Archive for World Cup of Hockey
There was so much promise when the World Cup of Hockey was announced. The first time in 12 years, and we’d get to see Team USA again, hopefully with a better ending than the 2010 Olympics. But then the little things started creeping up on Team USA.
First it was the announcement that no players under 23 would be on Team USA. No, they’d be on Team North America. A great idea, but one that cost Team USA players like Seth Jones, Shayne Gostisbehere, and Jacob Trouba on defense. Jack Eichel and Johnny Gaudreau were lost at forward as well. You can make the argument that some weren’t going to make Team USA regardless, but a more new-age thinking shows it could have been different.
The World Cup of Hockey has finally started its official matchups, and Team USA and Europe had the distinct privilege of being the ones to open the tournament. Things didn’t go exactly as planned for the United States however, with the squad falling losing in a 3-0 shutout despite lofty expectations and a relatively easy opponent.
While Team USA tried to play a hard hitting, gritty game to take control of the action, Europe’s patience and playmaking paid off, taking away space from the Americans and setting up multiple odd-man situations. This provided something of an upset for the Europeans, and gives Team USA an uphill battle going forward as they look ahead to Canada and the Czech Republic.
Europe 1 USA 0
Well it’s almost time for the World Cup. It’s the first time the tournament has run since 2004 when Canada won it all. Team USA won the inaugural World Cup in 1996 on the back of Mike Richter, who was phenomenal in that tournament. The preseason games have been chippy, which is a welcome sight. Many were concerned that the players would gloss over this. That doesn’t appear to be the case. With real games starting soon, all eyes will be on this tournament.
- Team USA has surprised a few in the exhibition games, beating Canada (once in two games) and Finland, finishing the pre-tournament schedule with a 2-1 record. Most, including myself, expect Team USA to struggle due to a lack of scoring depth. That may still be the case, but for now, they are hanging in there.
- Team North America is fun to watch. They steamrolled Team Europe twice, and have one more exhibition game to go. They could surprise people in this tournament. Assuming they beat Finland in round robin play, a surprise win against Russia may not be that much of a surprise, launching them to the single elimination tournament.
The World Cup games are underway, even if it’s just pre-tournament games. There is finally some hockey on TV, which is always good. But the World Cup is drawing some negative attention from people who want it to fail. I see that point. So here are some musings on why I’m excited, and why I’m not, for the World Cup of Hockey.
Why I’m Excited
1.International hockey is always fun for me. It’s exciting to see players outside of their club situations, and the selection of players on each team means that each night is going to be filled with great hockey. There’s rich opportunity for compelling narrative too – will Canada continue their dominance in international hockey or will a team like North America make a splash? It’s just a great opportunity for great players to showcase their talents and hopefully bring glory to their country in the name of sport.
It’s September, and while the NHL regular season is still somewhat far off, hockey is just around the corner. With the return of the World Cup of Hockey, fans will have some solid hockey to sate their appetites before things really get underway for the club teams in October. Although Becky has already weighed in with a great preview of the general action, I figured I’d do a deep dive into Team Sweden for a couple of reasons. The first is because our very own King, Henrik Lundqvist, is the team’s biggest star, and second is that I’m high on this team’s roster and think they’re my favorite to win it all (with North America being my dark horse pick).
Let’s start with the forwards. Some disappointing news came recently when it was announced that Henrik Zetterberg, a veteran of the squad, would be unable to play, but Mikael Backlund should prove to be a serviceable replacement. Along similar lines, Alex Steen, a highly effective two-way forward, will be replaced by Rickard Rakell, who is also more than capable of filling Steen’s shoes. From there, although there’s no real superstars (except for maybe Nicklas Backstrom) on the front end there are plenty of quality players ready to make a splash on the big stage. Recent Stanley Cup winner and former New York Ranger fan favorite Carl Hagelin’s on the team, as are the likes of Filip Forsberg, Patric Hornqvist, and Gabe Landeskog. All in all, while the team lacks the offensive firepower of say Canada, they should be able to put up points effectively, especially with the defense chipping in as well.
In addition to Henrik Lundqvist being tapped for Team Sweden yesterday, four other Rangers made the preliminary rosters for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. As expected, Derek Stepan and Ryan McDonagh made Team USA, and Mats Zuccarello was added to Team Europe. J.T. Miller was the surprise, being selected for the U24 (23 and under) team.
I was a little surprised that Rick Nash wasn’t pegged for Team Canada. He may still get added to the roster when they are finalized.
The 2016 World Cup of Hockey rosters are being released today. Team Sweden was the first team to name a Rangers player to the team, with Henrik Lundqvist slated to be the starting goaltender. This comes as no surprise to anyone.
Russia, Finland, and Czech Republic released their rosters today, which did not contain any Rangers. This also should not surprise anyone.
It is expected that Team USA will have a bunch of Rangers named.
Per Frank Seravalli, ex-Ranger head coach John Tortorella will be named as the head coach for Team USA for the World Cup of Hockey. Torts was fired by the Rangers after a disappointing playoff run in 2013, and was replaced by Alain Vigneault. Torts landed with the Canucks, but was fired after one season.