ANN ARBOR, Mich. — USA Hockey used to have it relatively easy picking players for the Olympics. Not anymore.
Bobby Ryan helped the United States earn a silver medal in 2010, and only 10 NHL players from all countries have more goals than he does (18) this season for the Senators. But unless Ryan gets a spot in place of an injured player, he won't be playing for the United States in February.
"We did not pick the best 25 players," U.S. and Predators GM David Poile said Wednesday after the team was announced at the Winter Classic. "We picked the best 25 players that we thought gave us a chance to compete and win the gold medal."
Also not making the cut were 2010 Olympic defensemen Jack Johnson of the Blue Jackets and Erik Johnson of the Avalanche. Jack Johnson is a 10-time national team member considered a pivotal figure in U.S. hockey's development.
"We're fortunate to have probably the deepest talent pool we've ever had in our country," Poile said, "and that made for some very difficult decisions."
The team has 13 holdovers from 2010. Little things mattered in the selection process, Poile said: faceoff success rates, skating speed, chemistry.
Some selected players are injured. If any are still ailing over the next month, they could be replaced by the snubbed.
Leafs win Classic, but weather is the star
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — A lot of winter. Very little classic hockey.
Light snow swirled down into the University of Michigan's stadium for the annual outdoor Winter Classic, making it tough to push the puck through piles of it on a sheet of ice where football is usually played.
The game-time temperature was 13 degrees, and a brisk wind pushed the wind chill to zero, also factors that made the game more of an event than, well, a game.
Tyler Bozak scored the winning shootout goal, lifting the Maple Leafs to a 3-2 victory over the Red Wings in front of 105,591, the largest crowd to watch a hockey game. "I was just lucky to get a stick on (the puck) and keep it low enough," Bozak said.
The Red Wings were not as fortunate in a game that was altered in a lot of ways because of the conditions.
Detroit's Henrik Zetterberg appeared to have good chance at a breakaway in overtime with the puck in Toronto's end and Leafs defenseman Cody Franson on his left side. But the horn sounded to stop play at the 2:30 mark of the 5-minute period so the teams could switch ends to play into a 10-plus mph wind for an equal amount of time.
The game also was halted midway through the third period so the teams could switch sides because of the wind. In the shootout, skaters for both teams attempted shots with the wind in their face toward the same net.
"The conditions made it so some of the skill in the game was eliminated," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said.
|Maple Leafs win shootout 2-1|
First—None. Penalties—Abdelkader, Det (cross-checking), 6:39; Lupul, Tor (cross-checking), 11:04; Phaneuf, Tor (holding), 16:21.
Second—1, Detroit, Alfredsson 11 (Zetterberg, B.Smith), 13:14. 2, Toronto, van Riemsdyk 15 (Kessel, Phaneuf), 19:23. Penalties—McClement, Tor (high-sticking), 13:36; Kindl, Det (closing hand on puck), 17:23.
Third—3, Toronto, Bozak 5 (Phaneuf), 4:41. 4, Detroit, Abdelkader 5 (B.Smith), 14:28. Penalties—van Riemsdyk, Tor (hooking), 11:45.
OT—None. Penalties—None. SO—Toronto 2 (van Riemsdyk NG, Lupul G, Bozak G), Detroit 1 (Alfredsson NG, Datsyuk G, Tatar NG). SOG—Toronto 5-13-6-2—26. Detroit 13-14-14-2—43. PP opps—Toronto 0 of 2; Detroit 0 of 4. Goalies—Toronto, Bernier 13-11-4 (43 shots-41 saves). Detroit, Howard 6-9-8 (26-24).
. Fast facts
U.S. Olympic team
The 25 players named to the men's team Wednesday (*—played on 2010 team):
Goalies: Jonathan Quick, Kings*; Ryan Miller, Sabres*; Jimmy Howard, Red Wings.
Defensemen: Ryan Suter, Wild*; Ryan McDonagh, Rangers, Paul Martin and Brooks Orpik*, Penguins; Justin Faulk, Hurricanes; John Carlson, Capitals; Kevin Shattenkirk, Blues; Cam Fowler, Ducks.
Forwards: Ryan Kesler, Canucks*; Dustin Brown, Kings*; Patrick Kane, Blackhawks*; David Backes* and T.J. Oshie, Blues; Zach Parise, Wild*; Joe Pavelski, Sharks*; Phil Kessel* and James van Riemsdyk, Maple Leafs; Derek Stepan and Ryan Callahan*, Rangers; Paul Stastny, Avalanche*; Max Pacioretty, Canadiens; Blake Wheeler, Jets.