Monday, April 21, 2008

US Falls to Russians

The United States U18 team lost this morning to Russia, by a score of 3-1, in the semifinals of the World U18 championships. The game story is here. They'll take on Sweden at 7am EST tomorrow morning for the bronze medal.

The game with Sweden should be a great one. The US lost a tough 5-4 game to the Swedes earlier in the tournament, and similar incarnations of these squads have had some great battles over the past two years.

Still, even a win tomorrow probably wouldn't save this tournament from being a bit of a disappointment in the US. This tournament a real measuring stick for US hockey, and anything less than a first or second place finish isn't necessarily a failure, but it also isn't up to expectations. Though it definitely deserves mentioning that thanks to the NTDP, a first or second place finish is an expectation, and not a pleasant surprise.

The tournament does confirm what people have been saying for a while, which is that this is a pretty down year for the US. In a somewhat telling stat, only three US players were among the tournaments top 30 scorers: Jeremy Morin, a '91 birthdate, David Warsofsky, who was added to the team this past summer, and Phil McRae, who left the team to play for the London Knights. Team USA's starting goalie for the majority of games was Brandon Maxwell, also a '91 birthdate. This US team was also without two potential first round draft picks in defenseman Zach Bogosian and forward AJ Jenks, who both went to the OHL.


Anonymous said...

And Canada with mostly Major Junior players are plying for the Gold...just like the recent U17 in London, were they beat the US

Anonymous said...

The US 90 birth year is pretty weak, but the US will rebound nicely with the 91 and 92 birthyears. As the 91 birthyear has 3 guys that were rated in the top 5 for the OHL draft in Beau Schmitz, Cam Fowler, and Jeremy Morin. Also, for the QMJHL, the US holds John Henrion an absolute sniper who recently commited to UNH; it looks as though he has a bright future ahead of him as well. The 1992 US has Austin Watson, John Merril, Jon Parker all rated in the top 10 for this years OHL draft, and Luke Moffat was by far and out the best prospect for last years WHL draft. In the QMJHL, the US also has some good players who have top 3 round potentional. The 93 birth year looks strong as well, but it is a little far off to tell. Why do I say this? Yes, perhaps the Canadien Major Junior kids do have a slight edge in competition right now, but everyone takes a different route to get to the same place, the NHL. Thus, one cannot say which route is better at this point in the pivotal developmental stages at the ages of 17 and 18 because no one knows how good these kids will be. Canada you can hold onto your 17, 18, and world junior championships, but the USA is not close behind in terms of development, they just started a little later than you.

Anonymous said...

I would love for USA Hockey to revamp their system. They could do so much more for the sport other than the NTDP

There is alot of money put into the program where it seems they are partially developing players for the CHL. The money could be better spent in a number of different ways.

Anything less than a gold at the U-18 tournament is a laugh. This team prepares for 2 years together.But then get beat by various rag-tag teams?

Anonymous said...

Mitch Wahl, is also considered a first round pick.

Anonymous said...

So, Canada is killing the Russians 8-0. They will win the U17, U18 and the U20, using mostly players from Canadian Major Junior. I guess it doesn't show anything about the development of players in MJ, RIGHT?

Anonymous said...

Canada was using Major Junior kids, and, only using about 50% of the available pool.

At the start of that tournament approximately 50% of the CHL teams were still in their playoffs.

Anonymous said...

Mitch Wahl and AJ Jenks are NOT first round picks. Try 2nd or 3rd round. Philip McRae is alright, he has all the tools but his numbers are just average in the OHL. He just needs to get it all together.

Team Canada that won gold...that was only a "B" team since it was featuring players that are available and basically had to come together as a team in weeks, unlike other countries who play together all year long. 8-0!! What a beating. Go Team Canada!

Anonymous said...

Don't be surprised if someone uses a late first round pick on Jenks. Every year a surprise first round pick happens and he could be it. He has pro size and the tools to go with it.