Thursday, February 13, 2014

First step for USA Hockey at 2014 Olympics was revealing

I don't know if it would be accurate to suggest the United States has been categorized as a longshot in Olympic hockey, but they aren't exactly a favorite. Most forecasters have the USA as a borderline medal contender, with most not having the American on the podium when the dust clears in Sochi.
USA hockey: Terrific start Thursday
I think there is an underestimation of the USA. based on star power at forward, but in truth, the Americans have plenty of firepower. You saw that during the USA's 7-1 rout of Slovakia to open the tournament Thursday. The Americans are bigger and faster than they have ever been throughout their roster. They also have the makings of an excellent top line with Phil Kessel, Joe Pavelski and James van Riemsdyk.
Kessel is second in the NHL in goals with 31, Pavelski fourth with 29 and van Riemsdyk in the Top 20 with 24.
Slovakia was a good first test for the Americans. They aren't a favorite, but have are more used to the bigger Olympic ice surface. It wasn't an issue at all for the Americans. Tomas Tatar and Tomas Jurco were the best players on the ice for Slovokia, which could bode well for the Red Wings immediate future.
The USA is a younger team than it has been during the NHL era of Olympic hockey, but much more athletic. If its opening game is an indication, the Americans could not only medal, but win the entire tournament.
My column - History presents a mixed bag on bearing Olympics will have on Red Wings:


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