Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Team USA Hockey Invites 48 Players to Camp

Tim Thomas was not one of the 6 goalies invited to Team USA's camp. Jonathan Quick, Jimmy Howard, Ryan Miller, Cory Schneider, Craig Anderson, and 20-year old Josh Gibson were the netminders invited. Gibson was the MVP of the 2013 World Juniors, leading the US to a gold medal.

No Bruins were invited. Which isn't much of a surprise since Torey Krug was the only American on their roster last year. Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and Milan Lucic were invited to Canada's camp. Claude Julien will be an assistant coach for Team Canada.

Two players from Massachusetts will participate in the US's camp: the aforementioned Cory Schneider from Marblehead, and Keith Yandle from Boston.

Other New England natives involved will be Jonathan Quick from Milford, CT (he also went to UMass), defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk from Greenwich, CT (also went to BU, also has the best last name ever), and forward Max Pacioretty from New Canaan, CT. That's right, the Montreal Canadiens are more American than the Boston Bruins. The Habs have two invitees to the camp.

As you'd expect, there are some great players on the team. The question is will they be great enough to match the likes of Canada and Russia. With Quick and/or Miller in net, anything is possible. Then there's some talented forwards like Phil Kessel, Patrick Kane, Dustin Brown, and Bobby Ryan that will be relied on for the scoring.

Unfortunately, the US's talent isn't as deep as Canada's (Bergeron, Crosby, Toews, Sharp, Green, Subban, Weber, Letang, Nash, St. Louis, Stamkos, Staal, Staal, and Staal) nor is it as strong at the top as Russia's (Malkin, Datsyuk, and Ovechkin).

So goaltending will have to be the difference for the US to win. Relatively speaking, Canada's goaltending isn't that good. They invited Corey Crawford, Roberto Luongo, Braden Holtby, Carey Price, and Mike Smith. Russia, on the other hand, has Vezina winner Sergei Bobrovsky.

Then there's Sweden, who will have Henrik Lundqvist. And Finland will probably start Tuukka Rask or Antti Niemi.

So Canada has the most talented skaters, but some questionable goaltenders. Russia has a goalie, and some studs, then a lot of guys you've never heard of. USA has goaltending, and some solid players, but not the firepower that Canada has. And Finland gets to choose between a Vezina finalist (Niemi) and a Conn Smythe contender (Rask).

Plus there's Sweden, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic.

This should be a good tournament.

Full Team USA invitees

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