The World Cup of Hockey starts today in Toronto, and Team USA will take on Team Europe in the first game of the revamped tournament. While the American team has one of the strongest teams in their history, head coach John Tortorella has made some interesting decisions going into the opener. As Dan Rosen of NHL.com tweets, the infamous head coach has scratched Kyle Palmieri, Dustin Byfuglien and Cory Schneider for the afternoon matchup.
Byfuglien, part of the team’s original 16 named players, was expected to be a big part of the top pairing on this team and a weapon on the powerplay. As Tom Gulitti adds, Tortorella said just this week that he was excited about the Jets’ blueliner’s big shot. Instead, Erik Johnson will suit up as the team’s sixth defenseman.
- Tyler Seguin, who injured his foot this week in a pre-tournament match, is not expected to miss any training camp, as Mike Leslie of WFAA in Dallas reports. The hairline fracture that the Stars’ forward suffered is not serious enough to warrant him missing much time, and did not come as a surprise to the Dallas medical staff. Seguin was replaced by Ryan O’Reilly on Team Canada’s roster.
- In a new column from Helene Elliott of the LA Times, she examines how any success at the World Cup will give the NHL leverage in any Olympic negotiations down the road. With players and fans getting their international fix from the pre-season tournament, the league is not necessarily obligated to send players to the Winter Games, which usually causes an ugly stoppage mid-season, and prevents the league from hosting their all-star events. With the build up for the tournament being mixed, but overall fairly positive, it seems the league and NHLPA will have a strong bargaining chip to play to try and get a pay structure put in place for any player headed to the Olympics.