2014 U.S. Roster: Shades of 1980?

Tom Kelly, Sports Writer

Ever since it was announced on New Year’s Day, the 2014 Men’s United States Olympic Hockey team roster has received ridiculous criticism regarding lack offense.

The common argument with people is mostly the snub of Bobby Ryan along with some other players who didn’t make the cut.  (Torey Krug and Dustin Byfuglien)  But people: THESE PLAYERS DID NOT MAKE THE BECAUSE THEY CANNOT PLAY ANY SHRED OF DEFENSE!!!

You have no idea how many times I have had to say that.

For years now, USA hockey has prided itself on building its teams around strong defense and team chemistry.  Which brings us to 1980…

Let me tell you, this year’s Olympic hockey team is following the blueprint of the “Miracle On Ice” roster.  In other words, they didn’t just skim a stat sheet and choose the “best” players.  Instead, they chose the right ones.  The players with the most chemistry.  The players who have the most experience playing alongside one another.

Think about it, in 1980 the US had guys like Mike Eruzione and Eric Strobel, who played together at BU.  Another chemistry duo would be Bill Baker and Bob Suter from Minnesota on the blue line.  The list goes on and on.

soviet-goalie

The 2014 team has guys like David Backes and T.J. Oshie from the St Louis Blues, Ryan Callahan and Derek Stepan from the New York Rangers, Brooks Orpik and Paul Martin from the Pittsburgh Penguins, and James van Riemsdyk and Phil Kessel from the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Once again, not the best players, but the right ones.  Since these players have plenty of experience playing with each other in the NHL, they don’t need much practice to figure out where each other will be on the ice.  They will be already be in sync, and that’s really important given the short practice schedule.  This is also why just throwing together the top 25 from the nation is a horrible idea.  They won’t be in sync at all because they don’t have any experience playing with each other and all you’re left with is a mess.

team-usa-hockey-vancouver-olympics-2010

Considering the fact that the US has not won a gold medal since the “Miracle On Ice,” I think this roster is absolutely an absolutely brilliant step in the right direction to recapture the gold.  This winter in Sochi, the US will prove once again that chemistry, defense, and creativity will always triumph over just talent alone.   Somewhere, I guarantee you Herb Brooks is smiling

Will the US win gold?

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