Tuesday, February 16, 2010

USA-Swiss 2nd Period Thoughts

At the end of two periods of play, Team USA leads Switzerland 3-zip. Second period goalscorers for the Americans were David Backes with a great end-to-end rush culminating in a forehand deke, and Ryan Malone banging home a rebound for a power play goal. USA's first of the tournament. Some second period thoughts:

-Backes has been USA's best player, noticeable every shift and on for two of three markers. He's really throwing his weight around and utilizing his size and speed. Can he develop into a power forward in St. Louis? The Blues hope so.

-Disappointed in Paul Stastny, who's overskated and passed up a great opportunity from 16 feet away in the slot, messing up a 3-on-2 by passing to Patrick Kane on a bad angle. Stastny's the No.1 center on this team but he's slowed down both 20 cent and Zach Attack.

-USA has been guilty of two poor pinches leading to odd-man rushes against, including a dangerous 3-on-1 that should've been converted. However, Julien Sprunger couldn't cash it shooting over the top with Miller down and out. He also had a quality chance in first but his wraparound was stuffed by the Buffalo netminder.

-Like what I see from Joe Pavelski, who's wearing No.16. He was doing some excellent work in front distracting Hiller enough so Malone could get to the rebound and steer it home. However, as much as I like him, he's not a "poor man's Joe Sakic" yet Pierre McGuire. But certainly a guy the Sharks must lock up this summer. If they don't, I'd love the Rangers to go after him.

-Nice work also by Phil Kessel on one shift, creating a chance for linemates. He's seen some top line duty and time with Pavelski.

-Drury and Callahan continue to impress along with Ryan. All three have been real noticeable.

-Nice read by Ryan Suter on the PPG seeing the traffic and getting the shot through for a helper. Erik Johnson's also looked strong on the blueline.

-Third period's on. We'll be back to wrap up hopefully a Team USA victory.

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