Oh mama don’t you cry, USA hockey is do or die! Team USA tends to dominate the majority of sports they compete in – just take a look at the medal table from last month’s Olympics – so they are expected to at least reach the top three here. They underperformed in the Sochi Olympics with 4th place, and in the World Championships the team hasn’t won a gold medal since 1960, so they will be hoping to stamp their name as a big hockey team.
They’re one of the tallest teams in the tournament as well as the heaviest at an eye-watering average of 209lbs. Some of their best young talents, Gaudreau, Saad, Eichel, and Matthews all feature for team North America, therefore this team has taken the experience route; the average age of the team is 29.3years.
Head coach Torterella faces the tough challenge of choosing a starting goalie out of skyscraper Ben Bishop, two time Stanley cup winner Quick, or technically gifted Schneider. For now, Quick has the nod. The heavy weight of the team may be skewed by the sheer size of a few players: On the blue line, Erik Johnson weighs in at 225lbs, Jack Johnson at 230lbs, and Dustin Byfuglien comes in at 260lbs. It will probably be better for you to be hit by a Zamboni than one of these guys charging down the ice. It’s likely the USA will be playing a very defensive game in the tournament, and they don’t have too many reasons to be worried as their defenders are pretty solid.
The USA has made a potentially fatal mistake by leaving Phil ‘The Thrill’ Kessel off the roster, who is arguably one of their best offensive players and has had 80 point seasons in the past. They have Pavelski, Kane , and Pacioretty hungry for goals, but they need the other forwards – Oshie, Parise, Kesler, Backes – to show up and play big, particularly when facing Canada. They share the group with their fiercest rivals, Canada, the Czech Republic, and team Europe. They could finish second in the group if they keep the defence tight, goal solid, and ensure their forwards are working in their lines rather than single all stars.
It will be interesting to watch how this team gels together – if they need inspiration then they can always watch Miracle.