Earlier in the day I projected my Team USA roster. Time to see how I did.
3 for 3.
Miller and Tim Thomas were fairly obvious picks, and the 3rd goalie came down to Craig Anderson and Quick. My thought was it has to be Quick. Anderson is having a good year this year, but the only way either of them play in this tournament is if Miller gets hurt and then Thomas shits the bed. So taking Quick now when he is going to be the backup or heck maybe even the starter in 2014 is the more advisable decision.
4 for 7
Who I missed: Jack Johnson, Mike Komisarek, Paul Martin
Who I had instead: Andy Greene, Ryan Whitney, Matt Carle
Komisarek makes sense on an NHL sized ice sheet I guess. A bit surprised that Paul Martin made it after his injury as well. I am actually really happy that Jack Johnson is on the team, although I must admit that I didn’t expect him to be there. Since he’s the most hated hockey player in Canada (well, Eric Tangradi may have something to say about that) maybe he will bring some good mojo.
Matt Carle is another story entirely. Could it be that Ron Wilson still harbors a personal grudge against Carle? Id hope not. It would be too bad if Carle let personal feelings get in the way of picking the best hockey team, especially in a tournament as important as this one. Of the top 22 scoring US defensemen this year, Carle has the highest +/-. Granted it’s not a perfect stat, but he has been moving the puck well offensively, and playing great defensively. It is a crying shame that he is not on this team.
Other than these I have no huge problems. Greene is having a great year so it would have been nice to see him, but overall the other guys probably are better players.
10 for 13
Who I missed: Ryan Callahan, Chris Drury, Joe Pavelski
Who I had instead: Jason Pominville, Tim Connolly, Paul Gaustad
The reasons I missed were simple: Ryan Miller is our goalie, and in my opinion is the best goalie in the tournament. Pominville, Connolly and Gaustad all play in front of him, and all play well in front of him.
In retrospect, Pavelski was kind of a brain fart as I think he will have a pretty good tournament and will be a key guy in 2014. Callahan is pretty versatile, but didn’t warrant selection in my opinion.
Drury is another matter. He has been awful each of the last two years, and made the team solely on reputation. He has worn the USA sweater with pride before, and played well for his country, but as long as USA Hockey is supporting the youth movement, why not go the whole mile and take a guy like Kyle Okposo? Or take Gaustad who is a great defensive forward and will win a ton of faceoffs.
Another guy tossed out there is Chicago’s Dustin Byfuglien. On the one hand he is a little too inconsistent to take into a short tournament, but on the other hand he is a pretty big guy who sits in front of the net and causes all sorts of mayhem, as anyone who watched him in front of Roberto Luongo last year can attest to.
In the end, I think Drury is the biggest mistake as far as people on the team, and Carle is by far the biggest omission, but other than that I think the Americans have a pretty strong team and will be on the verge of medal contention.
And, we can always hope that Ryan Miller pulls a Jim Craig.