Tuesday, 19 June 2018
Latest news
Main » Team North America offers silver lining for USA Hockey

Team North America offers silver lining for USA Hockey

25 September 2016

Sweden won its round-robin opener at the World Cup 2-1 against Russian Federation on Sunday and blanked Finland 2-0 on Wednesday before falling 4-3 in overtime to Team North America on Wednesday.

"Maybe we shouldn't have celly'd that hard".

Even McDavid said he'd prefer to play for Team Canada next time around, even though he'd be under 24 if the next World Cup is in 2020 and would qualify for a North American team in the existing framework.

And now, it's a little greater, because Rielly was mic'd up for his team's final round robin game against Team Sweden - a 4-3 overtime thriller he got an assist in.

Filip Forsberg, Nicklas Backstrom and Patrik Berglund scored for Sweden (2-0-1). Miller has played sparingly for North America, but he could be a valuable depth player for Team USA in the future. "I think we have to respect their forwards".

"I thought that we could be unsafe". The Swedes slowed down the game in the second period but still trailed by a goal; Team North America held a 3-2 lead after two periods.

Sweden knew the North Americans' speed would be a challenge, but the Scandinavians were stunned by just how fast the under-23s played from the opening puck drop.

"We had no choice". However, McLellan said, "We weren't prepared to give them the complete plan".

European captain Anze Kopitar pointed to the second period of the pre-tournament game against Team North America in Montreal as the turning point for the team of players unfamiliar with playing with one another.

First, goaltender John Gibson made a huge save on a Daniel Sedin breakaway that would have ended North America's chances right then and there. "I knew it was going to be a tough game".

In talking about the North America team, Babcock, the ultimate pragmatist as coach, became a fan from the outside.

If Russia emerge triumphant, however, it will be curtains for the valiant effort of the North Americans by virtue of their head-to-head records. He's won a Vezina, he's won the Olympics with us. "Winning two games in this tournament is a big step". Hopefully McDavid's comments help instead of hurt.

Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews may never again line up together wearing the same colours, but if head coach Todd McLellan has his way the concept of Team North America will live on at the World Cup of Hockey. They'll be expected to face Team Canada in a one-and-done semifinal game on Saturday evening, taking on arguably the toughest team in the tournament.

"I think the strength of our game is we can make a team defend (and as a result) they're just not going to have the energy to come up the ice and make any plays on us", said said Tavares.

"I think we can definitely learn (about) being ready when the puck drops, those first 10 minutes were pretty embarrassing from our part", said defenceman Niklas Hjalmarsson.

Nathan MacKinnon scored the victor after back-and-forth 3-on-3 play. All alone, the 2013 No. 1 pick beat Lundqvist top shelf like he has been doing that to goalies for decades.

"I saw everybody putting pressure on me", says Ovechkin, "and I saw Vladdy there". "It was fun, a fun goal". The point Sweden gained by getting to overtime was enough to clinch Group B, setting up an elimination match with Team Europe, who was soundly beaten 4-1 by Group A-winner Canada last night.

Team Russia nearly didn't beat out the young, energetic Team North America for a berth in the World Cup of Hockey semifinals this week, only earning a spot by virtue of a head-to-head tiebreaker. They have the top-three scorers in Jonathan Toews, Matt Duchene and Sidney Crosby.

Everyone from Wayne Gretzky to the most hardened hockey columnists acknowledged that this team of young guns, initially described as a gimmick, turned the World Cup of Hockey into world-class entertainment.

There was a lot to discuss. That's what our players came for.