It seems safe to say that the World Hockey championships aren’t at the top of our collective minds, even though this is the State of Hockey, and we do have six Minnesotans. Some of us are currently preoccupied with NHL playoffs, and to some extent, the Twins’ quest for a 151-11 season.
But I think the reason we lack a little excitement is because we know it’s not the best of the best representing each country. Rest assured, if that was the case, the United States would not be winless in two games against Germany and Denmark.
But with several players battling in the playoffs, we can’t really send our best. And some of those players who aren’t currently playing, have already represented the country at the Olympics this year. A trip to Germany is probably not what they need (although Jack Johnson is on the World Championship team, and was a key cog for the Olympic team).
So because there is a lack of news, I figured I’d put together my ideal Team USA roster with players who did not participate in the Olympics. However, some of these guys are in the playoffs, but that’s okay. I thought it’d be fun.
So, without further adieu, here is my Fantasy Non-Olympian Team USA Hockey squadron that everybody would agree to play for.
Bold = Currently on the World Championship team
Centers: Tim Connolly (Buffalo/Syracuse, NY), Scott Gomez (Montreal/Anchorage, AK), Matt Cullen (Ottawa/Virginia, MN) and T.J. Oshie (St. Louis/Warroad, MN).
Wingers: R.J. Umberger (Columbus/Pittsburgh, PA), Kyle Okposo (New York Islanders/St. Paul, MN), Lee Stempniak (Phoenix/West Seneca, NY), Brian Gionta (Montreal/Rochester, NY), Bill Guerin (Pittsburgh/Worcester, MA), Jason Blake (Anaheim/Moorhead, MN), Blake Wheeler (Boston/Minneapolis, MN) and James van Riemsdyk (Philadelphia/Middletown, NJ).
Defensemen: Tyler Myers, who considers himself Canadian but he was born in Texas, so whether he likes it or not, he’s on our side (Buffalo, Katy, TX), Keith Yandle (Phoenix/Boston, MA), Mike Komisarek, (Toronto/West Islip, NY), Paul Martin (New Jersey/Elk River, MN), Matt Carle (Philadelphia/Anchorage, AK), Alex Goligoski (Pittsburgh/Grand Rapids, MN) and John Carlson (Washington/Natick, MA).
And yes, I know Komisarek and Martin were named to the Olympic team, but they were both hurt, so they’re on my team.
Goaltenders: Jimmy Howard (Detroit/Syracuse, NY), Craig Anderson (Colorado/Park Ridge, IL) and Brian Boucher, who went and got himself hurt last night, meaning I may have to call in Ty Conklin (St. Louis/Anchorage, AK).
I even had trouble whittling down the defensemen. I left off Ron Hainsey, Matt Greene, John-Michael Liles, Keith Ballard, James Wisniewski, Tom Gilbert and even former UMD Bulldog, Matt Niskanen.
On the forward side, I scrapped Brandon Dubinsky and Mike Modano because I like my centers. And I looked for a spot for Robbie Earl, who hit on 20.7% of the shots he took last year, but I just couldn’t find space for him.
And in goal, well, us Americans aren’t very deep in goal. But we do have Ryan Miller, and nobody else does.
That team is not too shabby if I do say so myself. And really, only Gomez, Gionta, Guerin, Wheeler, van Riemsdyk, Carle and Goligoski are still playing right now. The rest should get their tails off to Germany and meet up with Todd Richards. Tell him I sent you.