USA Hockey announces 2018 Olympic men’s, women’s and Paralympic rosters

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NEW YORK — During the second intermission of Monday’s NHL Winter Classic at Citi Field, USA Hockey revealed the final rosters for the Olympic men’s, women’s and Paralympic teams. The men and women will begin their quest for gold in PyeongChang, South Korea beginning Feb. 11. The Paralympic team will play from March 8-18, also in PyeongChang.

The 2018 Olympic men’s tournament will not feature NHL players for the first time since the 1994. After participating in five straight Olympics, the league decided in April not to send its players, forcing USA Hockey to seek out those plying their trade in Europe, the American Hockey League and the collegiate ranks.

Here’s what the men’s roster looks like:

GOALTENDERS
Ryan Zapolski (Jokerit, KHL)
Two other goalies will be announced later this month

DEFENSEMEN
Chad Billins (Linkoping HC, SHL)
Jonathon Blum (Admiral Vladivostok, KHL)
Will Borgen (St. Cloud State University, NCAA)
Matt Gilroy (Jokerit, KHL)
Ryan Gunderson (Brynäs IF, SHL)
Bobby Sanguinetti (HC Lugano, NLA)
Noah Welch (Växjö Lakers, SHL)
James Wisniewski (EC Kassel Huskies, DEL2)

FORWARDS
Mark Arcobello (SC Bern, NLA)
Chris Bourque (Hershey Bears, AHL)
Bobby Butler (Milwaukee Admirals, AHL)
Ryan Donato (Harvard University, NCAA)
Brian Gionta (C)
Jordan Greenway (Boston University, NCAA)
Chad Kolarik (Adler Mannheim, DEL)
Broc Little (HC Davos, NLA)
John McCarthy (San Jose, AHL)
Brian O’Neill (Jokerit, KHL)
Garrett Roe (EV Zug, NLA)
Jim Slater (Fribourg-Gotteron, NLA)
Ryan Stoa (Spartak Moskva, KHL)
Troy Terry (University of Denver, NCAA)

Head Coach: Tony Granato
Assistant Coaches: Keith Allain, Chris Chelios, Ron Rolston, Scott Young

Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

It was 20 years ago that the U.S. women won their only Olympic gold medal during the inaugural tournament. The Americans came close at Sochi 2014 when they were 54 seconds away from winning gold before Marie-Philip Poulin tied the game and later scored the winner in overtime.

The two sides have continued to battle and have met eight times since October with the U.S. claiming victory in the Four Nations Cup championship game and Canada exacting revenge by sweeping a four-game series of exhibitions earlier this month.

Here’s the women’s roster:

GOALTENDERS
Nicole Hensley (Lindenwood University, CHA)
Alex Rigsby (Minnesota Whitecaps)
Maddie Rooney (University of Minnesota Duluth, WCHA)

DEFENSEMEN
Lee Stecklein (University of Minnesota, WCHA)
Cayla Barnes (Boston College, HEA)
Megan Keller (Boston College, HEA)
Kali Flanagan (Boston College, HEA)
Emily Pfalzer (Buffalo Beauts, NWHL)
Kacey Bellamy (Boston Pride, NWHL)
Sidney Morin (MODO Hockey, SWHL)

FORWARDS
Monique Lamoureux-Morando (Minnesota Whitecaps)
Meghan Duggan (Boston Pride, NWHL)
Haley Skarupa (Boston Pride, NWHL)
Kelly Pannek (University of Minnesota, WCHA)
Brianna Decker (Boston Pride, NWHL)
Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson (Minnesota Whitecaps)
Gigi Marvin (Boston Pride, NWHL)
Hannah Brandt (Minnesota Whitecaps)
Hilary Knight (Boston Pride, NWHL)
Dani Cameranesi (University of Minnesota, WCHA)
Kendall Coyne (Minnesota Whitecaps)
Amanda Kessel (New York Riveters, NWHL)
Amanda Pelkey (Boston Pride, NWHL)

General Manager: Reagan Carey
Head Coach: Robb Stauber
Associate Head Coach: Brett Strot
Assistant Coach: Paul Mara

Photo by Harry Engels/Getty Images

The U.S. team that’s had the most success on the Olympic stage has been the Paralympic team, who’s won three of the last four tournaments. The winning has continued since 2014 as Team USA won four straight World Sled Hockey Challenges and silver at the 2017 Para Sled Hockey World Championship.

Here’s the Paralympic team that will defend gold:

GOALTENDERS
Jen Lee (Chicago Blackhawks)
Steve Cash (Disabled Athlete Sports Association St. Louis Blues)

DEFENSEMEN
Ralph DeQuebec (Colorado Avalanche)
Billy Hanning (Disabled Athlete Sports Association St. Louis Blues)
Tyler Carron (Colorado Avalanche)
Nikko Landeros (A) (Colorado Avalanche)
Josh Pauls (C) (Disabled Athlete Sports Association St. Louis Blues)

FORWARDS
Brody Roybal (Chicago Blackhawks)
Jack Wallace (NJ Freeze)
Travis Dodson (Chicago Blackhawks)
Luke McDermott (Buffalo Sabres)
Declan Farmer (A) (Tampa Bay Lightning)
Kevin McKee (Chicago Blackhawks)
Adam Page (Buffalo Sabres)
Noah Grove (USA Warriors)
Rico Roman (Colorado Avalanche)
Josh Misiewicz (Chicago Blackhawks)

General Manager: Dan Brennan
Head Coach: Guy Gosselin
Assistant Coach: David Hoff

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Seven hockey players suspended in Belarus match-fixing case

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ZURICH — Seven ice hockey players have been suspended during an investigation into match-fixing in the Belarus league.

The players — five from Belarus and two from Russia — told a domestic investigation they were paid to help arrange the outcome of a game in November, the International Ice Hockey Federation said on Friday.

“During the investigation, each of the players also admitted that they had agreed to exert an unlawful influence on the outcome of the game in exchange for illegal remuneration,” the governing body said in a statement.

The IIHF said its disciplinary board had taken over the case “for further review and sanctioning.”

The case involves Dynamo Molodechno’ losing to Mogilyov 6-5 in a Belarus Extraliga game.

The players have been suspended from taking part in any competition organized by the IIHF or its member federations.

PHT Morning Skate: NHL vs. viruses; Flat salary cap pain = Avs’ gain?

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Welcome to the PHT Morning Skate, a collection of links from the NHL and around the hockey world. Have a link you want to submit for the PHT Morning Skate? Email us at phtblog@nbcsports.com.

Lafreniere, COVID-19 hockey concerns, and how Avs may benefit from a flat salary cap

• Rank Maple Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen among those expressing some misgivings about playing amid the COVID-19 pandemic. [TSN]

• Breaking: Alexis Lafreniere is not a defenseman. In all seriousness, a look at some Maple Leafs possibilities … which might be complicated at No. 1 because of that positional point. Maybe? [Pension Plan Puppets]

• Speaking of those Maple Leafs, Buds fans are not pleased about the idea of a possible flat, $81.5M salary cap. There are teams who might take advantage of this situation, though. Here’s why the Avalanche could be one of those teams. [Mile High Hockey]

• A look back at the NHL’s “rivalries” with viruses. Does the history of the NHL’s dealing with such issues — even the Mumps — be a cause for concern amid COVID-19 outbreaks? [Arctic Ice Hockey]

• Earlier this week, PHT selected the best landing spots for Alexis Lafreniere. What about getting even more specific? Andrew Berkshire shared his picks for some of the lines that would benefit most from adding the consensus No. 1 pick to their left side. [Sportsnet]

Other hockey links

• Sean Gentille put together an oral history for the Jean Claude Van Damme masterpiece “Sudden Death.” If you haven’t heard of the candidate for “so-bad-it’s-good” designation, how about the elevator pitch: “Die Hard at a hockey game.” [The Athletic (sub required)]

• On face value, this article focuses most on Rudy Gobert and Novak Djokovic and athletes feeling invulnerable to COVID-19. But it’s a really good read for hockey fans, players, and executives as cautionary tales with a return-to-play picking up steam. [The Score]

• Joe Pelletier of Greatest Hockey Legends wonders why the bar is set so high for goalies to get into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Not an awful point when you consider that they play the most important position in the sport, and all. I wouldn’t mind Ron Hextall making a future cut, to name just one worthy goalie. [Greatest Hockey Legends]

• Five crossovers between hockey and Todd McFarlane. Yes, the “Spawn” guy. [PuckJunk]

• Taking a run at putting together the Sabres’ roster during the upcoming offseason. It gets elaborate, including potential trades. Yes, this scenario includes trading away Rasmus Ristolainen. Don’t they all? [Die by the Blade]

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Our Line Starts podcast: NHL, NHLPA nearing agreement; hub cities, Olympics, CBA

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Liam McHugh, Keith Jones, and Patrick Sharp react to the reports that the NHL and NHLPA are nearing the completion of a massive agreement that would not only cover this year’s Return to Play protocols, but also serve as an extension to the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The guys discuss Edmonton and Toronto emerging as hub city favorites, as well as what it would mean for the NHL to return to the Olympics. Plus, a breakdown of the Qualifying Round series in both conferences.

Start-4:45 Edmonton, Toronto new hub city frontrunners
4:45-8:45 NHL, NHLPA nearing CBA extension, including Olympic participation
8:45-13:00 Other return to play details
14:00-23:00 Eastern Conference Qualifying Round preview
23:50-End Western Conference Qualifying Round preview

Where else you can listen:

Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/id1482681517

Stitcher: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/nbc-sports/our-line-starts

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/7cDMHBg6NJkQDGe4KHu4iO?si=9BmcLtutTFmhRrNNcMqfgQ

NBC Sports on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/nbcsports

Mrazek vs. Reimer and other Hurricanes lineup questions readying for Rangers

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Beyond obvious outliers like the Penguins, the Hurricanes rank among the most legitimate of the NHL’s Qualifying Round teams. Yet as stable as the Hurricanes are compared to a field full of erratic teams, Carolina faces many of the same lineup questions as the Rangers, the team they’d face in a best-of-five series.

Some might argue that the Hurricanes face tougher questions than the Rangers. (Though, the Rangers aren’t off the hook in that regard.)

In particular, the Hurricanes may need training camp to find answers in net and on defense. For all we know, Hurricanes lineup questions could even persist beyond “Phase 3.”

Let’s glance at both the goalie and defense questions for the Hurricanes.

Who should start in Hurricanes playoff lineup: Mrazek or Reimer?

Reimer, Mrazek, Hurricanes Rangers lineup questions NHL playoffs
(Photo by Greg Thompson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

With Henrik Lundqvist jousting with two young upstarts, some might wonder if the Rangers have too much of a good thing in net. The Hurricanes don’t enjoy quite the abundance of options.

Even so, coach Rod Brind’Amour faces a decision, as they lack a clear No. 1. Should the Hurricanes go with Petr Mrazek — who helped them during the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs — or James Reimer (who boasts superior numbers this season)?

If Brind’Amour knows, he’s putting on a poker face.

“It’s easy to say right now, ‘OK, I’m going to go with Petr,’ but I don’t know,” Brind’Amour said in a recent interview, via NHL.com’s Dan Rosen. “He may be in rough shape. I don’t know until I get to see them and see what they’re like.”

It’s unclear if that last playoff run explains why Mrazek would be the “easy” choice, or if that came down to Reimer entering the pandemic pause with injury issues. (The Hurricanes may also be concerned about Reimer’s rather lengthy run of injury hiccups, too.)

Because, again, Reimer performed at a higher level than Mrazek in 2019-20. Reimer boasts a better save percentage than Mrazek this season (.914 to Mrazek’s .905) and over their careers (.914 to Mrazek’s .910). Reimer takes most/all goalie “advanced stats” between the two this season, as well. Generally speaking, we’ve seen more from Reimer over the past few seasons than Mrazek, whose career was teetering on the edge here and there.

(But, to be fair, Reimer’s had his issues, too.)

Regardless, just about every team should take a long look at how their goalies are performing during training camps. Even teams with clearer No. 1 options.

Honestly, with the NHL not expected to limit the number of goalies at training camps, maybe the Hurricanes should even look at options like Anton Forsberg or Alex Nedeljkovic?

An unexpectedly crowded defense

Dougie Hamilton Hurricanes Rangers lineup decisions playoffs
(Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)

During the 2020 NHL Trade Deadline, the Hurricanes acquired Brady Skjei and Sami Vatanen. As you may remember, those moves hinged at least partially on injuries to Dougie Hamilton and Brett Pesce. After the twists of those bad-luck injuries, the pandemic threw off Carolina’s rhythm once more.

The best news is that it sounds like Hamilton will be available. Don’t let the museum talk fool you. If Hamilton maintained his hot pace and didn’t get injured, he would have been a go-to choice for those making arguments against John Carlson‘s Norris credentials. Either way, Hamilton provides an enormous boost to the Hurricanes lineup — one they weren’t expecting during the deadline.

On the other hand, Brind’Amour told NHL.com’s Rosen that Pesce remains unlikely to return. However …

“It’s going to be a long shot, but the longer this goes the shot gets a little shorter,” Brind’Amour said.

(Anyone else visualizing that after that rather literal description from Brind’Amour? No? OK.)

So, Hamilton stands as probable while Pesce looks unlikely. Beyond that, the Hurricanes have two still-new faces in Skjei (just seven not particularly impressive games played) and Vatanen (who was injured and didn’t even get to suit up). Let’s say that represents three defensemen for the Hurricanes. Here are the other contenders for spots in the Hurricanes defensive lineup:

  • Jaccob Slavin, a lock.
  • Jake Gardiner, who dealt with a tough season, averaging only 16:40 TOI. Still, Gardiner is experienced, played in 68 games this season, and may have benefited from the break.
  • Joel Edmundson (68 GP like Slavin and Gardiner, averaged more TOI than Gardiner with 18:27 per contest).
  • Trevor van Riemsdyk (49 GP, less than 15 minutes per night; still, Hurricanes are very familiar with TVR).
  • Haydn Fleury (45 GP, averaged fewer than 15 minutes per game).

Realistically, Brind’Amour could have eight options on defense, and possibly nine if Pesce makes unexpectedly rapid progress. Being that some of those options are quite good, there are worse problems to have.

But it still adds to the notion that training camp could be quite important for Hurricanes lineup decisions. With both goalies and defense, Brind’Amour emphasized a wait-and-see approach. So … we’ll see?

More on the Hurricanes, Rangers, return to play, and similar subjects:

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.