2010 Olympic Hockey Outlook: Team USA

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2010 Olympic Hockey Outlook: Team USA

The United States is the third of an eight-part series previewing the upcoming Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Other team previews can be found here: Russia | Canada | Sweden | Czech Republic | Slovakia | Finland | Mexico (Satire)

For those supporting the United States, an initial reaction would be "How can we compete with that?" This roster may be lacking star power, but it lacks nothing in heart. There are many young players wanting to prove themselves in these Olympic games.

While the US had stars like Mike Modano, Brian Leetch, Brett Hull, and Jeremy Roenick in the past, the current roster has no players of that caliber.

They will be a contender for a medal, but can't be considered in the picture for the Gold. But scoring a medal in Vancouver would be a major accomplishment for this young squad.

 

Forwards

First Line

C Paul Stastny, Colorado Avalanche

LW Zach Parise, New Jersey Devils

RW Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks

 

Second Line

C Chris Drury, New York Rangers

LW Scott Gomez, New York Rangers

RW Phil Kessel, Boston Bruins

 

Third Line

C Mike Modano, Dallas Stars

LW Ryan Malone, Tampa Bay Lightning

RW Brian Gionta, New Jersey Devils

 

Fourth Line

C Tim Connolly, Buffalo Sabres

LW Jamie Langenbrunner, New Jersey Devils

RW David Backes, St. Louis Blues

 

Analysis

This group reminds me a lot of the US soccer team - not a lot of big names, but love-able nonetheless. The top line with youngsters like Kane, Parise and Stastny will be able to create a buzz once they begin to gel.

The second line is formed by a duo of New York Rangers, and Phil Kessel of the Bruins. Not what would be considered a flashy line, but they could be effective.

The third line will bring some serious grit to the ice in the form of Malone, Gionta and Modano. This line could give some competition trouble because of their physicality.

Connolly and Backes are two unsung heroes on this team. They don't make exceptional plays but they do the fundamental things with the puck, and they do it right. Langenbrunner is also a smart player.

 

Backup options

Patrick O'Sullivan, Los Angeles Kings; Jason Pominville, Buffalo Sabres; Joe Pavelski, San Jose Sharks; Ryan Kessler, Vancouver Canucks

 

Defensemen

First Pairing

LD Brian Rafalski, Detroit Red Wings

RD Mike Komisarek, Montreal Canadiens

 

Second Pairing

LD Ryan Whitney, Pittsburgh Penguins

RD Ryan Suter, Nashville Predators

 

Third Pairing

LD Erik Johnson, St. Louis Blues

RD Paul Martin, New Jersey Devils

 

Analysis

Again, there is nothing very flashy about this defensive unit, but they are not bad as a whole. Rafalski has been the head of the bunch for several years now, but the rest are mostly newcomers.

Ryan Whitney and Ryan Suter should be a nice pairing for second unit. Whitney is a better passer coming out of the defensive end, while Suter is very offensive-minded.

Erik Johnson is a well kept secret in St. Louis and his youth will be matched with the veteran experience of Paul Martin.

 

Backup options

Jack Johnson, Los Angeles Kings; Keith Ballard, Florida Panthers; John-Michael Liles, Colorado Avalanche

 

Goaltenders

Starter

G Ryan Miller, Buffalo Sabres

 

Backup

G Tim Thomas, Boston Bruins

 

Analysis

Miller has been the starter for Team USA for several years now, and despite Tim Thomas having a tremendous season, he should keep the position. Thomas will see time for sure though.

 

Backup option

Rick DiPietro, New York Islanders

 

Coaching

Head coach

John Tortorella

 

Final Outcome

No medal. They will not qualify for the medal round.

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