The most impressive team through the first two days of the Men’s Hockey Tournament is clearly the United States after a 7-1 trouncing over Slovakia.
Paul Stastny scored twice and Phil Kessel led the way with a goal and two assists. John Carlson, David Backes, Ryan Kesler and Dustin Brown also scored in the win. Patrick Kane, T.J. Oshie and James van Riemsdyk each added two assists apiece in the win.
Jonathan Quick who got the start over Ryan Miller, made 22 saves.
While this was a Slovakia team with some bad players in their lineup like former Penguin Tomas Surovy who was a minus-4 in 12:11 of ice time, this was still a team that isn’t a pushover.
One thing that might have gotten over looked with the United States is how the personnel is really built for a Dan Bylsma type of team.
It’s a group filled with Bylsma type of players as he loves players who have a grinders mentality that possess speed and get to pucks fast in the offensive zone.
Why a Bylsma coached team could be destined for success in this type of tournament:
Look at the Penguins success against the Western Conference over the years. The style the Penguins play under Bylsma often overwhelms teams when they only see the Penguins once or twice a year as I’ve heard that notion from Western Conference teams, and with Team USA having the personnel to be a fast puck possession team and tough to play against to fit Bylsma’s style, they could be a team that’s gotten a bit overlooked and built to win in this type of tournament.
Where Bylsma has been exposed as a coach is in seven game series when adjustments are able to be made by the opposition. This tournament doesn’t fit that criteria.
Saturday’s showdown with Russia pegs two totally different style of teams against each other. Don’t be surprised if the United States game of speed and puck possession gives the Russians lots of problems.
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