Hey, gang. It’s Dan Mount and I’m here with a breakdown of the American team that will go to Sochi in February to participate in the Winter Olympics. There were some obvious choices and some real-head scratchers that are on the team. I’ll take a look at the players on the team by position and have a few guys that may deserved a spot on the team.
If you think you can come up with a better team, I’d love to hear it. You can leave comments below or hit me up on Twitter @DanMountSports. You can also shoot me an email at email@example.com.
I’ll have a breakdown of Team Canada when the team is announced on Tuesday.
David Backes (Blues); Dustin Brown (Kings); Ryan Callahan (Rangers); Patrick Kane (Blackhawks); Ryan Kesler (Canucks); Phil Kessel (Maple Leafs); T.J. Oshie (Blues); Max Pacioretty (Canadiens); Zach Parise (Wild); Joe Pavelski (Sharks); Paul Statsny (Avalanche); Derek Stepan (Rangers); James van Riemsdyk (Maple Leafs); Blake Wheeler (Jets)
Big question: Where the heck is Bobby Ryan of the Ottawa Senators? For those who haven’t heard, there has been a big mess regarding the omission of Ryan (who was a member of the 2010 silver medal team in Vancouver.)
The main reasoning for leaving Ryan off the team was spearheaded by Calgary Flames president Brian Burke, who questioned Ryan’s intensity. Ryan responded by calling Burke “gutless” and that he felt degraded. (Nashville Predators and Team USA General Manager Dave Poile tried to apologize for Ryan being left off the team.) It will be interesting if there are a couple of injuries and Poile is trying to get Ryan to join the team.
The other omission could be Kyle Okposo of the New York Islanders. He’s got 16 goals and is having a better season than the slow-starting Derek Stepan. I would easily have Ryan in over a guy like Blake Wheeler.
John Carlson (Capitals); Justin Faulk (Hurricanes); Cam Fowler (Ducks); Paul Martin (Penguins); Ryan McDonagh (Rangers); Brooks Orpik (Penguins); Kevin Shattenkirk (Blues); Ryan Suter (Wild)
Sure, you need some stay-at-home defensemen, but the international game is more of a European-style. The ice is a lot more open and there is a faster pace than an NHL game. I know Cam Fowler was a last choice, but I really have question Brooks Orpik being on the team. Johnson and Yandle are more suited to the offensive game in the Olympics.
Jonathan Quick (Kings); Jimmy Howard (Red Wings); Ryan Miller (Sabres)
Big question: I know Howard and Quick are coming off of leg injuries and Miller hasn’t been his usual self. I really thought they should’ve given some consideration to Ben Bishop of the Tampa Lightning. I know the current trio has had deep playoff runs and Bishop hasn’t. However, Bishop has kept the Ning afloat since Steven Stamkos went down with a broken leg.
I really think there are some head-scratchers on this team. I think they need to be a little more offensive-minded on the more wide-open surface. The Russians will be amped up because they will be playing in front of their home fans. Canada is always good and the Swedes, Finns and the Czechs are solid.
The other thing working against Team USA is that they’ve not medaled in a non-North American Olympics since Sapporo in 1972. I do think the Americans be competitive, but it will be a tall order. I predict a fifth place finish for the Stars and Stripes.
Dan Mount is an NHL writer for TJRSports.com. He is based out of Watertown, NY.