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.
Apr 17, 2015, 8:35 PM EDT
“I’m like, Michael, 2016, Rio, 50 free, 100 free, just a relay.”
Apr 17, 2015, 3:06 PM EDT
The finals are at 9 p.m. ET on Universal Sports.
Apr 17, 2015, 11:03 AM EDT
Plushenko wants to compete in a fifth Olympics in 2018.
Apr 17, 2015, 10:29 AM EDT
It took organizers about 20 minutes to figure out what happened Sunday.
Apr 17, 2015, 9:09 AM EDT
“It doesn’t seem like she has served a ban.”
Apr 17, 2015, 8:42 AM EDT
Phelps outdueled Ryan Lochte, but he was slower than last year.
Apr 16, 2015, 3:16 PM EDT
If Phelps is added by FINA, the U.S. might be able to try for podium sweeps at the World Championships.
Apr 16, 2015, 3:15 PM EDT
Phelps and Ryan Lochte appear headed for a showdown Thursday night.
Apr 16, 2015, 11:45 AM EDT
Canada has a shot to qualify for its first Olympics since 2000.
Apr 16, 2015, 11:04 AM EDT
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Apr 16, 2015, 10:03 AM EDT
See Eugene’s bid video for 2019 that failed to get a taste of what Worlds will be like in the U.S.
Apr 15, 2015, 6:50 PM EDT
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Apr 15, 2015, 3:55 PM EDT
Phelps discussed his time away from swimming during his suspension.
Apr 15, 2015, 1:25 PM EDT
The video states that the swimming stadium is 58 percent complete.
Apr 15, 2015, 10:30 AM EDT
The world’s best all-around swimmer competes in Mesa this week.
Apr 14, 2015, 4:57 PM EDT
Armstrong explained her comeback on social media.
Apr 14, 2015, 3:26 PM EDT
There’s Michael Phelps, but also much more.
Apr 14, 2015, 11:48 AM EDT
The blue track is for departures, and the red for arrivals.
Apr 13, 2015, 1:52 PM EDT
A swimmer, a boxer, a triathlete and a gymnast all look unbeatable.
Apr 13, 2015, 11:58 AM EDT
Only one woman is currently doing a triple Axel, and none are doing quads.
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