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Continued: Underdog days are over for U.S. men's hockey

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Last update: February 2, 2014 - 8:15 AM

There are gamebreakers in Kane and Toronto’s Phil Kessel, quality two-way players such as Vancouver’s Ryan Kesler and St. Louis’ T.J. Oshie and some big, aggressive players who can score, such as Montreal’s Max Pacioretty and Toronto’s James van Riemsdyk.

“You look at this team, it’s not a team that will overwhelm opponents with star power or skill,” Bylsma said. “This is a team. This is a group of guys — a lot of leaders, a lot of role players, a lot of grit, a lot of character.”

It took a while for the 2010 disappointment of not winning gold to wear off for Parise. He has made it clear the Americans are going to Russia determined to win it all.

“I’ve been either fortunate or unfortunate to lose in both finals [Stanley Cup and gold medal game],” Parise said. “You grow up and you dream about winning the Stanley Cup, not so much about the Olympic gold. Once you experience it and play for the national team, you see what it signifies for the country.

“[In 2010], we just found ourselves a tough team to play. We really played for each other, and I don’t think we really knew what we were capable of accomplishing. We found some good goaltending, and the next thing we knew we were in the gold medal game. Hopefully, this time around, we’ll give ourselves another chance to play in that game.”

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  • 2010 thriller U.S. players, from left, Jamie Langenbrunner, Zach Parise, Ryan Suter, Erik Johnson and Brian Rafalski celebrated after Parise’s goal forced overtime against Canada in the Vancouver Olympics.File photo by Mark Humphrey •Associated Press

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