Photo Credit: teamusa.usahockey.com
This question will be looming for U.S. hockey for the next two years until the Winter Olympics in Seoul, South Korea. After an early exit of a renewed prestigious hockey tournament, many fans seem doubtful of American Hockey.
In 2010, a squad of very talented hockey players backed behind elite goalie Ryan Miller almost won gold against the top team Canada who they beat earlier in group play. What was so different about this year’s NHL player-filled roster than the 2010 and 2014 rosters that had a shot of winning?
Many things were different about this team. Coach John Tortorella decided that, for the World Cup of hockey, he was going to build a team that would bully other teams to win the gold medal. He was so fed up and focused on beating Canada that he didn’t even realize a team full of European stars like Anze Kopitar and Marian Hossa could shut them out.
Some of the players picked by Tortorella were very much doubted by critics. Players like Justin Abdelkader, who is nothing special, apparently deserved a spot on former NHL MVP Patrick Kane’s line.
This tournament may seem like a fluke to the organization, but it is not. What use to be a team trying to win a gold medal every 4 years is now just trying to advance out of group play. The U.S. certainly has the talent to win, but do they have the defense that has not shown up against Europe or Canada recently? Needless to say, it will be an interesting next year before this tournament starts over again for the U.S.