Team USA Could Be Better Than Expected
As we approach the announcement of the 2010 Team USA Olympic roster, talk has been of how the team, no matter how it is constructed just won’t have the talent to beat Canada or Russia, two of the tournament’s heavy favorites.
But I just don’t see how that’s the case.
James Mirtle has his picks to make the team over at From The Rink, and I must say, there is more talent there than what meets the eye.
In goal, the Americans will have one of the hottest goalies in the NHL in Ryan Miller. Say what you will about Martin Brodeur and his legacy, but Miller is the man I want in net at this very moment.
Moving outward, Team USA lacks a Scott Nidermayer or Nicklas Lidstrom veteran presence on the blueline, but “settling” for Brian Rafalski isn’t such a bad thing.
Where the team may struggle, however, is with depth on the blueline. Very few on the preliminary list are what you would call stand out defensemen, though many are good, if not solid.
Choosing a crop that will be able to shut down the Russians, for example, may be a difficult task.
It will be interesting to see whether Brian Burke, Team USA’s general manager, opts to go with his preferred physical style or a more skilled, skating style that is more favorable for Olympic hockey.
Up front, I get the feeling Team USA may be extremely under-rated.
Sure, Patrick Kane, Zack Parise, and Phil Kessel don’t even compare to, say, Alexander Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, and Ilya Kovalchuk, but what the Americans will have that others don’t seem to have as much of is grit.
With Ryan Malone, Dustin Brown, and Ryan Kesler likely to occupy three of the 12 forward positions, Team USA will have a nice compliment of sandpaper and defensive awareness to compliment their skill.
It’s way to early to award the Gold Medal, but in the early stages, Team USA certainly appears to be a team worth watching.
Team USA’s roster announcement is scheduled to come sometime during tomorrow’s Winter Classic outdoor game on NBC. If the game is postponed due to the weather — which appears to be likely — the announcement will come Saturday during the rescheduled Winter Classic. Faceoff-Factor will have a roster breakdown soon after.