USA Hockey 2014 Olympic Portraits

Here is your 2014 United States men’s Olympic roster


USA Hockey has announced its roster for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Without further ado, here it is:

Forwards (14): David Backes, Dustin Brown, Ryan Callahan, Patrick Kane, Ryan Kesler, Phil Kessel, T.J. Oshie, Max Pacioretty, Zach Parise, Joe Pavelski, Paul Stastny, Derek Stepan, James van Riemsdyk, Blake Wheeler

Defensemen (8): John Carlson, Justin Faulk, Cam Fowler, Paul Martin, Ryan McDonagh, Brooks Orpik, Kevin Shattenkirk, Ryan Suter

Goalies (3): Jimmy Howard, Ryan Miller, Jonathan Quick

Some quick thoughts before general manager David Poile meets with the media in Ann Arbor:

— Like they did in 2010 when they won silver, the Americans will boast a lot of speed. And on the big ice in Sochi, that could be even more of an advantage than it was in Vancouver, where the ice was NHL-sized.

— Assuming he stays healthy and his play doesn’t fall off dramatically in the next month, Miller should be the starting goalie. He’s been excellent in Buffalo this season, and he was outstanding in Vancouver four years ago. Those factors should give him the edge over Quick, who hasn’t played since Nov. 12 due to a strained groin.

— If there’s a weakness compared to gold-medal favorite Canada, it may be the blue line. Suter is the only Norris Trophy candidate. The other seven are all good, obviously, but they’d be hard-pressed to make the Canadian squad.

As for the players who were passed over (a.k.a. snubs), click here to read about Bobby Ryan et al.

The U.S. plays its first game on Feb. 13 versus Slovakia.

Related: U.S. Olympic women’s hockey team roster marked by youth

Diaz could leave Rangers for Europe

Raphael Diaz, Mike Sislo
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Could Raphael Diaz be on his way back to Switzerland?

We’ll know in a month.

Diaz, who lost out on the Rangers’ final blueline spot in training camp, has reported to the club’s AHL affiliate in Hartford but doesn’t seem pleased with his current situation, per the Post:

The 29-year-old Diaz, who cleared waivers last Saturday after the Blueshirts opted to keep rookie Dylan McIlrath as the club’s seventh on the blue line, is interested in the European option if he is not in the NHL.

The Blueshirts have told Diaz they will revisit the situation at the end of October, but have not promised to release him or assign him to a European team at that point.

If Diaz, a Swiss native who represented Switzerland in the 2014 Olympics, does play in Europe during the season, he would have to go through waivers in order to return to the NHL.

Diaz’s agent, Ritch Winter, told the Post that Diaz signed a one-year, $700,000 deal with the Rangers “to play with the Rangers.”

And it’s understandable if Diaz — a journeyman offensive defenseman — isn’t happy with this situation.

While some believe McIlrath earned his roster spot on merit, some think it’s because of his contract status. McIlrath, who’s only 23 and a former first-round pick, would’ve needed to clear waivers to go back to Hartford, and it’s believed he would’ve been claimed by another club.

Canucks say Markstrom (hamstring) out another week — could it be longer?

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Bit of uncertainty out of Vancouver regarding the health of backup goalie Jacob Markstrom.

Markstrom, a late drop from the Canucks’ 5-1 opening-night win over Calgary, has suffered a hamstring injury that will keep him sidelined for another week, the club announced on Thursday.

With Markstrom out, backup duties will stay with AHL call-up Richard Bachman, who served as Ryan Miller‘s No. 2 on Wednesday.

Now, the focus turns to how long Bachman keeps those duties.

Per a Sportsnet report, Markstrom could miss up to three weeks of action with his injury. If that’s the case, Bachman will almost certainly be called into action; the Canucks will play eight games in 17 nights starting with Saturday’s home-opener against the Flames, which includes back-to-backs in Los Angeles and Anaheim on Oct. 12 and 13.

It would be asking a lot of the No. 1, 35-year-old Ryan Miller, to shoulder that entire load.

Bachman does have some NHL experience, with nearly 50 games to his credit. That includes a 3-2-0 record with the Oilers last year, in which he posted a 2.84 GAA and .911 save percentage.