Team USA Hockey announced their men’s roster following the Winter Classic yesterday. For Chicago
Blackhawk fans, the list of hometown players selected may have felt a little short. Patrick Kane was the
lone representative for Chicago while Brandon Saad was left off the roster. Kane was a no-brainer choice
for the U.S. team that won silver at the 2010 Winter Olympics. Saad’s play this season put him on the
bubble, but the USA brass led by Nashville Predators’ general manager David Poile chose to go another
Saad may not have made the Team USA Hockey roster outright, but there is a good chance he can make
the team if an injury occurs.
Scott Burnside of ESPN was privy to the selection process discussions and wrote an informative piece
for ESPN.com detailing the process used to select the 25 members. Among the braintrusts apart of the
in-person and phone conferences was Blackhawk GM Stan Bowman. To no one’s surprise, Bowman was
one of the people vouching for Saad’s inclusion. One very telling quote from him called the left winger a
“younger (Marian) Hossa.” Calgary Flames GM Brian Burke called Saad and recently selected St. Louis
Blues right winger T.J. Oshie “fix-it” players.
Two-way players stood a good chance of making the U.S. roster. Saad was one of the better choices left
There were a few head-scratching choices for Team USA Hockey. Forwards Blake Wheeler, Derek
Stepan, and Dustin Brown, defensemen Brooks Orpik and Cam Fowler, and goaltender Jimmy Howard
are among the more debated names selected for Sochi. According to Burnside’s piece, Wheeler’s speed
and size made him an asset, Stepan gives the U.S. depth at center, and Brown is captain material in the
eyes of the selection committee. Orpik plays for Team USA coach Dan Bylsma in Pittsburgh and is a
pretty good defensive defenseman despite a lack of speed needed for larger international play ice rinks.
Fowler has been playing extremely well as a 22-year old blueliner on one of hockey’s best clubs in
Anaheim. Jimmy Howard made the team due to his past play and reputation more so than his current
numbers, according to Burnside’s article.
Perceived snubs include forwards Saad, Bobby Ryan, Kyle Okposo, and Jason Pominville, defensemen
Dustin Byfuglien and Keith Yandle, and goalies Ben Bishop and Cory Schneider.
Injury replacements can be named to the roster just before February 13.
Back in the Midwest, five players from Chicago and St. Louis made Team USA. Kane, Saad, Oshie,
David Backes, and Kevin Shattenkirk will represent I-55. While Blues fans may want to take the
selections as a razzing-point to use against Blackhawk fans, lest we forget: