Team USA has the lineup set for their opening match-up against Slovakia (7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN) and Derek Stepan, Justin Faulk, and Jimmy Howard won’t be on it.
Those three players will be scratched for the first game of the tournament. Blake Wheeler beat out Stepan as the extra forward and Brooks Orpik edged out Faulk on the blue line. As you heard earlier today, Jonathan Quick will start in goal and Ryan Miller will back him up.
As for the line combinations coach Dan Bylsma will use, here they are according to USA Hockey.
Zach Parise – David Backes – Ryan Callahan
Dustin Brown – Ryan Kesler – Patrick Kane
James van Riemsdyk – Joe Pavelski – Phil Kessel
Max Pacioretty – Paul Stastny – T.J. Oshie
Ryan Suter – Paul Martin
Cam Fowler – John Carlson
Ryan McDonagh – Kevin Shattenkirk
Scratches: Derek Stepan, Justin Faulk, Jimmy Howard
If there’s anything Team USA Director of Player Personnel Brian Burke isn’t afraid to do, it’s saying what he believes.
Burke, when talking about what he expects from Team USA in Sochi says he expects nothing but the best. Chuck Gormley of CSNWashington.com shares the story.
“I know we’re at the point that if we enter any tournament wearing a USA jersey we expect to win,” said Burke. “I think that’s where our program is now. Whether we go in as a favorites doesn’t matter to me. All I care about, and all our players and management care about, is that we expect to win and we plan to do that.”
Burke pulled a page out of Surly of The Seven Duffs playbook saying he only cares about Team USA. Getting concerned about what other teams can do is a losing battle since that can’t be controlled.
After seeing the United States get to the gold medal game twice in the past three Olympics, however, those expectations of winning aren’t out of line.
Marc-Edouard Vlasic is participating in his first Olympic Games for Canada and he’s not looking to steal the show.
Vlasic has been paired up with Kings defenseman Drew Doughty during practices ahead of the start of play on Thursday and, as Arpon Basu of NHL.com shares, he just wants to go out and do his job and not become more famous because of it.
“I’m a quiet guy. I just do what I do on the ice,” Vlasic said. “Other than that, as long as your peers and coaches know you, to me that’s what’s most important.”
Vlasic also added he just wants to do what he’s been doing for the past four seasons and that means playing strong defense. He has four goals and 18 points this season for the San Jose Sharks so he can pitch in offensively, but with Doughty manning the other side his job is to stay back.