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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

USA Announces Hockey Roster

Wild on Sports
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USA Announces Hockey Roster
Wild on Sports Analyst Jason Gillson

Ah, what a day of hockey! At the conclusion of this year's traditional NHL Winter Classic on New Year's day USA Hockey has announced the roster that will heading to Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympic games. The team will be led by Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma and is comprised largely of players who were part of the 2008 silver medal winning team. All told, there are 14 returning players to the USA Olympic roster led by such notable names as Ryan Miller, Patrick Kane, Ryan Callahan, Dustin Brown and may other deserving returnees.

When major roster like this are announced the initial buzz generally is about the boarder line players who either did or did not make the cut. There was a a lot of talk going in about who the third goaltender would be behind Miller and Jonathan Quick. The selection committee decided to go with Detroit's Jimmy Howard over the likes of Ben Bishop and Tim Thomas. Howard returned to play just in the past week after missing a large chunk of the season due to a knee injury. Skeptics will look at the snub of Bishop who is having a career year for Tampa Bay. Bishop is 3rd in the NHL in both wins (20) and save percentage (.935).

On the offensive side the two real surprises are Winnipeg's Blake Wheeler and New York's Derek Stepan. Wheeler is known best for his wheels (speed for those unfamiliar with the hockey lingo). His speed and puck handling on the large Olympic ice surface where more coveted by the committee then the slower, but more skilled goal scoring ability of most people's top snub Bibby Ryan.

Overall, this roster is one that is certainly capable of contending for a gold medal. The team lacks the laundry list of marque names that are seen on Canada, Sweden or Russia but play a grinding style of hockey that can frustrate opponents and ware down opposing defenses. As always, the key to success for the USA will be its goaltending. Ryan Miller was sensational in 2008 and the main reason why they beat Canada the first time around and made it back to a rematch in the gold medal game. It is unclear at this point if it will be Miller or Quick as the starter this time around. Whoever it is will need to play nearly flawlessly over the course of the tournament if they want to have a chance at the gold.

Without further adieu, the roster for the 2014 USA Men's Ice Hockey team...

Jonathan QuickGoalieLos Angeles Kings
Jimmy HowardGoalieDetroit Red Wings
Ryan MillerGoalieBuffalo Sabres
Ryan SuterDefensemanMinnesota Wild
Keith YandleDefensemanPhoenix Coyotes
Ryan McDonaghDefensemanNew York Rangers
Kevin ShattenkirkDefensemanColorado Avalanche
Brooks OrpikDefensemanPittsburgh Penguins
Cam FowlerDefensemanAnaheim Ducks
Paul MartinDefensemanPittsburgh Penguins
Justin FaulkDefensemanCarolina Hurricanes
Zach PariseForwardMinnesota Wild
Joe PavelskiForwardSan Jose Sharks
Patrick KaneForwardChicago Blackhawks
James Van RiemsdykForwardToronto Maple Leafs
Phil KesselForwardToronto Maple Leafs
Ryan KeslerForwardVancouver Canucks
David BackesForwardSt. Louis Blues
Dustin Brown ForwardLos Angeles Kings
Ryan CallahanForwardNew York Rangers
Max PaciorettyForwardMontreal Canadiens
T.J OshieForwardSt. Louis Blues
Derek StepanForwardNew York Rangers
Blake WheelerForwardWinnipeg Jets
Paul StastnyForwardColorado Avalanche

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