What team are most World Cup managers worried about the most when the tournament gets underway?
It’s no question Team North America.
The youthfulness and speed they possess up front projects to make them a daunting matchup.
Team North America’s 4-0 win over Team Europe showed much of that.
One NHL personnel man in attendance said he felt like he was watching the Penguins from their Stanley Cup run in how Team North America just suffocated the opposition with their speed in all three zones, notably the forecheck.
Team North America has the speed and skill to be a serious threat in the tournament and a deep run figures to come down to goaltender Matt Murray.
Murray made 23 saves in the shutout win over Team Europe.
Craig Custance of ESPN called Murray North America’s most important player in a recent feature and its hard to argue with that.
Not surprising is how many of Murray’s North America teammates are raving about Murray in how well he anticipates and reads the play. It’s an area of Murray’s game that I was writing about during Murray’s first season in Wilkes Barre that scouts marveled about and often said was a great barometer of Murray evolving into a franchise goaltender.
In Custance’s piece on Murray this week, Jonathan Drouin called Murray — Carey Price like. —
“He’s so calm,” Drouin said of Murray. “He’s kind of Carey Price-like. He waits for the puck to hit him. He’s relaxed. You can see it in practice.”
How Murray is viewed in Pittsburgh compared to outside of Pittsburgh has been an interesting dynamic this summer. Outside of Pittsburgh, many believe he’s the next coming of a top-5 goaltender long-term.
In Pittsburgh there seems to be more of pause with Murray and it’s not just the fan base and media.Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"