Dec 30, 2013, 12:56 PM EDT
It appears the U.S. Olympic men’s hockey team will not include any players with multiple Olympics under their belt for the first time since NHLers were allowed into the Winter Games in 1998.
The 2010 roster, dubbed young and somewhat inexperienced, surprised by winning a silver medal. It beat Canada in preliminary play and nearly did it again in the gold-medal game, falling on Sidney Crosby‘s overtime goal.
The Sochi team is expected to bring back the stars from 2010 — including tournament all-stars goalie Ryan Miller and forward Zach Parise – among as many as 17 players from the 25-man roster (plus two injury replacements) in Vancouver.
The entire squad will be announced at the conclusion of the Winter Classic between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings at The Big House in Ann, Arbor, Mich., on New Year’s Day.
Here are three burning questions going into the announcement:
1. Who will be the No. 3 goalie?
It “looked good” to be Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard, according to a report Sunday citing an unnamed person with “knowledge of the selection process.”
That isn’t concrete at all but must be noted. Howard is thought to be in the running for the spot with the Lightning’s Ben Bishop and the Devils’ Cory Schneider. He was expected to return to game action Monday after not playing since Dec. 10 due to a knee injury.
2010 Olympic goalies Jonathan Quick and Miller are expected to be the top two, in some order. The third goalie from the 2010 Olympic team, Tim Thomas, is considered a longshot at age 39.
Bishop is the hot hand choice. He leads all American NHL goalies in goals-against average and save percentage this season and was the backup to John Gibson on the 2013 World Championships team that won bronze.
Howard started at the 2012 World Championships, where the U.S. was eliminated in the quarterfinals.
Bishop or Schneider, both 27, would also be preferable to Howard, 29, if age plays a factor. A third goalie usually only sees time in the case of disastrous showings and is a good use of a roster spot for a player to get the “Olympic experience.”
Quick was the third goalie in 2010 at age 24.
2. Do promising teens Seth Jones and Alex Galchenyuk have a shot?
The outlook is not good for either. Jones or Galchenyuk, both 19, would be the youngest U.S. Olympic men’s hockey players since 1992.
Jones, the Predators defenseman and son of retired NBA player Popeye Jones, has seen his ice time dip from 25 minutes per game in October to 22 minutes in November and 15 in December. Keep in mind, though, that Jones plays for U.S. Olympic general manager David Poile in Nashville.
Galchenyuk, the Canadiens forward and son of a 1998 Belarusian Olympic hockey player, scored 10 goals with 12 assists in his first 40 games this season. The 22 points ranked third on the Canadiens despite playing 15 minutes per game.
His statistics give him a better chance than Jones, but the U.S. has plenty of experienced and capable forwards at its disposal. It might simply be a case of not enough room for the young Galchenyuk.
3. Who else is on the roster bubble?
The U.S. is expected to go with 14 forwards and eight defensemen with the former presenting a clearer picture two days before the roster announcement.
It would be surprising to see any of these nine forwards from the 2010 Olympic team not make the cut — David Backes, Dustin Brown, Patrick Kane, Ryan Kesler, Phil Kessel, Zach Parise, Joe Pavelski, Bobby Ryan and Paul Stastny.
Another 2010 Olympian, Ryan Callahan, is a little bit of a question mark with an MCL sprain that’s kept him out since Dec. 10. He’s hopeful of a mid-January return.
T.J. Oshie, Max Pacioretty and James van Riemsdyk are the leading newcomers. The real questions come from other would-be rookie Olympians, a list that includes but is not limited to Kyle Okposo, Brandon Saad, Derek Stepan and Blake Wheeler.
Questions abound on defense, where perhaps only Ryan McDonagh, Kevin Shattenkirk and Ryan Suter are safe selections at this point.
How valuable is Dustin Byfuglien‘s versatility? What is the importance of Jack Johnson‘s experience with USA Hockey? What about Paul Martin (out since Nov. 25 with a fractured tibia) and Brooks Orpik (back after missing three weeks with a concussion), who play for U.S. Olympic coach Dan Bylsma on the Penguins?
No matter the roster, perhaps only Canada will have greater overall talent than the U.S. Hockey Canada will announce its team on Jan. 7.
Jul 28, 2014, 8:55 PM EDT
Athletes found safe in Beaverton, Ore., after going missing in Eugene.
Jul 28, 2014, 11:01 AM EDT
Nanjing Games open Aug. 16.
Jul 28, 2014, 10:39 AM EDT
Retired Olympic champion took part in Korea Skating Union workshop, according to South Korean media.
Jul 28, 2014, 10:19 AM EDT
Lawrence won gold on the U.S. 4x400m relay team at the 2014 IAAF World Relays.
Jul 28, 2014, 9:32 AM EDT
Neymar played in 2012, but there’s a new obstacle that could keep him out of 2016.
Jul 27, 2014, 6:46 PM EDT
Kerri Walsh Jennings notched a milestone victory.
Jul 27, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT
Search and rescue crews were on the lookout for Jared Pikus and his three children.
Jul 27, 2014, 3:00 PM EDT
Kerri Walsh Jennings can hit another career milestone.
Jul 26, 2014, 5:24 PM EDT
U.S. Olympic medalists will face Spanish or Brazilian pair Sunday on NBC.
Jul 26, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT
Three-time Olympic champion Kerri Walsh Jennings in biggest tournament of 2014 in U.S.
Jul 26, 2014, 10:17 AM EDT
Bolt will make a rare appearance in the heats of a 4x100m relay at Commonwealth Games.
Jul 26, 2014, 9:02 AM EDT
Beijing gold medalist slated for first bout in August.
Jul 25, 2014, 4:07 PM EDT
USOC met with representatives from four finalist cities this week.
Jul 25, 2014, 3:47 PM EDT
Bahrain runner listed with 1996 birthday may have been born in 1990.
Jul 25, 2014, 2:24 PM EDT
A step forward as skateboarding seeks Olympic inclusion.
Jul 25, 2014, 11:36 AM EDT
Brit can make Olympic history on the track in 2016.
Jul 25, 2014, 10:07 AM EDT
Cain emerged from being boxed in to beat Kenyans.
Jul 24, 2014, 4:57 PM EDT
How it impacts the U.S. and potential Olympic history for Missy Franklin.
Jul 24, 2014, 2:22 PM EDT
U.S. pair is top seed at biggest tournament in the U.S. this year.
Jul 24, 2014, 11:48 AM EDT
Moment of silence also held.
- U.S. 400m runner Torrin Lawrence dies in car accident 0
- Brazil’s Olympic coach wants Neymar to play at Rio 2016 0
- U.S. teams sweep World Series of Beach Volleyball (video) 0
- UPDATE: Noelle Pikus-Pace’s brother and his children found in Idaho 0
- Kerri Walsh Jennings, April Ross make WSOBV final 0
- Usain Bolt arrives in Glasgow, says he’s injury free 0
- Queen photobombs Commonwealth Games athlete selfie 0
- Emotional Bode Miller medals in race that mattered most (61)
- Russian women kissing after relay victory at World Championships causes stir (56)
- IOC drops wrestling from 2020 Olympics (47)
- South Korea filing official complaint over Yuna Kim’s Olympic silver (38)
- Zola Budd, 47, dominates college runners in 5K (33)