team USA is the black lodge

Derek from TPB wrote this for PDL about the Burnside exposé on the Team USA selection process:

Felt the same way reading it–it was very uncomfortable to read such things said about Keith Yandle and Bobby Ryan.

The way we see it, if you closely follow the NHL and take a professional-enough interest in it to not constantly be blinded by fan bias, you fall into one of two camps:

  1. In most cases, you end up in the NHL, period, because you have some amount of talent, skill, or energy that makes you worthy of this level of hockey.  Most players are okay.  A selection process like this comes down to truly choosing the best of the best from a large pool of worthy candidates.
  2. Only some players are truly good, most of them are kind of just humps, and that's okay, but an elite roster only has room for truly good players.  (This is obviously the misanthropic view.)

And honestly the reality is probably a bit in between.  You don't have to be talentless to play like an asshole not worthy of your country.  Some people are just bad.  Some start big and fall hard.  Some guys look great on paper but you don't necessarily want them on your team because of things that don't show up on paper.  Think of how many goal scorers make you nervous on the backcheck, for example.

Personally, the Ryan snub seems downright odd to us, and Brian Burke seems to actually hate the guy.  But we obviously don't play the game so we're just assholes.  We would have envisioned Ryan on the second or third line of team USA.  No reason why he shouldn't be there.  We're still pretty excited about van Riemsdyk and Phil Kessel.  We're still surprised every year that Patrick Kane is American.

The defense gives us pause.  If they come together, they could be great.  If they don't, they're going to get run the fuck over by every other country's forwards. Waiting for this is going to be scary as fuck.

Goaltending situation is as murky as it gets.  Pretty much every American goaltender ever has been injured for significant stretches this year.  Jonathan Quick may soon be on conditioning assignment in the AHL.  We are hoping and praying that he is in game shape by February or that Ryan Miller can find a new purpose in life as an American.  Jimmy Howard is a shaky option.  We would have taken Ben Bishop.  The guy's stats speak for themselves this year, and there's no rule that says he would have to play if you want to give your trusted sidearms the first look.  JESUS

No word yet on whether Burnside's piece is actually a David Lynch miniseries.  Nightmares will kill you.

Go Pens and America.

P.s. USA lost to Russia in the WJC quarters this morning and no we cannot discuss it

single tear


About Zoë

from Fayette County, living in Boston, chronically fussy. Writing about the Penguins, the CWHL/women's hockey, and hockey/sports media criticism.