U.S. Olympic men's hockey roster loaded with talent
Group includes 5 players from Canadian NHL teams
The United States have unveiled the lineup that will shoot for the country's first medal Olympic gold medal in men's hockey in 34 years.
The 25-man roster for the Sochi Olympics was announced after the Winter Classic on Wednesday in Ann Arbor, Mich.
The Americans will be led up front by Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane, whose 53 points rank second in the NHL to only Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Players from Canadian teams are well represented in the forward corps, including Toronto Maple Leafs sniper Phil Kessel and his teammate James van Riemsdyk, two-way threat Ryan Kesler of the Vancouver Canucks, and the reliable Max Pacioretty of the Montreal Canadiens.
The defence crew includes several players making their Olympic debut for the Americans, including John Carlson of the Washington Capitals, Justin Faulk of the Carolina Hurricanes, Cam Fowler of the Anaheim Ducks, and Ryan McDonagh of the New York Rangers. The blue-line groups also includes returning players Ryan Suter of the Minnesota Wild, as well as Pittsburgh defencemen Paul Martin and Brooks Orpik.
In net, there were no surprises. The trio features arguably the top goalie in the NHL this season, Ryan Miller of the Buffalo Sabres, along with 2012 Conn Smythe winner Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings and Jimmy Howard of the Detroit Red Wings.
Miller starred for the runner-up U.S. squad at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics in the gold medal overtime final, after beating Canada earlier in the tournament.
The Sochi roster was assembled by a USA Hockey management group led by Nashville Predators general manager David Poile, with assistance from Pittsburgh Penguins GM Ray Shero and Calgary Flames president of hockey operations Brian Burke.
"We're fortunate to have probably the deepest talent pool we've ever had in our country and that made for some very difficult decisions," said Poile.
Penguins coach Dan Bylsma will be behind the bench for the United States.
In a press release, USA Hockey said the captain would be considered from a group consisting of Suter and forwards David Backes, Dustin Brown, Ryan Callahan, and Zach Parise.
Among the players left out were Ottawa's leading goal scorer Bobby Ryan, as well as Winnipeg blue-liner Dustin Byfuglien, and defencemen Jack Johnson, Erik Johnson and Keith Yandle.
The state of Minnesota is home to the most players, with eight. There are five skaters who play on Canadian NHL teams, compared to just two the last time around, and none at all for the 2006 Winter Games. The average age of the team is 27 years old.
In addition to 2010, the U.S. also took silver in a loss to Canada in 2002 at Salt Lake City, but have finished off the podium the two occasions NHL players have participated en masse in Olympics outside of North America.
The Americans famously won both of their Olympic men's hockey gold medals on home ice in upsets fashioned in 1960 and 1980.
The U.S. will begin Group A play in Sochi against Slovakia on Feb. 13, followed by games against Russia (Feb. 15) and Slovenia (Feb. 16).
Canada will announce its men's roster on Jan. 7 at 12 p.m. ET. The other projected Olympic contenders are also expected to announce their national rosters next week.
U.S. men's hockey roster:
- Jimmy Howard, 29, G, Syracuse, N.Y., Detroit Red Wings
- Ryan Miller, 32, G, East Lansing, Mich., Buffalo Sabres
- Jonathan Quick, 27, G, Hamden, Conn., Los Angeles Kings
- John Carlson, 23, D, Natick Mass., Washington Capitals
- Justin Faulk, 21, D, St. Paul, Minn., Carolina Hurricanes
- Cam Fowler, 22, D, Farmington Hills, Mich., Anaheim Ducks
- Paul Martin, 32, D, Elk River, Minn., Pittsburgh Penguins
- Ryan McDonagh, 24, D, St. Paul, Minn., New York Rangers
- Brooks Orpik, 32, D, Amherst, N.Y., Pittsburgh Penguins
- Kevin Shattenkirk, 24, D, Greenwich, Conn., St. Louis Blues
- Ryan Suter, 28, D, Madison, Wis., Minnesota Wild
- David Backes, 28, F, Minneapolis, St. Louis Blues
- Dustin Brown, 28, F, Ithaca, N.Y., Los Angeles Kings
- Ryan Callahan, 27, F, Rochester, N.Y., New York Rangers
- Patrick Kane, 24, F, Buffalo, Chicago Blackhawks
- Phil Kessel, 25, F, Madison, Wisc., Toronto Maple Leafs
- Ryan Kesler, 29, F, Livonia, Mich., Vancouver Canucks
- T.J. Oshie, 26, F, Rarwick, Minn., St. Louis Blues
- Max Pacioretty, 24, F, New Canaan, Conn., Montreal Canadiens
- Zach Parise, 28, F, Minneapolis, Minnesota Wild
- Joe Pavelski, 28, F, Plover, Wisc., San Jose Sharks
- Paul Stastny, 28, F, St. Louis, Colorado Avalanche
- Derek Stepan, 23, F, Hastings, Minn., New York Rangers
- James van Riemsdyk, 24, F, Middletown, N.Y., Toronto Maple Leafs
- Blake Wheeler, 26, F, Robbinsdale, Minn., Winnipeg Jets
Also named to 2010 team (13): Ryan Miller, Jon Quick, Dustin Brown, David Backes, Patrick Kane, Phil Kessel, Ryan Kesler, Zach Parise, Joe Pavelski, Ryan Callahan, Paul Stastny, Ryan Suter, Brooks Orpik.
Also named to 2006 team (1): Paul Martin.
Olympic debut (11): Jimmy Howard, John Carlson, Justin Faulk, Cam Fowler, Ryan McDonagh, Kevin Shattenkirk, T.J. Oshie, Max Pacioretty, Derek Stepan, James van Riemsdyk, Blake Wheeler.