Today following the 2010 Winter Classic at Fenway park, the team that will represent the United States at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver was selected.
Left off the roster are players that have dawned the stars and stripes like Mike Modano, Chris Chelios and Jeremy Roenick. Team USA GM Brian Burke made it clear during the summer that they were there to win and the key to winning is through youth.
Only three players on the roster have played in the Olympics before. That includes forwards Chris Drury, Jamie Jangenbrunner, and defensemen Brian Rafalski.
The deepest segment of the American roster is in goal. Look for Ryan Miller to take the no. 1 job into the February 16 game against Switzerland. Backing up Miller and should see playing time will be Tim Thomas. Thomas said after the Winter Classic, “I’ve been waiting 30 years for this opportunity. I couldn’t be happier,” The third goalie will be 22-year old Jonathan Quick.
There could have been better choices for Burke in the no. 3 goalie position, but Quick is best served watching and learning for the 2014 Olympics in Russia. Look for Quick and Jimmy Howard to be the future of American goaltending.
On the blue line, the player fans should be most excited to see of Jack Johnson. He has a good shot from the point, and can lay bodychecks that are crushing. Jack won’t be the only Johnson on the blue line as he is joined by Erik Johnson. Having these two players who were part of the USA National Development Program in Ann Arbor, MI in their junior hockey days is proof that the European-style of sports development can work in the USA. Both have experience playing internationally as part of the program.
Up front, the Americans have a lot of youth and skilled talent. Look for Patrick Kane, Bobby Ryan, Phil Kessel and Zach Parise to provide a significant amount of offense. In addition to Drury and Langenbrunner, other players that are pieces of the puzzle include Paul Stasny, David Backes, and Ryan Kesler.
The player that’s playing with the most sense of American pride will be defensemen Ryan Suter. His father, Bob, was a member of the last team that captured the gold medal in 1980.
Coaching the team will be Ron Wilson. He will be assisted by Scott Gordon and John Tortorella.
The American squad will have a difficult task ahead of them if they have a chance at a medal. Teams better than them on paper include Canada, Sweden, Czech Republic and Russia.