Olympics, Winter

U.S. hockey team in Sochi built on endurance and speed

2/13/14 in Olympics, Winter   |   Mia781   |   953 respect

Feb 11, 2014; Sochi, RUSSIA; USA forward Phil Kessel (81) during an ice hockey training session for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games at Bolshoy Training Rink. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY SportsEvery nation’s hockey team is unique and has characteristics which define it. These are dependent on the players in the team and how it is managed by the coaches. All these make a matchup between every team a test of how they use their strengths and counter what the other team brings on the ice.
 
Canada has a very stable game with good centers. Even though Sweden has sustained a lot of injured players, their goalies know how to keep the puck out of the net. Finnish players have a rigid routine and discipline in their team which adds up to a great teamwork and combined effort which makes their coordination very fluid. Russia itself has a legendary reputation to keep up and the players there are naturally built on strength and play a rugged game.
 
When considering all of it, the question comes to mind about what team USA brings on the table with its Olympic hockey team as they head to their matchup against Slovakia on Thursday, and quite frankly it is unclear what their strong points are as they seem pretty balanced in almost everything.
 
Their goalie Jonathan Quick is great and even though is coming off a groin strain that kept him out of games from November 12 to January 4, he knows his way about the ice. Scoring goals will not be a problem either as Phil Kessel and Patrick Kane will be busy getting the puck in the net. For defense, they have Ryan Suter to handle that part.
 
All these factors are important but when their own player Kesler was asked to tell what were the things they were going to rely on, he said it would be their game speed.
 
"How fast we play," he said, "and the in-your-face hockey that we're going to play,” he said.
 
The team has chosen their precision and speed to be trademark characteristics to distinguish them from others. Quick said the team had quite a few goalies who could step up but it was a honor to be the one to start his position.
 
"We've got three great goalies on this team," Quick said. "Every one of us wants to play and wants to give this team a chance to win. I'm fortunate for the opportunity and you just try to make the most of it."
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