It is time for the World Cup of Hockey to begin! This new tournament will showcase some of hockey’s best players from all around the world. The grand stage is set in Toronto, where hockey is the way of life.
Team USA versus Team Canada is one of the top attractions in international hockey. These two teams will meet on Friday, September 9 in a pre-tournament matchup at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, OH.
Team USA is probably considered the underdog heading into this pre-tournament clash. Led by fiery coach John Tortorella, Team USA will be leaning on strong defensive play and goaltending in order to perform well in the World Cup of Hockey tournament.
San Jose Sharks Captain Joe Pavelski will also Captain Team USA. Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Suter and Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane will be the Alternate Captains for Team USA. Kane, 27, is the NHL’s reigning Art Ross Trophy and Hart Trophy winner.
Team USA faced a few questions with their roster selection. Notable snubs from the roster include Tyler Johnson (TB) and Bobby Ryan (OTT), who are both good for lots of goals and points for their respective clubs.
On paper, Team USA probably has the best rotation of goaltenders in the tournament. Jonathan Quick, Ben Bishop, and Cory Schneider are some of the NHL’s elite goaltenders right now, and these goaltenders have all played in some big games. Whoever plays in net for the United States will need to be playing at an elite level in order to shut down Team Canada’s potent attack.
Team Canada is one of the leading favorites to win the World Cup of Hockey tournament. This team is stacked at every position, and there is very little weakness.
With Canada as the host for the World Cup of Hockey tournament, the expectations will be high. Canada will be led by Head Coach Mike Babcock, who has plenty of weapons in his offensive attack.
Sidney Crosby, Tyler Seguin, Steven Stamkos, and John Tavares are just some of the high-profile talent that will lead Canada’s forward group. These players are some of the NHL’s elite, and all know how to put the puck in the back of the net.
Canada probably has the strongest defensive core in the tournament. The reigning Norris Trophy winner Drew Doughty is the biggest name in this group of talented blueliners. Shea Weber is another notable name in this group of blueliners, as he has one of the quickest slapshots in the NHL today.
Team Canada has a trio of goaltenders that can stack up to the goaltenders that play for Team USA. The last two Vezina Trophy winners, Carey Price and Braden Holtby, will play for Team Canada. Two-time Stanley Cup Champion Corey Crawford will also be in Team Canada’s rotation.
KEYS TO THE GAME
Team USA needs to produce some goals. With a John Tortorella coached team, there will be lots of blocking shots and good defensive play. Team USA will have to use their strength in their defense and goaltending to spark some offensive production.
Team USA’s forwards will be challenged to score early and often. They will need to score a lot of dirty goals against Canada’s Carey Price or Braden Holtby. There will need to be deflections and screens in front of Canada’s net. Holtby and Price will stop everything that they see, and Canada’s defense will attempt to keep all pucks to the outside perimeter.
Special teams will be very important for Team USA. Team USA must find a way to score on any powerplay that they receive. They must also stop Canada’s potent attack on their powerplay chances.
The biggest thing facing Team Canada is the pressure. Since Canada is the host for the tournament, the roster will be under the microscope. Team Canada is one of the favorites in the tournament, and they will need to be nearly flawless in all of their games.
Canada has the right mix of players and they have all of the tools needed to win. Some may argue that they have too much star power, which could possibly backfire. But if all of the stars show up and perform, Canada will be a tough out.
Canada’s key to victory is scoring early and often. If they can build a sizable lead in the game, their defense and goaltending should hold the rest of the way. With players like Stamkos, Seguin, and Crosby, there should be plenty of goals scored for Team Canada.
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4-2 Team Canada
By: George Foussekis