Getty Images

Back to school, work looms for Olympic hockey players

Leave a comment

GANGNEUNG, South Korea (AP) — Brian Gionta could go from facing Martin Erat in the Olympics to facing Filip Forsberg in the NHL.

Tony Granato will go back to coaching JD Greenway at Wisconsin after having brother Jordan play for him on the U.S. men’s team. Jordan Greenway and Ryan Donato will go back to their college teams in and around Boston after celebrating goals together on Olympic ice.

The end of the Olympics means players, coaches and everyone around the tournament return to their day jobs, some more glamorous than others. After putting their seasons on hold to focus on the Olympics, what’s next for players varies drastically from the bright lights of the NHL to bus life in the minors to plane trips across Siberia.

For players who thrived on the big stage, the no-NHL Olympics was a blessing and one that will boost them moving forward.

“It definitely helped me as a player, my confidence, and knowing how I can play at this level,” said forward Troy Terry, the youngest player on the U.S. team who is an Anaheim Ducks prospect playing at the University of Denver, last season’s NCAA champion. “I’m just trying to keep this going, and I feel good as a player. I’m coming out of here with confidence and I’m just trying to bring that back to Denver and hopefully try and make another run at a national championship.”

Granato’s Wisconsin Badgers, Greenway’s Boston University Terriers and Donato’s Harvard Crimson will try to prevent that as the attention turns from South Korea to getting to St. Paul, Minnesota, for the Frozen Four.

Seventeen years removed from winning his national title at Boston College, Gionta said of an NHL return “we’ll see what happens.” He said he thinks he played well in South Korea and created scoring chances even though he had zero points and a minus-4 rating. The 39-year-old winger led the United States with 16 shots on goal.

Fellow captain Chris Kelly is in a similar role for Canada, and he and agent Pat Morris each said the 37-year-old forward is focused on the Olympics and not potentially signing a contract. Kelly, Gionta and U.S. defenseman James Wisniewski would have to sign before 3 p.m. Eastern on Monday to be playoff-eligible.

Kelly and Canada defenseman Maxim Noreau said they’re in an Olympic bubble and trying not to worry about their NHL chances. Kelly has gotten the silent treatment from Morris on that topic — in a good way.

“I think he knows,” Kelly said. “We’ve been together since I was I think 19 and he knows to leave me alone.”

Some players have no interest in playing in the NHL — at least right now. Greenway, a Minnesota Wild prospect, said he’s going back to college, and Nashville Predators prospect Eeli Tolvanen is focused on the Kontinental Hockey League playoffs with Jokerit.

The KHL has the most players in this tournament with 92 and resumes play Monday, a day after the closing ceremony in South Korea. Canada forward Wojtek Wolski, who has 99 career regular-season NHL goals, has a KHL contract with Metallurg Magnitogorsk and doesn’t mind going back to that life.

“I had a couple good years in Magnitogorsk,” Wolski said. “I’m comfortable there. I’m happy there.”

Donato is happy at Harvard, so much that his father, Ted, said it’s hard to say when his son might make the leap to play for the Boston Bruins. Donato led the U.S. with five goals and certainly looks ready.

“There’s so many factors involved with being NHL-ready,” said Ted Donato, who played 12 NHL seasons and coaches Ryan at Harvard. “One certainly would be the opportunity presented yourself and the right timing.”

The 21-year-old Donato credits Gionta and older players for his play and figures he’ll take some more confidence back to school. The NHL is on his mind, but he doesn’t know when.

“Obviously it’s a dream,” Donato said. “I grew up as a kid wanting to play in the NHL and especially for the Bruins, but at the end of the day I want to graduate as well. We’ll see what the future holds.”

 

USA Hockey names Olympic, Paralympic rosters

Leave a comment

NEW YORK — The first U.S. Olympic men’s hockey roster without NHL players since 1994 includes one previous Olympian, the son of a Canadian legend and four NCAA skaters.

Brian Gionta, the leading goal scorer on the 2006 Olympic team, and Chris Bourque, son of Hockey Hall of Famer Ray Bourque, headline the 23 men announced at the Winter Classic on Monday.

Gionta is the captain. Two more goalies must still be named.

The U.S. opens PyeongChang group play against Slovenia on Feb. 14. Russia, the gold-medal favorite, and Slovakia are also in the group, which is the same four teams as in 2014.

The full rosters for the Olympic women’s team and the Paralympic team were also named Monday.

The U.S. women are led by captain Meghan Duggan and fellow forwards Hilary Knight and Amanda Kessel, all part of the Sochi silver-medal team.

The full teams named Monday:

U.S. Olympic Men’s Hockey Roster
Goalies

Ryan Zapolski (Russia) — NHL Games: 0
TBA
TBA

Defensemen
Chad Billins (Sweden) — NHL Games: 10
Jonathon Blum (Russia) — NHL Games: 110
Will Borgen (NCAA) — NHL Games: 0
Matt Gilroy (Russia) — NHL Games: 225
Ryan Gunderson (Sweden) — NHL Games: 0
Bobby Sanguinetti (Switzerland) — NHL Games: 45
Noah Welch (Sweden) — NHL Games: 75
James Wisniewski (Germany) — NHL Games: 552

Forwards
Mark Arcobello (Switzerland) — NHL Games: 139
Chris Bourque (AHL) — NHL Games: 51
Bobby Butler (AHL) — NHL Games: 130
Ryan Donato (NCAA) — NHL Games: 0
Brian Gionta (unsigned) — NHL Games: 1,006
Jordan Greenway (NCAA) — NHL Games: 0
Chad Kolarik (Germany) — NHL Games: 6
Broc Little (Switzerland) — NHL Games: 0
John McCarthy (AHL) — NHL Games: 88
Brian O’Neill (Russia) — NHL Games: 22
Garrett Roe (Switzerland) — NHL Games: 0
Jim Slater (Switzerland) — NHL Games: 584
Ryan Stoa (Russia) — NHL Games: 40
Troy Terry (NCAA) — NHL Games: 0

MORE: Analysis of U.S. Olympic men’s hockey roster

—————————————

U.S. Olympic Women’s Hockey Roster
Goalies
Nicole Hensley
Alex Rigsby
Maddie Rooney

Defenders
Cayla Barnes
Kacey Bellamy — Olympian (2010, 2014)
Kali Flanagan
Megan Keller
Sidney Morin
Emily Pfalzer
Lee Stecklein — Olympian (2014)

Forwards
Hannah Brandt
Dani Cameranesi
Kendall Coyne — Olympian (2014)
Brianna Decker — Olympian (2014)
Meghan Duggan — Olympian (2010, 2014)
Amanda Kessel — Olympian (2014)
Hilary Knight — Olympian (2010, 2014)
Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson — Olympian (2010, 2014)
Monique Lamoureux-Morando — Olympian (2010, 2014)
Gigi Marvin — Olympian (2010, 2014)
Kelly Pannek
Amanda Pelkey
Haley Skarupa

MORE: Analysis of U.S. Olympic women’s hockey roster

—————————————

U.S. Paralympic Hockey Roster
Goalies
Steve Cash — Paralympian (2006, 2010, 2014)
Jen Lee — Paralympian (2014)

Defensemen
Tyler Carron — Paralympian (2014)
Ralph DeQuebec
Billy Hanning
Nikko Landeros — Paralympian (2010, 2014)
Josh Pauls — Paralympian (2010, 2014)

Forwards
Travis Dodson
Declan Farmer — Paralympian (2014)
Noah Grove
Luke McDermott
Kevin McKee — Paralympian (2014)
Josh Misiewicz
Adam Page — Paralympian (2010, 2014)
Rico Roman — Paralympian (2014)
Brody Roybal — Paralympian (2014)
Jack Wallace

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Full Olympic hockey schedule

U.S. Olympic men’s hockey roster

Leave a comment

NEW YORK — The first U.S. Olympic men’s hockey roster without NHL players since 1994 includes one previous Olympian, the son of a Canadian legend and four NCAA skaters.

Brian Gionta, the leading goal scorer on the 2006 Olympic team, and Chris Bourque, son of Hockey Hall of Famer Ray Bourque, headline the 23 men announced at the Winter Classic on Monday.

Gionta is the captain. Two more goalies must still be announced.

The U.S. opens PyeongChang group play against Slovenia on Feb. 14. Russia and Slovakia are also in the group, which is the same four teams as in 2014.

The U.S. Olympic roster:

Goalies
Ryan Zapolski (Russia) — NHL Games: 0
TBA
TBA

Defensemen
Chad Billins (Sweden) — NHL Games: 10
Jonathon Blum (Russia) — NHL Games: 110
Will Borgen (NCAA) — NHL Games: 0
Matt Gilroy (Russia) — NHL Games: 225
Ryan Gunderson (Sweden) — NHL Games: 0
Bobby Sanguinetti (Switzerland) — NHL Games: 45
Noah Welch (Sweden) — NHL Games: 75
James Wisniewski (Germany) — NHL Games: 552

Forwards
Mark Arcobello (Switzerland) — NHL Games: 139
Chris Bourque (AHL) — NHL Games: 51
Bobby Butler (AHL) — NHL Games: 130
Ryan Donato (NCAA) — NHL Games: 0
Brian Gionta (unsigned) — NHL Games: 1,006
Jordan Greenway (NCAA) — NHL Games: 0
Chad Kolarik (Germany) — NHL Games: 6
Broc Little (Switzerland) — NHL Games: 0
John McCarthy (AHL) — NHL Games: 88
Brian O’Neill (Russia) — NHL Games: 22
Garrett Roe (Switzerland) — NHL Games: 0
Jim Slater (Switzerland) — NHL Games: 584
Ryan Stoa (Russia) — NHL Games: 40
Troy Terry (NCAA) — NHL Games: 0

USA Hockey officials and head coach Tony Granato previously said the team would include a mix of players based in European leagues, the AHL and the NCAA.

The breakdown:

Europe: 15 (Russia-5, Swiss-5, Sweden-3, German-2)
NCAA: 4
AHL: 3
Unsigned: 1 (Gionta trains with an AHL team)
Players with NHL experience: 15 of 23
Total NHL experience: 3,083 games (avg. 134 per player)

A notable absence is Ryan Malone, a 2010 Olympic silver medalist who unretired in the summer in a bid to return to the Games.

Gionta, a 38-year-old who may have played his last competitive club game, will become the oldest U.S. Olympic hockey player since Chris Chelios in 2006. Chelios is an assistant coach for this year’s team.

Granato said that Gionta looked “in midseason form” in the U.S.’ pre-Olympic tournament in November.

Granato knew Gionta would be the team captain as soon as the 15-season NHL veteran expressed interest in Team USA months ago.

“Plenty of other players you consider great leaders, but there’s one Brian Gionta,” said Granato, who retired from the NHL prior to Gionta’s first season in 2001-02. “We’re lucky he’s an American.”

Bourque, the AHL’s leading points scorer, will become the second Olympian in his family. Father Ray, the longtime Boston Bruins defenseman, played for Canada at the 1998 Nagano Winter Games.

“It’s one of the biggest moments in not only my hockey career, but in my life,” Bourque said, according to his AHL team, the Hershey (Pa.) Bears.

Borgen, Donato, Greenway and Terry will be the first college men to play for a U.S. Olympic team since 1994. Terry, 20, will be the youngest U.S. man to play at the Olympics since 1992.

Zapolski, 31, has been the star U.S. goalie playing abroad this season. He was the KHL goalie of the month for October, including a 245-minute shutout streak, third-longest in league history.

“He’s on our roster, the first goalie for a reason,” Granato said when asked if Zapolski would be his No. 1 goalie in PyeongChang.

Granato said the other two goalies will be named in the next two weeks.

Fifteen of the 23 players were on the U.S. team at the Deutschland Cup in Germany in November.

The Americans went 0-3 at the Deutschland Cup but outshot Slovakia, Russia and Germany by a combined 95 to 60.

The U.S. is the first nation to announce its Olympic men’s hockey team. Canada’s is expected to be named next week.

The Olympic favorite is Russia, since it is expected to lean heavily on KHL stars such as four-time Olympians Pavel Datsyuk and Ilya Kovalchuk.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Full Olympic hockey schedule