Well, I know I am being a big time nerd.
Not only I am going to spend all this time to construct and type this thread, I am doing this one day after Team USA was eliminated from the world cup.
I realize we lost 2-1 in the semi-finals of the world cup, but I, like many, see this world up as a failure for Team USA.
More so because, I think with the proper construction of the team, and coaching decisions, we could have been the clear cut number 2 team after Canada.
Team USA hockey is in the middle of a major transition.
There are a number of guys who were key to our world cup victory in 2006, and our silver medal in the 2002 olympics.
These guys, will possibly go down as the best core group of american born players in the history of USA hockey.
John LeClair, Jeremey Roenick, Tony Amonte, Doug Weight, Chris Chelios, Brett Hull, and the already departed Mike Richter, probably won't be a part of the 2006 US olympic team, and they shouldn't be.
It is time for a new ERA in team USA hockey.
We might have a difficult time in the 2006 olympics, but it will be good to bring some fresh blood in, and introduce some really young kids as well, to get them experience.
The good news, there are a number of promising young defensmen on the way, and with Esche and Dipietro, we should be fine in goal for quite some time.
Things will considerably change in two years, but let's take a look at the candidates for 2006, and then my mock team as of right now.
The Center position should be pretty strong.
There isn't a ton of depth, but we should be able to have two very gifted offensive centerman, as well as a good checker, and versatile center for the fourth line.
Mike Modano - A shoe in to be the number one center, and will still be an elite player in 2006.
Scott Gomez - Gomez is a great playmaker, and has a legit shot at being the number two center. If we have depth at center, Gomez can slide over to right wing.
Tyler Arnason - Arnason is a very good young player on the rise who shold be on the team.
David Legwand - Time for Legwand to get his act together. If he does, he could find himself as the second line center. He really has the talent.
Brian Rolston - I have no idea why Wilson didn't use him.
Craig Conroy - The perfect candidate for checking line center in '06 with the bigger rink and no red line. You need speed in international play, Conroy has it and a defensive minded game.
Zach Parise - Parise was a star for the world junior champion USA team last year. He would be awfully young in 2006, but don't count him out.
Jeff Halpern - Decent player, bad choice this year, would be a bad one in '06 as well.
Tim Connolly - Don't count him out, but it doesn't look like he'll ever live up to potential.
Others - Ryan Kessler, RJ Umberger, Dan Fritsche
Gomez - RW
It's very difficult to speculate where this group will be in two years.
There are a NUMBER of very talented young USA defensmen, but not alot of who are overly established.
If the selection committee does things right though, we should have a very young, hungry, mobile group.
Again, hard to say how good this group will be, but with so many talented youngsters, we should be AT LEAST solid.
The one problem I see though is, we will have alot of good defensmen, but probably no great, number one defensmen.
Brian Leetch - He is already slowing down a bit, and will be too old in '06. They'll probably pick him though.
Mathieu Schneider - Will be 37 in '06. Should have been on the world cup team, without a doubt.
Derian Hatcher - His game doesn't translate well to international play. Coming off his injury, he was better off not being on the world cup team.
Hall Gill - The same can be said of Gill, but it might be wise to have on big, physical defensmen on the roster. I happen to think Gill is very underrated anyway.
Ken Klee - 35 in '06 and was a very questionable pick this summer imo. I think the guy (now playing with Toronto, imagine that) is overrated. I would have taken Gill and Carney over him.
Aaron Miller - 35 in '06 as well, but this guy is darn good, and you need a vet or two on the team.
Jordon Leopold - We missed him this summer. Should be on the team, and likely would be one of the top guys.
Brian Rafalski - One of the most underrated players in the NHL. At 33 he should still have plenty left in the tank for '06.
Paul Mara - Another guy who should have been on this summer's team.
Mara continues to get better, and by '06 could be a top pair guy.
Bryan Berard - Should have been on the team this summer. In international hockey you can get away with a guy like Berard who plays little defense but is very mobile and skilled.
Paul Martin - A very solid young defensmen who will only get better. I wouldn't have had him on this team, but he played well and got valuable experience.
Ryan Suter - Suter is the real deal. He should get a serious look in '06.
Tom Poti - Is bad defensively, and is coming off a bad year. However, he was very solid in the 2002 olympics, and international play suites his game nicely.
Others - David Tanabe, Jeff Jillson, Keith Ballard, John Michael-Liles, Tim Gleason, Ryan Whitney.
This is not a very deep group, and there won't be any super studs.
This group will not be like 96, 98, and 02 where you had studs like LeClair, Tkachuk, Hull, Amonte, Guerin, etc etc.
To be honest, I am not very impressed by this group, and this could be a big weakness of the team.
One positive though is that we could put together a very speedy group.
Keith Tkachuk - A shoe in, and should still be pretty good.
Bill Guerin - See Tkachuk.
Scott Gomez - Move him to RW to strengthen the weaker wing position.
Chris Drury - Solid all around player who deserves a bigger role with team USA.
Mike York - Why in god's name was he left off the world cup team?
His speed will be a major asset.
Bryan Smolinski - I wasn't crazy about the selection this summer, and I wouldn't like it in '06.
Mark Parrish - I like Parrish alot, and think he was a snub from this summer's team.
Jaime Langenbrunner - You know you'll get a very gritty, solid game every night from him.
Ryan Malone - He could be a big time player for team USA if he continues to develope. I like his speed and grit.
Brian Gionta - The little fire plug could be a solid addition.
Jason Blake - Unlike most, I liked his selection, and think his eneergy and toughness could help out the fourth line or as an extra in '06.
Steve Knowalchuk - I wasn't crazy about his pick this summer, and with the bigger rink and no red line, Kono shouldn't be on the team.
Others - Dustin Brown, Barry Tallackson
Keith Tkachuk lw
Bill Guerin rw
Mike York lw
Scott Gomez rw
Chris Drury lw
Jaime Langenbrunner rw
Ryan Malone lw
Jason Blake rw
Mark Parrish extra
Brian Gionta extra
Really simple, and so I don't waste mine or anyone elses time.
We are set as heck here, and for along time.
THE FINAL ROSTER / DEPTH CHART
LINES / D-Pairings / Goalie Rotation
Scoring Line 1
Keith Tkachuk - Mike Modano - Bill Guerin
This line was awesome in the world cup this summer, and they should be again in '06. All three of these guys should have one big time USA tournament left in them.
Scoring Line 2
Mike York - Tyler Arnason - Scott Gomez
All three of these guys can fly. There is no pure sniper on this line, but York and Arnason are 25 goal guys, and Gomez can get people the puck.
Chris Drury - Craig Conroy - Jaime Langenbrunner
This is a checking line that can shut down other teams top offensive players, and do it with speed. In international play, if you want to check an oposite line, you have to do it with speed, not strength.
Ryan Malone - Brian Rolston - Jason Blake
This line will provide some grit and intense play. They can also chip in on offense as well.
Mark Parrish - If there is an injury or someone isn't producing on the scoring lines, Parrish can step right in. Parrish is higher ont he depth chart than Blake, but I want Blake on my energy line, and Parrish is my extra goal scorer.
Brian Gionta - Gionta is my extra third/fourth line forward. If need be he can go in and check, or more likely bring energy and a pesty game to the fourth line.
Jordan Leopold - Paul Mara
These could very well be the top two defensmen anyway.
I like the mix with Leopold as an offensive defensmen, and Mara a guy who can play physical and strong defense as well as do things offensively.
Brian Rafalski - Paul Martin
Their teammates, so you would assume they know each well, and they played very well together this summer.
Aaron Miller - Bryan Berard
Miller will be 35, but he is a very good defensmen who can handle third pair duties. He compliments the offense first, offensive second, defense third, Berard very well.
Ryan Suter - He is here for the experience, but he could play.
Hall Gill - Just in case we need to add size or toughness, Gill would be ready to go.
Robert Esche #1
Rick Dipietro #2
Ryan Miller #3
Just for the record, this would have been my team for THE 2004 WORLD CUP:
Keith Tkachuk - Mike Modano - Bill Guerin
Mike York - Scott Gomez - Brett Hull
Chris Drury - Craig Conroy - Jaime Langenbrunner
Brian Rolston - Doug Weight - Jason Blake
Hope you guys enjoyed this.
"Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die today."