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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Proposed 2010 Olympic Roster: Out with the Old, In with the New

We are about one year away from the Winter Olympics in Vancouver and within a couple of months, the US will need to announce its roster. Four years ago in Turino, the US team embarrassed the country by going 1-4-1 with an old, slow team and a goalie (Ricky 5 Hole) that couldn't stop a beachball. This year's proposed team will get rid of some of the old blood and will look to rejuvenate the US Hockey team.

First, here is a list of this years "snubs"

Mike Modano: Just misses the cut. While Modo has the history and experience, the has lost a couple of steps and isn't the threat he once was.
David Legwand: I would love to put him onto this list for some grit and defense from the center position, but in these Olympics, I think that games will be shootouts rather than low scoring affairs and there are better distributing center options.

Right Wing
Bill Guerin: Refer to Mike Modano.
Brian Gionta: Refer to David Legwand

Left Wing
Erik Cole: Too injury proned and hasn't looked the same since leaving Carolina and Eric Staal's side. Four years ago, there was a lack of options and he needed to be put on the team. This year, his services aren't necessary.
Ryan Malone: Signed a big contract and then went into hibernation for the winter. Doesn't seem to have the fire to compete on a grander stage.

Matthieu Schnieder and Chris Chelios: Chelios should be brought on as a coach because he has seen it all in the Olympics. Both are older and too slow to keep up with the speed of Canada, Russia, Sweden, or the Czechs.

And now onto the team. This team is being put together with multiple considerations being taken. Speed and scoring ability top the list. The other is youth that can get valuable experience now and be put together and gel over the next couple of years for the World Championships and 2014 Olympics.

Paul Stasny: Gritty center man that has showed the ability to fill it up despite the lack of assistance in Colorado. He averages a point a game and has the ability to distribute the puck putting his wings in the best scoring positions.
Scott Gomez: With scoring talent around him last year, Gomez showed the ability to orchestrate a high powered offense. Hopefully he can bring that back to the table again.
Tim Connolly: Cross our fingers that he can stay healthy through a full year of practicing and training. When he is on the ice though, he has the ability to make an impact on the game. Has shown the ability to average almost a point a game over the last three years when on the ice. Comes with the added bonus of a penalty killer.
Chris Drury: Penalty killer extraordinaire and has shown the panache for the big moment in the past.

Right Wing
Patrick Kane and Phil Kessel: No brainers. Young, physical, scorers.
Bobby Ryan: Young, tough, and seems to have a chip on his shoulder. I love that. To quote Cool Runnings, "I see pride, I see power, I see a bad ass motha, who don't take no crap from nobody."
Jamie Langenbrunner: Has shown a rebirth this year and kills penalties with the best of them. Also has the leadership abilities to be the captain of this team.

Left Wing
Zach Parise: Has absolutely exploded onto the scene this year as one of the best young players in the league. Parise has already surpassed his career high in points with 24 games still to play and is on pace for a 100 point season.
Jason Blake: Has had a great year this year despite the fact that he has absolutely no help up in Toronto. Is gritty and has some of that experience that the rest of this younger team will be looking up to.
Keith Tkachuck: Is the Jason Blake of St. Louis. Put him back with some real talent and he has the ability to shine through.
Dustin Brown: Due to the lack of real US depth at the position, Brown makes the cut. If he was left off of the team for someone with more size or defense like a Malone or Rolston, I would not be able to argue. Brown does bring more scoring ability to the table than those other two however.

Extra Forward:
Kyle Okposo: Poor kid is basically stuck on a minor league team. He has shown flashes of being a promising scorer and can bring instant energy into any game. This will be great experience for him for the future.

Line Combo's (LW, C, RW)
Parise, Stasny, Kessel
Blake, Drury, Kane
Thachuck, Gomez, Ryan
Brown, Connolly, Langenbrunner

John Michael Liles: Plays solid defense and has the ability pinch in and jump into the offensive zone with a scoring mentality. Nice two way player.
Jack Johnson: On this list for his defensive ability. And you never know, maybe this summer while practicing with some offensive talent he picks up a thing or two.
Ryan Suter: Starting to notice a theme of my fast young defensemen who have the stamina to play big minute multiple days in a row?
Ryan Whitney: Someone has to be able to blast it from the point on the power play.
Brian Rafalski: Experienced, and someone has to pass it across to Whitney to blast it from the point on the power play.
Mike Komaserik: Big defenseman who will not get pushed around. Good on the penalty kill and can handle the size of a Malkin or Ovechkin or Jagr (few can handle the speed or the skill)
Matt Carle: Has the endurance to stay on the ice for long stretches and the speed to keep up with quick wingers.

Tim Thomas: Hard to argue against a 2.1 GAA and a 93% save percentage.
Ryan Miller: Should have been on the team in Turino and should have played over Ricky. When he's hot, he's scary good.
Craig Andersen: Ricky sucks and will be coming off of surgery anyway. Andersen is a nice 3rd string fill in and even though he probably won't see much ice time, the experience will be good for him.

Does this team have enough to pull a Lake Placid? Probably not. But with this roster right here, they may be able to sneak into the medal round depending on who else they are paired with in their group. Get to the medal round and anything is possible.

1 comment:

ZFiSH said...

I really like the team you assembled, but I LOVE the Cool Runnings quote.