Four Years in the Making: United States versus Canada

Parise with the tying goal in the 2010 Gold Medal game versus Canada.

Parise with the tying goal in the 2010 Gold Medal game versus Canada.

A game 4 years in the making will take place tomorrow at noon. Americans are looking for redemption, after a heartbreaking 3-2 overtime loss in the 2010 Winter games. The Canadians are looking to win and move on for another chance at gold. Two promising teams take center stage tomorrow in the Battle of North America.

2010 – Not A Thing in the Past.. YET!
2010 is fresh in many United States hockey players minds. 10 of them to be exact laced their skates up for the red, white and blue in Vancouver in 2010 and have returned for redemption. Rangers captain, and part of the leadership committee Ryan Callahan is one of those players. Callahan mentioned prior to the Olympics, that as a team their goal was to avenge their heartbreaking loss in the gold medal game against the Canadians. They want to erase that painful memory, that Vancouver Canucks and American centerman Ryan Kesler says to this day is still on his mind.

A Look at the Two Teams
The United States have come into this Olympics with a very well balanced, NHL style team put together by David Poile and the staff of USA Hockey. A lot of questions were brought up about this teams selection process (the snub of Bobby Ryan, Keith Yandle just to name a few), but the Americans that are on this team, have proved their worth.

Phil Kessel, James Van Riemsdyk, and Joe Pavelski have stepped up to the task of being the American’s top forward line. We already know the heroics of T.J. Oshie, but along with Paul Stastny and a rotation of Max Pacioretty and Blake Wheeler the U.S. have a key energy line. Throw in David Backes with Callahan and Dustin Brown and we have ourselves a nice leadership line. The Kesler, Patrick Kane and Zach Parise unit ain’t so shabby in its own right either.

7 of team Canada’s 13 goals have come from either Shea Weber or Drew Doughty. This Canadian team has been very disappointing as its one of the most skilled heavy rosters ever put together by Hockey Canada, and that ¬†skill hasn’t produced many goals. Sidney Crosby is having issues finding the right linemates, as Chris Kunitz as the rotating right winger hasn’t lived up to expectations. And now without John Tavares out, their depth at center became depleted.

Ranger Focus
All eyes will be on the New York Rangers playing in this game tomorrow. Derek Stepan will probably sit for team USA, barring any surprise injury that happens overnight. Expect Callahan to skate with Backes and Brown again, as they are another solid energy line producing for team USA. Callahan has been having himself a solid Olympic tournament, granted he only has one assist, but Callahan has been dominate in all other area’s of the game. This has been a great tournament for him.

Another Ranger having himself a tournament, is defenseman Ryan McDonagh. McDonagh has been used alongside Ryan Suter as a shutdown duo against teams top offensive threats. While nothing has been said yet, their are rumblings of the duo to be split so they can focus on the Weber/Doughty pairing separately. This is going to be a tough task for McDonagh, but one thing I’ve noticed so far from his play is that he’s up for any challenge, and will bring it tomorrow.

Finally, Rick Nash has been primarily seen after the team’s first game against Norway on Canada’s fourth line. He is also used sparingly and is on the penalty kill. He has one assist, and has played under 10 minutes of ice time in the teams past four games. His lack of use really hasn’t allowed him to really show his full skill set, which in turn is giving him a hard time in getting his game going.

FullTilt Forecast
United States vs. Canada. Need I say more. The right to go to the gold medal game on Sunday. The United States have out scored opponents 19-6 through their four games. They won’t score a lot, but they’ll score enough. United States will win 3-1.

 

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