USA Hockey Magazine

February 2018

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Terry of the University of Denver, Jordan Greenway from Boston University and St. Cloud State University defen- seman Will Borgen. Terry and Greenway helped the U.S. N a t i o n a l Ju n i o r Te a m w i n g o l d a t t h e 2 0 1 7 I I H F Wo r l d J u n i o r Championship. "Obviously, the selec- tion process has been a battle for us with all t h e p l a y e r s w e h a v e available to us," said Granato, who balanced his time between coach- ing the University of Wisconsin Badgers and adding his input on this Olympic roster. "We're really happy with the players that we announced. I think we've put together an out- standing group of players that will represent us well come February and give us a great chance to do really well and compete for a medal." One thing that stands out on the U.S. roster is the lack of size, especially up front, with the average size hovering around 5-foot- 9. Johannson said the speed and shiftiness of the team's forwards should suit them well, particularly on the larger Olympic ice surface where many of these players feel at home. "I think we have enough speed to back a team off and now we're going to have enough size and a little bit of grit to push back, if you will, because you realize that the other teams are going to come at us as well," Johannson said. "We're happy with where the mix is right now and we just need to stay healthy for six weeks and just get prepared to play our best hockey in February." With players coming from various leagues around the world, the first challenge w i l l b e t o g e t e v e r y - one on the same page quickly before the puck drops on Feb. 14 against Slovenia. "If all goes as planned, we'll have four full prac- tices to get ready, which in all honesty is quite a bit of practice time. In today 's pro game it's rare that you get four days to practice so I think that will be great for our team," said Johannson, a two-time Olympian who has helped assemble the past four U.S. squads. A n d h a v i n g v e t e r a n s like Gionta, Slater and Wisniewski could pay h u g e d i v i d e n d s i n helping the team come together quickly, which is essential in a con- densed tournament. "It's about gaining that chemistry with the guys early on that will carry us through towards the end," said Gionta, who played in 1,006 NHL games and won a Stanley Cup in 2003. " You don't have the luxury of g oing throughout the season, the ups and downs of the season and finding out who people are, and you have to fast track that whole process." Granato and his coaching staff, which includes U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame players Scott Young and Chris Chelios, are familiar with many of t h e s e p l ay e r s h av i n g c o a c h e d 1 5 o f them at the 2017 Deutschland Cup in Augsburg, Germany. While the U.S. lost all three of its games, the competition provided Granato and his staff with valuable insight into how this team will be able to compete and succeed on the Olympic stage. "It was great from an evaluation stand- point for all of us," Granato said. "I liked a lot of the things we saw. I think there was a lot of things to be excited about." It may take a little longer for hockey fans to be excited about a team that doesn't feature household names like those currently play- ing, and starring, in the NHL. That's to be expected after two decades of star-studded hockey played on the game's grandest stage. But it wasn't that long ago that a team of Americans with names like Eruzione, Pavelich, Craig and Broten were also rela- tive unknowns. And we all know how that turned out. P 22 // 2018 OLYMPIC PREVIEW USAHOCKEYMAGAZINE.COM I think we've put together an outstanding group of players that will represent us well come February and give us a great chance to do really well and compete for a medal." known Great Un The –Tony Granato Brian O'Neill Troy Terry Bobby Sanguinetti Will Borgen

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