Rob The Hockey Guy

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Sochi 2014 Olympic Hockey Preview: Team USA

team-usa-hockey-vancouver-olympics-2010

With the 2014 Sochi Olympics less than three months away, we’ve started to preview some of the top teams that will hit the ice to battle for gold come February.  Yesterday, Rob took a look at Team Russia.  Next up: Team USA. 

Recent History

The Americans took home a heartbreaking silver medal in Vancouver, losing in overtime to Canada.  The last Olympic gold for the Yanks was 1980’s miracle on ice.

Round Robin Opponents

Team USA will be competing in pool A along with Russia, Slovakia, and Slovenia.

Roster Prediction

Forwards

Patrick Kane

While team USA boasts some high end talent up front in the form of Patrick Kane, Zach Parise, Phil Kessel, and Bobby Ryan – the strength of the American forward group will lie in its abundance of hard-nosed forwards willing to go to the dirty areas and wear down the opponent.  Players like Ryan Kesler, David Backes, TJ Oshie, and Ryan Callahan should ensure the forward core of the team will not be outworked.   

Zach Parise - Ryan Kesler - Patrick Kane 

Phil Kessel - Joe Pavelski - Bobby Ryan 

TJ Oshie - David Backes - Jason Pominville 

Ryan Callahan – Derek Stepan - Dustin Brown 

Blake Wheeler 

Paul Stastny 

Defence

Suter

The Americans defence looks to be a solid group that may be stretched a bit thin should they encounter any injuries.  Team USA will likely employ a minute eating first pair of Keith Yandle and Ryan Suter, both of whom can play in every situation.  It remains to be seen if Dustin Byfuglien’s foot speed will see him left off the team, however, I believe paired with a smooth skater like Kevin Shattenkirk, Byfuglien will make it.

Keith Yandle – Ryan Suter

Dustin Byfuglien – Kevin Shattenkirk

James Wisniewski – Ryan McDonagh

Jack Johnson

John Carlson

Goaltending

quick

Team USA is very good and very deep between the pipes.  Leading the charge should be Jonathan Quick, but if his average start to the NHL season continues he could quickly find himself riding the pine in favour of Ryan Miller or Cory Schneider.  Miller is an interesting play for team USA; he has been one of the only bright spots in Buffalo this season and will be extremely eager to get the net in Sochi, as it may represent the only meaningful hockey he sees all season.  Schneider wins the third spot over Jimmy Howard and Craig Anderson so he can take in the Olympic experience, as he will be a leading candidate to be a top two guy for team USA if the NHL continues to send players to the Olympics after Sochi.

Jonathan Quick

Ryan Miller

Cory Schneider

Most likely to get snubbed

If there’s an area where players deserving of a trip to the Olympics will be left at home for team USA, it’s in net.  Craig Anderson and Jimmy Howard are both deserving of long looks, however both will ultimately get snubbed.  Ben Bishop has been by far the best American goalie in the NHL to start the season, but has no track record which will keep him off the team.  A pair of Pittsburgh d-men, Brooks Orpik and Paul Martin, won’t be happy being left off the team.  Up front, Kyle Okposo is making it extremely difficult to leave him off the team, posting 5 goals and 14 assists in 18 games to start the year.  James VanRiemsdyk and Max Pacioretty will also be noticeable in their absence.

Outlook

The Americans come into Russia with a very solid team that will not be outworked, and is full of players that will excel in several areas of the game.  They will be one of the most physical teams in the tournament, and should have a top penalty kill.  Their goaltending is also among the best in the tournament.  The biggest question for team USA will be their strength up the middle.  They have some good centres, but they don’t have elite centres like Canada, Russia or Sweden.  I see another medal finish for team USA, but once again they will fall short of winning gold.

Other Roster Previews:

November 11: Russia

November 12: USA

November 13: Sweden

November 14: Czech Republic

November 18: Slovakia

November 19: Switzerland

November 20: Finland

November 21: Canada

November 26: Latvia

November 28: Austria

December 2: Norway

December 3: Slovenia

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8 Response to Sochi 2014 Olympic Hockey Preview: Team USA

  1. Joacim Antikainen on November 20, 2013

    Love these previews! Team USA looks just as strong as the rest of the big dogs. One thing that speaks in their favor is their level of compete. They always bring it. I’d like to avoid a meeting with the yanks and let Canada do the heavy lifting for us (Sweden). Win-win situation, you guys get a great rivalry game to watch, we get rid of a huge contender. :P

    Reply
  2. david on November 30, 2013

    VanRiemsdyk makes the team, the guy is clutch, a beast, and use to playing with Uncle Phil

    Reply
  3. flavadave10 on December 1, 2013

    JVR makes the team, and so does John Carlson. Max Pacioretty is definitely making the team over Pominville. Not so sure about Stepan. With the way he's playing, I think Team USA would rather go with Pominville or Brandon Dubinski.

    With the way Ryan Miller's been playing lately, I think he's still the starting goalie. Playing extremely well for an awful team.

    Good article though!

    Reply
  4. Team USA Hockey Set to Make a Comeback | Thrive Sports on December 3, 2013

    […] Read More at robthehockeyguy.com […]

    Reply
  5. Lyssa on December 7, 2013

    Pominville is Canadian.

    Reply
  6. Lyssa on December 7, 2013

    Oh well nevermind, he plays USA national team, sorry 'bout that.

    Reply
  7. Chris on December 18, 2013

    JVR is a good player. He's a solid kid and can smash that puck in there. Doesn't do anything fancy but good strong old school kind of hockey. Should be on team for sure. I think US looks best team other than Canada (on paper). Of course on paper doesn't mean jack.

    Reply
  8. Marc on January 7, 2014

    Parise – kane – kesler
    Jvr – brown -kessel
    Oshie-backes- callahan
    Pavelski- duchene – stephan

    These lines look terrefic lot of grits of each

    Reply

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