockey. Brian Burke's comments about Ryan are pretty ridiculous though.

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    2. hahah Moneyball Hockey I like it. I think we are all due for a new hockey movie anyways. At least in hockey having chemistry matters way more than a sport like baseball, so I guess it isn't too crazy.

      I was astonished by Burke's comments -- I'd never expect a professional in the sport to talk that way about another professional.

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  3. The more I think about it the more pissed I get since I think this team is a joke. I don't think they have enough firepower to compete with Canada in the wide open style of the Olympics, but maybe they'll win gold because of their "grit".

    And yes I am extremely pissed Brandon Saad did not make this roster.

    Go Canada!

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    1. Joke? I wouldn't go that far. It is a solid lineup with a few questionable picks. Saad definitely deserved a bigger consideration though. I'm definitely not going as far as, "go Canada." That's just crazy.

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    2. I'm with you Nick -- where's Branon Saad!?

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    3. Ok, joke may be taking it a little far, but I just don't have a good feeling about this team. For me it's Bobby Ryan and Saad being left out, and I can't stand Dustin Brown.

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  4. it seems the consensus across the nation (including TSN, CBC, etc...) that, well.... the team could've been better.
    http://justabitoffside.blogspot.ca/2014/01/maybe-bit-premature-but.html

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    1. That graphic is pretty hilarious to be honest

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