The Hockey World Championships are being held in Finland and Sweden starting a on Friday. The team, obviously, is built on the backs of players that are not in the post season this year, and many teams from across the world are going to be at full strength only because they are lucky, and their best players play for disappointing NHL squads. For example, an always strong Canadian squad was able to add studs like Dion Phaneuf on defense to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and John Tavares on the forward lines.
The United States hasn’t been so lucky. The team actually features two players who don’t play in North America, generally not a good sign for the National team. If you were to label the stars of the team, they would most certainly fall on the defensive side of the roster. Jack Johnson, Alex Goligoski and Cam Fowler are the biggest names at the blue line.
As for forwards, the most prolific scorers are Max Pacioretty ad Bobby Ryan of the Montreal Canadiens and Anaheim Ducks, respectively. Other than that, the most recognizable names are Kyle Okposo, Paul Stastny and Justin Abdelkader. It’s a very gritty lineup and probably won’t be the most offensive unit, but may keep their opponents from scoring at will with quality backchecking.
In net, the name that stands out is Jimmy Howard, Abdelkader’s teammate from Detroit. Had they not had Howard, if the Red Wings had stayed in the playoffs, Team USA may have had John Curry spending a great deal of time in net. If you haven’t heard of Curry, it’s because he plays for the Hamburg Freezers. In Germany.
Team USA starts with France on Friday, and will have a chance to gel, but they face an uphill battle at the Worlds this year. Out of circumstance, the country is unable to put it’s best skate forward.
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