Roster Talk '13 — U.S.A. (Part 2)
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01-06-2013, 04:42 AM
William H Bonney
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Sierra Nevada
What an exciting tournament to watch. Waking up early/staying up late and going to work on little sleep was all worth it. It's no secret I (we) love following USA Hockey and this tournament is always a real treat but this one may have been the most enjoyable due to the lack of NHL hockey and the domination of Canada in the semifinal.
Everyone involved deserves major credit. They picked a great team and they knew the players they had and put them in spots to succeed. I still don't agree with everything - it was obvious some type of change was needed before it happened and I didn't like the use of the 13th forward - but you can't argue with the results Housley and his staff received. They did make the change they needed in time (unlike a Keith Allain previously) and they brought home the gold. They did a fantastic job and all deserve to be given the task for the 2014 WJC right now if they want it. I wonder what this means for Housley? A lot of us have criticized the opportunities USAH has given him due to his lack of experience but he's definitely proved himself. I'd think he would want this opportunity again next year but I could see him passing to focus on a new position if he gets a big promotion from a marginal Minnesota high school team to something bigger. I would think a head coaching gig in the USHL would be a logical next step but I'd imagine he'll hear from NCAA/CHL teams as well. If Housley were not to return, Mark Osiecki has to be the frontrunner for the head coaching gig.
I must echo Cagney's statement regarding Gibson. What a fantastic goalie, tournament, and prospect. He really seems like a great kid, too, so I was happy to see him have such a dominant tournament after the "embarrassment" - his word - last year. Goalies are so hard to project but he seems to have it all - size, strength, flexibility, and most importantly an unflappable demeanor in net. I'm certainly not going to bet against him being the goalie to join Quick and Schneider as our key three for the next 15 years.
I'd also like to give props to Garret Sparks. He basically got relegated to emergency role since it was his last year of eligibility but you wouldn't be able to tell it by following him on Twitter. He was so upbeat and came off as such a great teammate. I'd like to think he epitomizes everything this team was about and
When informed that all 22 players on his roster had at least one point, including goalie Gibson (two assists), and 15 registered at least one goal, Housley quickly countered.
"We had balance throughout our lineup, but it was 23 players and not 22 that played a big part of this team," Housley said. "[Emergency goalie] Garret Sparks might not have seen any action, but he was a great teammate and I really respect that in a player. He came to the rink every day and was a part of this team. It really showed a lot about our character as a whole."
As good as Gibson was, I think the defense was basically as dominant. In a junior tournament, they're going to make gaffes and give up chances but that was a fantastic group. I can't say enough about Trouba other than I'm surprised so many NHL folks thought he had marginal offensive upside (I didn't agree having watched him the last 3 years) and I think a lot of those teams that picked other d-men ahead of him are going to regret that move for the next 15 years. Jones fought the nerves early but when the games mattered most he was so good as well. I've been one of McCabe's more vocal supporters here and he even surpassed my expectations. What a fantastic captain and an underrated player. He's grown so much as a player from his NTDP days it's unreal. Connor Murphy might have have the quietest big impact on the team. Smart player and a defensive rock. I must agree with Cagney again in that this group will be hard to match but only because it's not likely both Jones and Trouba are back next year because if they are, I could see the 2014 group being just as good. The 2010 d-core was so good but I think this group may have been better.
What a team effort by the forwards. Outside of the two losses, someone different was always stepping up. They weren't always clicking but they were always working hard, supporting each other, and sticking to the game plan. For a group that didn't have a consistently dominant player (outside of Gaudreau in the end), they did a heck of a job.
I'm a huge Grimaldi fan (as a hockey player - the religious stuff bothers me though) and we all knew he was struggling as he even admitted as much. I think you could tell he was trying way too hard. This should have been his 3rd time in this tournament but instead was his only appearance and he was forcing the issue. However, he handled his benching/demotion perfectly and I'm really, really happy he scored the two big goals today. What redemption.
And what about a big congratulations to the '93 birth year for the NTDP and USAH in general? The NTDP '93 group won gold at the World Under 17 Challenge, IIHF U-18 Championship, and now the World Junior Championship. Pretty good for a squad that wasn't well thought of from the moment they joined the NTDP. The '93 birth year in general was seen as pretty weak after guys like McColgan and Jacobs plateaued at 15 and Grimaldi stopped growing. But the development and emergence of guys like Gaudreau, Trocheck, and Noesen were big and guys like Gibson, Murphy, and McCabe probably exceeded anything even the NTDP had imagined when they offered those guys spots. A fantastic run of success for this age group.
Side note: Henrik Samuelsson is the new Mitch Wahl. When Wahl was left off the 2010 roster (as an eligible returnee), the detractors were vocal and predicted Team USA failure. I'd say USAH picked the right team again.
I'm very happy for all involved and hope this recent success (2 golds and a bronze) in the 4 tournaments since they implemented the long overdue changes are here to stay. USAH should expect to medal every year in this tournament. Hopefully that is becoming a consistent reality so that the program can take the next step to eventually having consistent success in this tournament while missing multiple players every year to NHL duty.
It's been tough sledding at times and there is still much progress to be made but I'm very enthused about the future. Now if USAH can just find a way to take the World Championships seriously!
One note: The IIHF should be ashamed of themselves as this is the second tournament in 8 months where they've denied an American a chance to win a gold medal with their team. First, the Matteau situation and now Noesen. I felt awful for Matteau at the U18s and now I feel awful for Noesen. I'm glad the IIHF clarified the rules on Matteau (but I'm not happy they did it 5 months after the U18s to retroactively make him ineligible) and I'm hopeful they'll fix this stupid rule that cost Noesen his tournament but it doesn't make their actions anything but asinine. It's shameful, seeing the marginal suspensions handed out in this tournament for some egregious play, that the IIHF had no problem giving Noesen a 7 game suspension on top of his 10 game OHL suspension. They should personally apologize to both players.
As I did in 2010, I'll eventually put up some individual evaluations of all the players on the team, most likely tomorrow.
"I have been complimented many times and they always embarrass me; I always feel that they have not said enough."
- Mark Twain.
Last edited by William H Bonney: 01-06-2013 at
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