Thursday, December 24, 2009

Scotty Hockey's Team USA 2010

Since the announcement of the official Team USA roster is just days away, and the Rangers don't play again until Saturday, I figured it was time to take the reins of the American program and release my starting lineup.

Two years ago in this space I had:
Patrick Kane-Paul Stastny-Zach Parise
Dustin Brown-Chris Drury-Phil Kessel
Chris Higgins-Tim Connolly-Brian Gionta
Erik Cole-David Legwand-Kyle Okposo

Brian Rafalski-Matt Niskanen
Mike Komisarek-Jack Johnson
Tom Gilbert-Ryan Suter

Ryan Miller, DP, Jimmy Howard
Click the link for some of the explanations that I made at the time. But times change and so has my selections. Without further ado, here is the 23 man team that I would ice in Vancouver now:
Zach Parise-Paul Stastny-Jamie Langenbrunner
Dustin Brown-Tim Connolly-Phil Kessel
Ryan Malone-Joe Pavelski-Patrick Kane
David Backes-Ryan Kesler-Bill Guerin
Dustin Byfuglien

Brian Rafalski-Mike Komisarek
Ryan Whitney-Brooks Orpik
Keith Ballard-Ryan Suter
Erik Johnson

Ryan Miller, Tim Thomas, Jimmy Howard
But back to the USA roster. I wanted to get Ryan Callahan in there in the worst way but, let's face it, even with it being a Scotty Hockey/Burke team there are already a lot of grind-it-out energy guys included there in Langenbrunner, Brown, Malone, Backes and Guerin. And having Byfuglien's size as the extra forward is too enticing to pass up considering they are playing on NHL-sized rinks. No Drury, no Gionta, no Gomez because their times have all passed. Even with Dru's resurgence last week, he hasn't been clutch since he left Buffalo three years ago and the Montreal midgets haven't ranked among the elite in even longer. My first three lines have two skill guys with a grit guy on the wing and all three guys on the fourth line combine both talents.

Johnson slides in as the extra defender because, let's face it, he is still a kid - especially having missed a year with the golf cart accident. Ballard is playing big minutes for Florida and handling many of the tough assignments well he is more-than-capable as a No.5 guy alongside 'legacy' Ryan Suter. Reuniting Orpik and Whitney is a no-brainer, as is combining the offense of Rafalski with the defense of Komisarek.

As for in goal, Miller and Thomas are guaranteed to make it if they are healthy so Howard gets the third spot to observe and learn for his shot in 2014 and beyond.

By the way, after combing through NHL rosters, I saw that the Minnesota Wild don't have a single American-born player on their team. How is that possible? There is just something wrong with that. So what is wrong - or right - with my selections for America 2010?


Garfinkus said...

I pretty much agree with the players you selected for the team, but I might juggle the lines a bit. Probably get Kane with a better center on the 1st or 2nd line. said...

No love for Craig Anderson?

Garfinkus said...

While Anderson is good, and would be a great 4th goalie, Miller and Thomas are locks for the team. There's no way they don't make it, unless they get hurt right before the Olympics.

Jimmy Howard is the future of the USA Hockey team, so having him there is more for the experience, and maybe playing him for a few periods. I can't see them using him for whole games, unless it's against an easy team.

Anonymous said...

paul martin is a lock, unless the injury setback scares burke

Jeremyinc said...

Nice picks, I think Canada and Russia will be tough competition though. check out the Russian olympic hockey roster pretty stacked team as far as forwards go.

What I think will help the USA and Canada is that russian are more individual players. A lot of those superstars just want to score goals, where as USA and Canada have playmakers