With Team USA beginning their orientation camp this week in Chicago and Team Canada starting theirs next week in Calgary, what better time to get an early preview on the 2010 Olympic Hockey tournament that is only 6 months away. For the next few weeks Canuckz.com will preview each of the contending nations. Today we preview Team USA.
IIHF World Ranking: 5th
Top players in 2010: Parise, Kane, Stastny, Thomas, Miller, Rafalski
2006 Olympic Result: 8th
What’s in their trophy case? World Cup in 1996, Olympic Gold Medal in 1980
Canuckz.com’s predicted 2010 roster:
The 2010 Olympics will mark the beginning of a new era of USA Hockey. Gone are most of their key members of their World Cup in 1996 such as Richter, Leetch, Roenick and Hull. The 2010 team will be a lot younger, with the likes of Parise, Stastny, Kane, Kessel and Ryan all playing key roles, despite all being 25 years of age or less. As Team USA general manager Brian Burke loves to mention, they ought to be considered underdogs behind the likes of Canada, Russia and Sweden.
But Team USA has a lot to look forwards to. To start with, for the first time since Mike Richter they are well positioned in goal, with either Ryan Miller or Vezina trophy winner Tim Thomas between the pipes. They are a bit thin on defense, but their forwards have a lot of speed and skill. Sound a bit like that young team in 1996 that won the World Cup? They begin play in pool A with Canada, Switzerland and Norway, so a top 2 finish in the round robin is almost a certainty. The IIHF may have them ranked #5 in the world at the moment, but I think on the small North American ice surface, they will at least make the semi finals in Vancouver.
Is Iceland in the competition this year?