When looking at the rosters for the upcoming World Cup of Hockey, it’s hard not to be intrigued by the United States roster.
Initial lines via USA Hockey (changing each day):
Max Pacioretty – Joe Pavelski – Patrick Kane
Zach Parise – Derek Stepan – Blake Wheeler
Justin Abdelkader – Ryan Kesler – T.J. Oshie
James van Riemsdyk – David Backes – Brandon Dubinsky
Ryan Suter – Dustin Byfuglien
Ryan McDonagh – John Carlson
Jack Johnson – Matt Niskanen
Ben Bishop – Cory Schneider – Jonathan Quick
The goaltending is superb, but USA lost out to Canada 1-0 at the 2014 Sochi Olympics despite a lights out performance by Quick. Other than obvious picks like Patrick Kane and Joe Pavelski, there are some surprising choices, like no Phil Kessel and grinders like Justin Abdelkader making the cut.
It’s a different philosophy than the States’ rivals Canada: their bottom six features five number one centers, a very good second line center, and a first line winger. USA GM Dean Lombardi told ESPN’s Craig Custance that “it’s no different than putting together an NHL team … this had to be about team and identity.”
In other World Cup news:
- USA named their captains Wednesday: as expected, Pavelski will wear the C, with Kane and Ryan Suter wearing As.
- Russia also named their leadership group: Alex Ovechkin will be captain; Pavel Datsyuk and Evgeni Malkin will be assistants.
- Back in the U.S., TSN’s Gary Lawless posited that USA coach John Tortorella is wrong to force his views on his players. Yesterday, Tortorella told ESPN that any player who protested the American anthem like NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick would stay on the bench for the whole game. Lawless argued that while it’s admirable that Tortorella wants to honor his son, an Army Ranger, he shouldn’t be able to arbitrarily block someone from doing their job and publicly shame them for exercising free speech.