Michael Russo's Sunday Insider: The likely U.S. Olympic team

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 29, 2013 - 8:49 AM

The announcement is scheduled for New Year’s Day.

hide

Zach Parise was congratulated after scoring a goal against Switzerland at the Vancouver Olympics in 2010. The Wild star is a lock to be back on Team USA in Sochi.

Photo: Julie Jacobson, Associated Press - Ap

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

On Wednesday, after the Winter Classic between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs, the United States’ hierarchy, led by General Manager David Poile, will unveil the list of 25 players live on NBC who will represent the red, white and blue in Sochi.

It’s a good thing the USA’s first game at the Winter Olympics isn’t until Feb. 13 against Slovakia.

Several USA hopefuls, from shoo-ins Zach Parise (Wild), Jonathan Quick (Los Angeles), David Backes (St. Louis) and Ryan Callahan (Rangers) to important Pittsburgh defensemen Brooks Orpik and Paul Martin to hopefuls such as Detroit’s Jimmy Howard and Colorado’s Paul Stastny, have been banged up or are currently sidelined.

All are expected to recover for the Olympics as the USA, guided by Dan Bylsma, aims to medal for the first time overseas with NHLers. In 1998 in Nagano, Japan, the Americans, coached by Ron Wilson, finished fifth. In 2006 in Turin, Italy, the Americans, coached by Peter Laviolette, finished eighth.

But in Salt Lake City in 2002, Herb Brooks coached the Americans to silver, as did Wilson in Vancouver four years ago.

Because the USA seems to struggle on the bigger, Olympic-sized ice sheet compared to the NHL surfaces, Poile and Bylsma have said their management team will analyze the type of player selected. On Wednesday, we’ll get a better sense of what they mean.

Here’s a look at the potential roster:

First, the shoo-ins up front (9): Parise, Backes, Callahan and Los Angeles’ Dustin Brown. They make up four members of the five-player leadership group. Next up: Chicago’s Patrick Kane, Toronto’s Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk, Vancouver’s Ryan Kesler and San Jose’s Joe Pavelski.

The shoo-ins on defense (4): the Wild’s Ryan Suter (fifth member of leadership group); the Rangers’ Ryan McDonagh; Martin; St. Louis’ Kevin Shattenkirk.

The shoo-ins in goal (2): Quick and Buffalo’s Ryan Miller, who backstopped the Americans in Vancouver.

This leaves 10 other players. Here are few of the candidates:

Forward (can choose five): Montreal’s Max Pacioretty had a tremendous month that started with his hat trick against the Wild. Another player who could provide scoring and grit is St. Louis’ T.J. Oshie. The Rangers’ Derek Stepan will likely be there if for no other reason than the Americans aren’t deep up the middle. That’s why Stastny has a shot. Winnipeg’s Blake Wheeler has gotten hot at the perfect time, and Ottawa’s Bobby Ryan represented the U.S. four years ago. The Wild’s Jason Pominville is on the outside. He has 17 goals, but unfortunately he can’t skate with his set-up man, Finn Mikael Granlund. Chicago’s Brandon Saad also has a shot.

Defense (can choose four): On the big ice, you need puck movers, and Anaheim’s dynamic Cam Fowler is the best of the youngsters. Carolina’s Justin Faulk, from South St. Paul, is likely a go. He moves well, sees the ice well, and is a terrific passer. Columbus’ Jack Johnson is likely, if for no other reason than he has worn the Team USA sweater 69 times. If Orpik is healthy, he has an outstanding shot. Bylsma loves him. Other defensemen right there include Washington’s John Carlson; Colorado’s Erik Johnson, who has had a terrific first half; Phoenix’s Keith Yandle; Winnipeg’s Dustin Byfuglien; and if you want a puck mover, Chicago’s Nick Leddy.

Goalie (can choose one): Howard or New Jersey’s Corey Schneider, although Tampa Bay’s Ben Bishop has a shot.

SHORT TAKES

Not even a fruit basket

San Jose GM Doug Wilson was disappointed Los Angeles Kings captain Dustin Brown offered no remorse for his extended knee that left rookie phenom Tomas Hertl with a serious right knee injury.

“When I was a rookie, I was tripped into a net in Hartford by the great Gordie Howe, and injured and carried off the ice,” Wilson told Sharks reporters. “He came in between periods all the way around the rink to make sure I was OK. So, my response to the lack of, maybe, concern towards our player is disappointing.”

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Tennessee 12/18/14 7:25 PM
Jacksonville
Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
Washington
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
Atlanta 6:00 PM
Cleveland
Phoenix 6:00 PM
Charlotte
Dallas 6:30 PM
Detroit
Utah 6:30 PM
Miami
Orlando 6:30 PM
Boston
Brooklyn 7:00 PM
Toronto
Memphis 7:30 PM
San Antonio
Milwaukee 9:00 PM
Portland
Houston 9:30 PM
Denver
Indiana 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
Ottawa 6:00 PM
New Jersey
Boston 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Dallas 9:00 PM
Vancouver
Langston 65 FINAL
North Texas 78
Delaware State 3:00 PM
St Francis-NY
James Madison 6:00 PM
Ball State
SIU Edwardsville 6:00 PM
Campbell
St Francis-PA 6:00 PM
Duquesne
North Florida 6:00 PM
Florida State
Catawba 6:00 PM
George Mason
Ferrum 6:00 PM
High Point
Hampton 6:00 PM
Illinois
Gardner-Webb 6:00 PM
Jacksonville
Longwood 6:00 PM
Miami-Ohio
Arkansas State 6:00 PM
Miss State
Tennessee 6:00 PM
NC State
NC A&T 6:00 PM
Ohio State
Manhattan 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Robert Morris 6:00 PM
Toledo
Char Southern 6:00 PM
Wofford
Kennesaw St 6:00 PM
Youngstown St
Barber-Scotia 6:00 PM
NC Central
Detroit 6:30 PM
UCF
Liberty 6:30 PM
UNC-Wilmington
TX A&M-CC 7:00 PM
Denver
Ark-Pine Bluff 7:00 PM
Houston
UT Martin 7:00 PM
Illinois State
Milligan 7:00 PM
Louisiana
Abilene Christian 7:00 PM
Loyola-Chicago
USC Upstate 7:00 PM
Memphis
Alcorn State 7:00 PM
Murray State
Central Mich 7:00 PM
Northwestern
Georgia State 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
TX-Pan American 7:00 PM
Saint Louis
Ill-Chicago 7:00 PM
SMU
Texas State 7:00 PM
Stephen F Austin
SC State 7:00 PM
Texas Tech
Missouri State 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Chicago State 7:00 PM
Western Ky
Morehead State 7:00 PM
Green Bay
Northern Colorado 7:00 PM
Nebraska Omaha
Winthrop 8:00 PM
Auburn
New Mexico St 8:00 PM
Baylor
San Diego St 8:00 PM
Cincinnati
Eastern Mich 8:00 PM
Michigan State
Loyola Marymount 8:00 PM
Stanford
Incarnate Word 8:00 PM
Grand Canyon
Northeastern 9:00 PM
Cal Poly
Central Arkansas 9:00 PM
New Mexico
Howard 9:00 PM
Pepperdine
Portland 9:30 PM
UNLV
CS-Northridge 10:00 PM
Oregon
Grambling St 10:00 PM
Washington
Nevada 12/20/14 10:00 AM
Louisiana
Utah State 12/20/14 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 12/20/14 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 12/20/14 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 12/20/14 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Western Carolina 79 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 66
(21) Miss State 66 FINAL
Louisiana 51
(25) DePaul 109 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 84
Liberty 64 FINAL
NC State 67
Elon 39 2nd Half
Campbell 24
Akron 3:30 PM
UCF
Richmond 3:30 PM
UNC-Wilmington
Montana 4:00 PM
Seattle
(7) Stanford 5:00 PM
Chattanooga
Florida A&M 5:30 PM
Southern U
Oklahoma 5:30 PM
(13) Duke
Savannah State 5:30 PM
Auburn
Northern Colorado 6:00 PM
South Florida
Youngstown St 6:00 PM
Robert Morris
Siena 6:00 PM
Sacred Heart
Vermont 6:00 PM
St Francis-NY
(1) South Carolina 6:00 PM
Hampton
Fla Gulf Coast 6:00 PM
Bethune-Cookman
Texas Southern 6:00 PM
Houston Baptist
Northwestern 6:00 PM
UNLV
NC A&T 6:00 PM
Appalachian St
NC Central 6:00 PM
Coastal Carolina
Drexel 6:00 PM
Quinnipiac
Cincinnati 6:00 PM
Northern Ky
Alabama State 6:00 PM
Georgia Tech
Morehead St 6:00 PM
USC Upstate
Arkansas State 6:00 PM
Kent State
American Univ 6:00 PM
Manhattan
UNC Greensboro 6:00 PM
St Bonaventure
Arkansas-Monticello 6:30 PM
Northwestern St
Prairie View 6:30 PM
Sam Houston St
McNeese State 7:00 PM
(3) Texas
Yale 7:00 PM
Wagner
Oakland 7:00 PM
TX A&M-CC
Eastern Kentucky 7:00 PM
Alabama A&M
SIU-Edwardsville 7:00 PM
Northern Ill
McMurry 7:00 PM
TX-Arlington
Portland 8:00 PM
Eastern Washington
North Texas 9:00 PM
San Francisco
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who is your favorite pro sports coach in the Twin Cities?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close