Sochi Winter Olympics 2014: Previewing the USA men's hockey team

Bruce Bennett

Will USA Hockey's roster decisions hold them back from winning it all?

2010 Olympic Performance: 2nd (L) 3-2, Canada - Silver Medal

Winnipeg Jets' representation: Blake Wheeler (RW)

Players to Watch: Patrick Kane (RW), Phil Kessel (RW), Ryan Miller (G), Zach Parise (LW)

Tournament Dark Horse: T.J. Oshie (RW)

Schedule
DATE TIME EVENT
February 13, 2014 6:30AM SVK vs. USA
February 15, 2014 6:30AM USA vs. RUS
February 16, 2014 6:30AM SLO vs. USA

Roster
Goalies NHL Club
Jimmy Howard Detroit Red Wings
Ryan Miller Buffalo Sabres
Jonathan Quick Los Angeles Kings
Defensemen NHL Club
John Carlson Washington Capitals
Justin Faulk Carolina Hurricanes
Cam Fowler Anaheim Ducks
Paul Martin Pittsburgh Penguins
Ryan McDonagh New York Rangers
Brooks Orpik Pittsburgh Penguins
Kevin Shattenkirk St. Louis Blues
Ryan Suter Minnesota Wild
Forwards NHL Club
David Backes St. Louis Blues
Dustin Brown Los Angeles Kings
Ryan Callahan New York Rangers
Patrick Kane Chicago Blackhawks
Ryan Kesler Vancouver Canucks
Phil Kessel Toronto Maple Leafs
T.J. Oshie St. Louis Blues
Max Pacioretty Montreal Canadiens
Zach Parise Minnesota Wild
Joe Pavelski San Jose Sharks
Paul Stastny Colorado Avalanche
Derek Stepan New York Rangers
James van Riemsdyk Toronto Maple Leafs
Blake Wheeler Winnipeg Jets
Injuries

none

Strengths

An abundance of wingers: Just by taking a cursory glance at their roster, you can tell that the American's boast the best talent on the wing of any country in this tournament. Patrick Kane, Phil Kessel and Zach Parise headline a list of players who are more than capable of filling the net for USA Hockey. The program has come a long way from where it was even looking back ten years ago.

Decent goaltending: While perhaps not the most elite, there's no reason to scoff at any of the three goaltenders that the USA will showcase at these games. Ryan Miller was a tournament all-star in 2010 and had his teammates one golden goal away from wining the whole thing. He's also put up consistent numbers despite playing for the dumpster fire that is the Buffalo Sabres. Jonathan Quick has risen the ranks of the NHL over the past few years, winning a Stanley Cup in 2012 with the Los Angeles Kings. Though he has been spotty in 2013-14 when healthy, his acumen is still strong. Jimmy Howard rounds out the trio but will likely be used sparingly if at all as he has battled most of this season with a knee injury.

Weaknesses

Dump and chase: This American roster does have plenty of skill, to be sure. But David Poile and his team of General Managers made some interesting roster decisions such as taking Ryan Callahan, Derek Stepan and Brooks Orpik over more offensively minded players in Bobby Ryan, Kyle Okposo, Dustin Byfuglien or Keith Yandle. Given this tournament is being played on international ice, there might not be enough speed and skill to carry the American's to the podium.

In This Article

Teams
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