Brian Burke, Team USA’s GM, is planning on making the announcement of USA’s final roster on January 1st, 2010, during the Winter Classic. Burke will name his 23 man roster at Fenway Park, during the Flyers vs. Bruins game.
Below you will find the three groupings for the 2010 Olympic hockey tournament:
GROUP A: Canada, United States, Norway, Switzerland
GROUP B: Russia, Czech Republic, Latvia, Slovakia
GROUP C: Finland, Sweden, Germany, Belarus
The countries in bold are the four tournament favorites, without disrespect to the other eight countries.
Each team will play the round robin portion of the tournament, facing the other three teams of their respective group and the best four records will advance to the quarter-finals.
Then the remaining eight teams will move on to play a qualifying playoff round to decide the other four quarter-final spots. The final eight teams will face each other in the quarter-finals until the Gold Medal Winner is decided.
USA’s schedule will be fairly easy, except they end up their round-robin by facing a powerhouse in Canada. They will play their first game on February 16th against Switzerland, a very underrated opponent that gave problem to the Americans in the past few tournaments.
After that game USA has a day off, before they take on a weak Norwegian team that should be fairly easy to beat. Finally, Team USA will conclude the round-robin portion of their tournament with an emotional match-up against their North American foe, Canada. This game will be a very good test for Sean Burke to assess his line-up and his team’s chances of earning a medal in Vancouver.
I would personnally give the C to Langenbrunner as he is a proven winner with Stanley Cups with the Devils and plenty of experience in the NHL and on the international level. There is a change of guard for the Americans as perennial selections like Bill Guerin, Keith Tkachuk, Doug Weight and Chris Chelios are no longer in the plans.
Potential final line-up for Team USA:
Patrick Kane - Zach Parise - Phil Kessel
Ryan Malone - Paul Stastny - Dustin Brown
Bobby Ryan - Ryan Kesler - Jamie Langenbrunner
Ryan Callahan - Joe Pavelski - Mike Knuble
Jason Pominville as the 13th forward.
Who would you pick on your team as of December 23rd, 2009?