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What To Expect Out Of The USA Olympic Hockey Team This Year

2017 Deutschland Cup USA v Slovakia Nov 10th

In a perfect world, we’d all be waking up at 5 o’ clock on a cold February morning to watch guys like Auston Matthews, Jack Eichel, Dylan Larkin, Patrick Kane, Johnny Gaudreau, Dustin Byfuglien, Cam Fowler and Zach Werenski playing for the United States at the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. They’d had a 3-headed monster in between the pipes with Corey Schneider, Jonathan Quick and John Gibson. It would be one of the fastest and more skilled US teams assembled in a long time. But as everybody knows by this point, NHL players will not be participating in the Olympics this year.

So with all of those guys out, USA Hockey announced their NHL-less Olympic roster yesterday. There are going to be a few names on this roster that you’ve seen before but there’s also going to be plenty of guys you probably haven’t heard of. So let’s take a look.

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Let’s just do a real quick run for some of these guys to get everybody familiar with the squad, shall we? Starting off with Captain America, Brian Gionta.

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Sure, Gionta may be 38-years-old at this point. But in a tournament that won’t feature any NHL players, it’s huge to have a guy on the roster who has played in over 1000 career NHL games and put up damn near 600 career points. Especially as a guy who is generously listed at 5’7″. Gionta wore the “C” at Boston College. He wore the “C” for the Canadiens. He wore the “C” for the Sabres. He’s the leader this team needs and I know another short leader who once had great success at the international level. Even had a complex named after him.

It’s been a while since we’ve heard the name James Wisniewski but he’ll be leading the defense as one of the few players on the blueline with more than 100 games in the NHL. Wisniewski had a few really nice seasons in Columbus from 2011-15. Once he got traded from Columbus at the Trade Deadline in 2015, he’s kind of disappeared. He’s currently playing in Germany. It’ll be nice to see him get his name back out there probably one last time.

While Gionta and Wisniewski are a couple of the old guys on the team who have already had their time in the NHL, it’ll be the kids like Jordan Greenway and Troy Terry who will be the most exciting to watch this tournament. You might remember both of these guys from winning gold at the World Juniors last year. Greenway was an absolute monster who could murder you with his physical game.

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And then could also produce offensively.

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He currently has 7 goals and 10 assists in 19 games with BU this year. And then, of course, there is Troy Terry who became a household name last year after saucing up the Russians in the semifinal shootout.

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And then saucing up Carter Hart and Team Canada to win Gold in a shootout.

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After the World Juniors, he went on to win the National Championship with Denver and finished his year with 45 points. This year he currently has 25 points in 20 games for the Pios.

A couple of other college kids who will be getting a chance to represent the Red, White & Blue this February–most of you will probably remember Ryan Donato especially if you followed the Bean Pot last year.

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The Harvard kid also scored this beauty against Air Force in the tournament last year.

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So safe to say that he, along with a kid like Troy Terry, will be bringing the speed and dangles to the party. Which will be huge for them when it comes to keeping up with the other teams in this tournament. And one last NCAA kid cracking the roster is defenseman Will Borgen. He’s a Sabres draft pick who is currently playing his junior season at St. Cloud State. He was on the 2016 USA World Juniors team that won bronze.

Bobby Butler had a few stints in the NHL, took a trip over to Russia to play in the KHL last season and is now back in the states playing for the Milwaukee Admirals. If there’s one thing this guy brings to the team, it’s the water works. Here’s an awesome moment he had with his old man when he found out he made the squad.

Mark Arcobello is a name that you’ve probably seen if you kept track of the waiver wires between 2014-16. During that span he played for Edmonton, Nashville, Pittsburgh, Arizona and Toronto. He’s played 139 games and has spent the last 2 seasons putting up over 1 ppg in the Swiss league. Chris Bourque is the son of Ray. Pretty sure all of you have heard of him before even though he’s only played 51 NHL games. But he’s been a beast in the AHL his whole career, putting up 678 career points in 693 career AHL games.

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Ryan Zapolski will be between the pipes for the Americans this year. He played college puck at Mercyhurst. Managed to suit up for 5 different ECHL teams in the span of 2 seasons. And then has spent the last 5 years playing in Finland. He played 3 seasons with Lukko in the Liiga and the last 2 years he’s been with Jokerit in the KHL. Through 32 games this year in the K he has a GAA of 1.68. Considering it doesn’t look like any of those fuckers in Russia ever play defense, being able to keep your GAA under 2 seems impressive as hell.

So those are just a few of the names that you should get yourselves familiar with before the Olympics. I’m sure that other guys on the team will stand out during the tournament but if I’m being totally honest, I just don’t know enough about them right now to actually write anything either informative or funny. So we’ll just wait until they start wrecking shit in South Korea.

But yeah. As you can tell, there’s a really big mix here of guys. Players like Brian Gionta who have spent multiple seasons in the NHL and are now looking to kind of close out their career with a gold. Players like Troy Terry who are still looking to make a real name for themselves and maybe play their way onto another Olympic roster or 2. Players like Ryan Zapolski who probably would never have the opportunity to represent his country at this level if NHL goaltenders were allowed to participate and wants to make the most out of this opportunity. I think the thing that really separates this roster from a Team USA NHL roster is that all of these guys actually have something to play for here. I know the NHL guys love their country and take a ridiculous amount of pride playing in the Olympics. But they’re on that team because they’re the best in the world and they don’t need to prove that to anybody. The guys on the 2018 USA Olympic Hockey Roster? None of them are the best in the world. The majority of them are guys you’ve never heard of before. But they have something to prove, they have something to play for. They know that February 10 – February 25th may be their only chance and they’re looking to make the most of it.

So that’s what I’d say you should expect out of the USA Olympic Hockey Team this year. A bunch of hungry mother fuckers who have something to prove. I don’t care if Team USA went winless in the Deutschland Cup earlier this year against Russia, Slovakia and Germany. That wasn’t the same roster as this one and the Deutschland Cup isn’t anywhere near the same stage as the Olympics. The only question I have for all of you is…. Do You Believe In Miracles?

@BarstoolJordie