The US named a young ice hockey squad featuring 20 Olympic rookies on Friday, hoping an injection of fresh blood will lead to a successful assault on a gold medal at next month’s Vancouver Winter Games.
Only three players with Olympic experience — Chris Drury, Brian Rafalski and Jamie Langenbrunner — were called up by Team USA general manager Brian Burke, who announced the squad on the ice at Fenway Park moments after the NHL’s third Winter Classic.
The remainder of the squad will get their first taste of the Olympic pressure cooker when they open against Switzerland on Feb. 16.
Burke’s squad selection signals a turning of the page within US hockey as long-time stalwarts of the national team such as Mike Modano, Scott Gomez, Bill Guerin and Keith Tkachuk were all replaced by younger charges.
The roster includes the current top three US scorers in the NHL, Chicago’s Patrick Kane, New Jersey’s Zach Parise and Colorado’s Paul Stastny. along with Nashville defenseman Ryan Suter.
Goaltending should be one of Team USA’s strengths with Buffalo’s Ryan Miller and Boston’s Tim Thomas, last season’s Vezina trophy winner as the NHL’s top netminder, expected to fight for the starting assignment.
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