Published: Sat, February 10, 2018
Sports | By Spencer Underwood

Winter Olympics: Stauber leaves imprint on USA women's hockey team

Winter Olympics: Stauber leaves imprint on USA women's hockey team

Standing in the way of the women, team Canada in what has become an intense rivalry. Desjardins isn't concerned about that.

"With this team and with this country, the pressure of winning gold comes hand in hand", Saulnier said.

The 2002 Salt Lake City Games, when Canada captured its first Olympic gold medal in women's hockey, inspired a nine-year-old Saulnier.

The Winter Olympics men's hockey tournament usually provides us with loads of intrigue due to the NHL talent spread across each roster.

The result is a US roster filled with former NHL players, college athletes, players in the American Hockey League and primarily players who are now playing in European leagues. The field is essentially wide open without the best hockey players in the world competing.

What they saw on the ice was a fast-paced practice with players hurtling down the big ice surface as if propelled by a slingshot. Does that make them the best team for two weeks? No. "We know it, they know it, and that's just the way it has been". We've been putting all this work and time and energy into making sure that we're primed and ready to go at the right moments. While the days of the men's team being centralized for an extended period are pretty much extinguished, the competition in November helped Team USA learn each other's hockey styles and personalities, creating a baseline for the team when it convenes in Pyeongchang and open competition with a preliminary-round game against Slovenia on February 14.

Olympic hockey differs from NHL hockey in several different ways, the bigger ice surface being the most glaring.

"We're really focused on our personal event", said Guillaume Cizeron, who with Gabrielle Papadakis are two-time ice dance world champions and among the favorites in that competition.

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"I think that is what people will latch onto quickly with this club. It doesn't matter who's wearing the jersey, Canadians can play hockey".

From the oldest player in 39-year-old captain Brian Gionta to the youngest in 20-year-old Troy Terry, differences and the distance gap disappeared among all the messages from players at all hours of the day. I think that's how teams succeed is you don't want to disappoint that guy that's sitting next to you. "I'm a guy that tries to lead by example and go out there and do whatever's asked of the team and hold guys accountable to that same standard". Plus, the pairs teams that are medal contenders must be cognizant of the fact that their individual event begins two days after the team event finishes. He was also named Memorial Cup MVP.

Hockey Canada has embraced its non-NHL team and vagabond roots. Most of the rosters are made up of journeymen plying their trade in pro leagues in Europe, such as Czech Republic captain Martin Erat, Germany's Christian Ehrhoff and Canada's Ben Scrivens.

Jordan Greenway didn't have much time to think about being a pioneer. "It's not going to have the star power but I think it's going to get back a little bit to the roots of amateur athletics to some degree are supposed to be about".

It was a brutal loss for everyone associated with the USA hockey team.

"A lot of teams feel they have a chance to compete for a medal and that alone will make it intense", Canada general manager Sean Burke said. It's exposed more people to our game - some people would say non-tradiitonal. The United States of America has participated in the Winter Olympics for nearly a century, and no U.S. Olympic roster until now has included an African American player.

While the number of black players in the National Hockey League and at other levels has increased over the past decade and more, Greenway said he would be happy to provide an example for others to "try something different, try a different sport". And while his race - obviously - has no tangible impact on his play, Greenway is well aware of the far-reaching impact that his inclusion on the USA national team may have. A scheduling snafu four years ago kept the squad from experiencing that thrill in Sochi, Russia.

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