Unproven Team USA can mix it up
NBC is set to carry the Olympic hockey tournament, but it might want to shift Team USA's games to Nickelodeon.
But while some may see this roster as a springboard for the 2014 Games in Sochi, Russia, Burke says the team was pieced together to win now. As the 1980 Miracle On Ice and '96 World Cup proved, a gritty American squad, backed by otherworldly goaltending, can take the podium. And if this team has a defining characteristic, it would be game-stealing ability between the pipes.
The lack of high-end depth is evident in a forward corps that has skill and sandpaper, but not enough players who bring both qualities to the table. As a group, the top six of
The remaining forwards skew more closely to the the Burke-ian prototype, armed with size and snarl, if not an abundance of pop. American coach
Despite being largely ineffective for lengthy stretches this season, Drury will fill the role of veteran leadership. The Rangers center beat out
While there are questions up front, there's clear vulnerability on the blue line. Rafalski will be the steady veteran and the team's best puck mover.
There may be some consternation over Burke's decision to take
But the fact that either of them were in the mix illustrates the lack of depth at the position. Where there were probably protracted arguments before forwards such as
In the end, Burke assembled a team that should put on a good show. It may not, as he's often said, generate a penny's wager in Vegas, but it looks like the sort of energetic and entertaining squad that only needs a break or two along the way to wreak some havoc in Vancouver.