Monday, February 23, 2009

Operation: Vancouver 2010 - 29th Anniversary of USA's Miracle On Ice

Part I:
Yesterday marked the 29th anniversary of the amazing Miracle on Ice. "On Frozen Blog" posted a great story yesterday on this crowning glory moment in Team USA's hockey history.

I thought I'd do my part to celebrate this great moment in sports' history by revealing who I forecast should be on Team USA in Vancouver 2010, on the 30th anniversary of the miracle. Here is my previous posts predicting Team Canada one year out. Part I covers the goalies and defensemen, with the forwards to be revealed in Part II

1. Tim Thomas
2. Ryan Miller
3. Cory Schneider

"The Tank" Thomas has played his way to the #1 netminder position - an obvious Vezina candidate this year. Ryan Miller, another top NHL 'tender, gives USA a dynamic duo between the pipes. His recently suffered high ankle sprain should be a non-issue. Schneider likely raises the eyebrows. The reasoning is to give the top young goalie out of the US some exposure to international hockey on the big stage. The kid has been lights out in the AHL and didn't look out of place in a brief stint in the NHL this year when Luongo was out.

Honorable Mentions: Ty Conklin, Jonathon Quick and Craig Andersson


1st paining: Keith Ballard & Brian Rafalski
2nd pairing: Ryan Suter & Eric Johnson
3rd pairing: Paul Martin & Mike Komisarek
7th d-man: Jack Johnson

Ballard, a plus 15 with Panthers this season, brings solid 2-way play, while Rafalski is the silky smooth offensive d-man, who makes great breakout passes.
Ryan Suter is getting better in his own zone and possesses an excellent 2-way game. EJ's health may be an issue, but if he is healthy this kid will be an anchor on the blueline.
Martin quietly leads the Devils defensemen - he's solid in his own zone and has sound instincts in the offensive zone. Komo (Komisarek) is having a down year after setting lofty expectations last year, but Team USA will need his physical play and shot-blocking come 2010.
Jack Johnson is the wild card having great skill and plays a very good physical game. Will he have put it all together by next year?

Honorable Mentions: Tom Gilbert, Ryan Whitney, JM Liles, Matt Niskanen

Part II will follow shortly, revealing the forwards.


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