U.S. being hit hardest by NHL’s absence at PyeongChang 2018

U.S. being hit hardest by NHL’s absence at PyeongChang 2018

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It will take another “Miracle on Ice” for the United States to revive its chances of medaling in PyeongChang. The U.S. was completely outmatched during a 4-0 loss to the Olympic Athletes from Russia on Saturday night. In fact, the scoreline may have flattered the Americans, considering how disorganized, disinterested, and overwhelmed they looked for the vast majority of the contest. With the exception of Ryan Donato’s two power-play goals during a 2-1 win over Slovakia, the U.S. hasn’t put together a stretch of competent play in this tournament. The team’s disappointing performance has made it even more painful to think about what could have been under normal circumstances. It was a wildly unpopular decision for the NHL to bar its players from participating in PyeongChang, but it didn’t appear to hurt the U.S. any more than its rivals. Prior to the tournament, Canada and Finland could’ve argued they were the countries most affected by the ruling, with all of their top players playing in the NHL. But, after three lackluster games – which included a blown lead to minnow Slovenia, a narrow win over Slovakia, and a thorough beating from the Olympic Athletes from Russia – it’s clear the Americans are suffering the most from the NHL’s non-participation, with a golden generation of players stuck watching from the sidelines. Kovalchuk after Russians’ 4-0 shutout of #teamUSA: “After last game you guys are still showing highlights of Oshie scoring goals.”— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) February 17, 2018 A new wave of American stars has taken over the NHL since the country finished fourth at Sochi 2014. Calgary Flames standout Johnny Gaudreau ranks second in league scoring, Auston Matthews has already earned demigod status for reviving the Toronto Maple Leafs, Jack Eichel is the focal point of the Buffalo Sabres, and Vancouver Canucks rookie Brock Boeser is the front-runner for the Calder Trophy. That core, combined with veteran stalwarts Phil Kessel, Patrick Kane and Blake Wheeler, would have been enough to win gold. Watching this year’s group falter miserably only makes the contrast seem crueler. On top of all that, the biggest difference is that the U.S. would’ve had its pick of standout NHL goaltenders. John Gibson, Connor Hellebuyck, Ben Bishop, or Jonathan Quick could’ve elevated the Americans to the top of the podium. Instead, Ryan Zapolski is nowhere near that caliber and looked completely outmatched while the Russians fired shots with pinpoint accuracy past him. A dejected Zapolski may be the enduring image of the U.S. team in PyeongChang. Overall, it’s great for USA Hockey that the country is undergoing a true renaissance with regards to player development. It’s just a shame that the progress can’t be displayed on the world stage. Instead, the contrast between the country’s top talents and the roster in PyeongChang is apparent – and difficult to watch – every time the U.S. takes the ice. Copyright © 2018 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license. ⚓️ Leave a Reply and subscribe ⚓️ 🔥 Join The Family 🔥 : https://goo.gl/dYzyHg

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