The United States set the bar high when they took Team Canada all the way to overtime in the gold medal game of the 2010 Winter Games. In terms of raw star power, they didn’t stack up then and don’t now, but America’s goal was to assemble a squad with a central focus that could work well together.
“When looking at the team we started off by what kind of team we wanted to be and what kind of team we thought we could be,” Bylsma told NHL.com. “Skating and speed [were] at a premium.”
He later added, “We also thought this group of players and this team could be great defensively and great a team as there is in the tournament in shutting [down] and playing defensively.”
That being said, Team USA’s ability to adjust to the bigger ice surface is perhaps the team’s biggest X-Factor. They kept that in mind when selecting their squad, but that doesn’t change the fact that America’s opponents in Group A opponents – Russia, Slovakia, and Slovenia – will all enter the tournament with considerably more experience playing on international ice.
Meanwhile, we’re a little over a month away from America’s Olympic opener.