As I wrote in an earlier blog post, USA Hockey has been busy putting together the Men’s Team for the 2011 World Championship in Slovakia. Today they’ve announced the initial 16 players that have committed to play and to be honest not many names excite me (link to announcement). However, the U.S. talent pool isn’t exactly rich right now since most of the big names, including those that played on the 2010 Silver medal winning Olympic team, are currently tied up in the NHL playoffs. My personal fear is this team, as it looks now, wont be able to score enough goals to compete and finish in the top 4. There isn’t one NHL 20 goal scorer on the current roster and the closest player to it is Atlanta’s Blake Wheeler, who had 18 goals this past season. I do like the fact that the recent Hobey Baker award winner Andy Miele is getting a chance to play for his country and this tournament should be a great experience for him and his career. Other notable players announced to represent Team USA were: Mike Komisarek, Kevin Shattenkirk, Mark Stuart, Jack Skille, Chris Porter and Mike Brown. In the American net so far, is Al Montoya and veteran Ty Conklin.
I’m still hoping that a big name or two accepts the invitation to play, maybe some key guys will become available after the 1st round of the NHL playoffs. Cause compared to a few other team’s commitments, Canada (Rick Nash), Russia (Ilya Kovalchuk) and Sweden (Loui Eriksson), the U.S. seems to be missing that big name game changer.
Here’s the U.S. roster as of 4/26/11.
Three additional players added as of 4/15/11: Jake Gardiner, Clay Wilson & Craig Smith. Here’s USA Hockey’s announcement. This team will have a difficult task ahead of them in Slovakia.
As of 4/26/11, Cam Fowler of the Anaheim Ducks, Derek Stepan and Ryan McDonagh of the New York Rangers have been added to the U.S. roster. (via Kevin Allen of the USA TODAY)