Why Team USA Will NOT Win The Gold Medal In Sochi

I will not say for sure who is going to win the gold medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, but at first glance of the invitees to the respective orientation camps, I will go out on a limb and tell you right now one team that will not – Team USA.

 

Apr 10, 2013; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Vancouver Canucks center Ryan Kesler (17) skates with the puck against the Calgary Flames during the second period at the Scotiabank Saddledome. Vancouver Canucks won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

The adage is true that teams are built up the middle, and centre is one position where the stars and stripes are very deficient.  Looking at the US centres, you have Ryan Kesler, Paul Stastny, Derek Stepan, David Backes and Joe Pavelski the most likely to compromise the top 4 in some combination or other. Those are very good NHL players, but hardly earth-shattering.

Line that group of Americans up against some of the other top countries who can throw two or three (or more) legitimate superstars up the middle:  Canada (Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews, Patrice Bergeron, Ryan Getzlaf, Steven Stamkos), Sweden (Nicklas Backstrom, Henrik Zetterberg, Henrik Sedin) and Russia (Evgeni Malkin, Pavel Datsyuk).

The Americans have strength on the wings and depth in goal, but down the middle they are second-rate and they could be very young and inexperienced on the blue line.  The potential for a dominant defense corps in a few years, but their top end skill is too young and their veterans are older and for the most part slower.

Their edge in goal is not so substantial that they can overcome their lack of depth up the middle of the forward ranks.  The Americans will not be taking the gold medal in February.

 

 

 

Topics: David Backes, Derek Stepan, Joe Pavelski, Paul Stastny, Ryan Kesler, Team USA

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  • Matt Nolan

    I think your speculation is unfounded teams have beaten Canada with worse ie. the Swiss… backes pavelski and Kessler are not bad options sure they’re not Crosby toews but its not that huge a difference and more than enough to be competitive

    • Jared Crozier

      None of the US centres would even make the Canadian team up the middle. There is a bigger gap there than you seem to want to admit.

      • Matt Nolan

        Don’t get me wrong Canada is stacked like every year but the us centers are not that different from the team who split with you last time and while Crosby and toews are talented I don’t think there is that big a gap the only center gone from USA is Drury who was surely around for defense my only point was you can’t just say USA doesn’t have super star centers so they’re gonna loose when really they’re not a lot different than the team who stood eye to eye with them the NHL is such a competitive league that saying one team will loose is kinda rediculous USA definitely has enough talent all around the ice to compete