Monday, December 19, 2005

Team USA Dark Horses


photo: hockeysfuture.com
...and starting in goal, Univision/Telemundo Heart-Throb Alavaro Montoya

OLN will host the announcement tonight of the Team USA roster. John Buccigross, ESPN's erstwhile hockey host, is out with his selections. Shawn Roarke of Fox Sports posted his prognostications as well. I hope Don Waddell opts for younger and faster guys this go around. I say invest in the future and let the old guys groins, knuckles, and mellons heal over the 3-week break.

on "D"
I like the idea of Paul Mara and Jordan Leopold getting shots in place of Bret Hedican and Aaron Miller. The 'Canes fan in me would just like to see Hedican (and Erik Cole for that matter) get the 3-week rest. Miller is a pretty solid defensive-defenseman, but won't push the puck or join the rush. Going with the young guys might just be a great investment Team USA-Next. Locks for me here include Mathieu Schnieder, John-Michael Liles, Brian Rafalski, and Paul Martin. All are all solid NHL defensemen with skills that translate well to the international game. Four years from now, we could be looking at a Team USA defensive corps with the carry-overs mentioned above plus the likes of Jack Johnson and Ryan Suter.

at Forward
I would like to see Tim Connolly and Chris Drury get shots in place of some combinaton of Keith Tkachuk, Mike York, Jason Blake or Mark Parrish. Drury is at his best in big games and Connolly is on pace for a 60+ point season and ahead of guys like Gomez, Weight, and York in the points race. The only locks for me at forward would be Rolston, Knuble, Conroy, Modano, and maybe Gionta. Bucci wants Dustin Brown on the squad. Right now I'm only seeing an agitator and bookend to Sean Avery, not a future star.

in Goal
I say Rangers prospect Al Montoya. WTF you say? At least he has a world championship under his belt. Can't be much of a let-down from consensus picks Robert Esche, Rick DiPietro, and John Grahame. The only other option would be to get a really, really fat guy to clog up the net. Hey, maybe Keith Tkachuk can join the team for the later rounds after two weeks off and lots of figgy pudding...

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