by Patrick Hoffman on 01/04/10 at 08:49 PM ET
From friend of the blog Jim Cerny at Rink Rap:
But this group of NHLers representing the United States in February almost has that upstart quality. Gone are most of the old guard, save for the likes of Chris Drury and Brian Rafalski, perhaps. They have been replaced with a very young nucleus that features Patrick Kane, Bobby Ryan, Erik Johnson, Zach Parise, Jack Johnson, Ryan Callahan, and Phil Kessel.
This squad will be a big underdog in Vancouver, but really this is just step one for this group. They have been handed the mantle by Modano’s group and will form the nucleus of future—-if there are future—-US Olympic ice hockey teams.
It is a fresh and exciting time for US hockey. Will they medal in 2010? Likely not. Are they capable of throwing a scare into some teams, and could they pull enough upsets to finish in the Top Three? Absolutely.
The key will be goaltending, really just as it was in 1980 and just as it usually is in any big tournament. I can’t imagine that Ryan Miller (photo above) is not the number one goalie for Team USA. Tim Thomas is the veteran here, the sentimental choice, but Miller may be the hottest goalie in the game today. He gives the US their best shot at a Jim Craig-like performance.
Click here for more thoughts on Team USA.
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
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