Friday, December 23, 2005

US Hockey...It's Sad This is the Best We've Got

I don't like our team all that much. I think we're really shaky in net (any of the 3 goalies for Canada could start for our team uncontested). DiPietro is gonna be a good goalie, but he's really not off to a good start this year. The guy they were hyping up before the year (Conklin) has been so bad this year they didn't take him. And Esche has been banged up.

Our defense is pretty good, but there's no way Derian Hatcher should be on that team. Not because I don't think he's a good player, but because they play on ice that's a lot bigger than the NHL sized rinks and slow defensemen are going to be a liability out there. And Derian has never been accused of having any speed. By the same token, I'm not sure how well Chelios is going to do on the big ice, but he's probably the captain so they'd have a hard time leaving him off...

Up front, I can't believe they didn't put Roenick on the team (though he might not have played anyway since he's hurt now...and he's kind of a dick). Apart from Modano though, there's not a real elite talent at forward. Tkachuk has been injured, Weight's been injured. Gionta's having a great year, but I don't know if you can have your go-to-guy be 5 foot 6. They've got a bunch of really nice 3rd line players and role players, but they just don't have the top-notch talent that I think is going to get it done. Who's going to put the puck in the net on this team?

At this point, I'd be very surprised if we even medal. Though re-enforcements are coming. By 2010/2014 you're going to see a much better Team USA, once some of these Americans who have been playing for the US Junior team get old enough to play. Montoya, Howard, Ryan Miller in net, Phil Kessel, Jack Johnson, Jack Skille, Peter Mueller, Erik Johnson. Those are all really high end players that just don't have the experience. Yet.

The World Junior Championships is just getting going, and the US is heavy favorites for the first time ever (we won in an upset a couple years ago). That bodes well for the future of US hockey. But when Lake Superior State is the best represented college on the USA team, you know that your guys are getting up there in years.

Canada's team is just sick. I really think they could make 2 or 3 teams capable of winning a goal medal. When you're leaving guys like Crosby, Shanahan, Belfour, Joseph off the team, you know your country is pretty darn good.

Nice to see a lot of Wings on rosters again, though I don't know how for the life of me Shanahan and Holmstrom didn't get selected. I still can't believe Mikael Samuelsson is off to the start that he's off to. What a great find by Ken Holland (See, I can give him credit).

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