Feb 11, 2014, 3:45 PM EDT
On a team loaded with talent, Dan Bylsma is focusing on the team’s ability to put in work.
“We have a blue-collar mentality,” the U.S. Olympic head coach said on Tuesday. “That is where our strength is at.”
It’s not surprising that Bylsma, a bottom-six grinder during his nine-year playing career, is embracing his team’s workmanlike characteristics. The style served the U.S. well in Vancouver four years ago, allowing six goals in five games en route to the gold medal game, three coming in a win over Canada in the preliminary stage.
While Ryan Miller took home most of the accolades for that defensive effort, others contributed with a decidedly lunch-bucket approach. Veteran forward Chris Drury killed penalties and blocked shots with aplomb. Captain Jamie Langenbrunner also turned in a gritty performance, as did the likes of Ryan Kesler and David Backes.
Four years later, the American team displays similar characteristics.
Rangers captain Ryan Callahan seems primed to fill the Drury mold, even though he plays wing instead of center. A heart-and-soul guy, Callahan was a bit player in Vancouver but should have a more significant role this time around, thanks to his ability to block shots (he led all NHL forwards with 66 during the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign) and play the body. Callahan acknowledged he’ll probably be asked to kill penalties in Sochi, one of his prime responsibilities with the Blueshirts.
“I’m guessing I’ll be doing that, yeah,” Callahan said, per the New York Daily News. “It’s always a big part of my game.”
Dustin Brown, a holdover from the ’10 team, is another that embodies the blue-collar approach with 187 hits this year, third-most in the NHL. Same goes for T.J. Oshie, tops among Blues forwards in blocked shots.
All these players seem to share similar traits — speed, tenacity and the ability to get nasty if need be. Bylsma said this was all part of the selection process.
“We looked at the strength of each player and we thought we would be a good skating team, a smart and intelligent team,” he said. Our group is toughest to play against.
“Look right down the line from the top to the last defenseman. We are tough.”
Apr 18, 2014, 2:27 PM EDT
30-year-old vet led the league in scoring.
Apr 18, 2014, 2:10 PM EDT
Usually he reserves that word for his own team.
Apr 18, 2014, 2:02 PM EDT
“It wasn’t very appropriate at all.”
Apr 18, 2014, 1:43 PM EDT
“It’s a good step,” he said.
Apr 18, 2014, 1:25 PM EDT
Apr 18, 2014, 12:53 PM EDT
Rookie goalie Frederik Andersen made 32 stops for Anaheim in Game 1.
Apr 18, 2014, 12:05 PM EDT
Catch the game tonight on NBCSN at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Apr 18, 2014, 11:59 AM EDT
Andrew Barroway has company in his pursuit of Charles Wang’s (pictured) Brooklyn-bound team.
Apr 18, 2014, 11:58 AM EDT
Suggesting they’ll hold onto the fifth overall selection at this year’s draft.
Apr 18, 2014, 11:30 AM EDT
That would be the gesture right there.
Apr 18, 2014, 11:18 AM EDT
More adversity for Tampa Bay.
Apr 18, 2014, 10:49 AM EDT
“Luckily he’s married.”
Apr 18, 2014, 10:45 AM EDT
Plus a look at Game 2 of the Bolts-Habs and Stars-Ducks series.
Apr 18, 2014, 10:08 AM EDT
He’ll try to end the year on an up note.
Apr 18, 2014, 9:22 AM EDT
They’re not intimidated by the Penguins.
Apr 18, 2014, 8:24 AM EDT
Three games will keep your Friday night occupied.
Apr 18, 2014, 2:27 AM EDT
But it’s one game.
Apr 18, 2014, 1:37 AM EDT
Apr 18, 2014, 1:21 AM EDT
Things got interesting in the third period.
Apr 18, 2014, 12:53 AM EDT
- NHL looking into Quenneville’s ‘grabby’ gesture from Game 1 31
- Getzlaf to play Game 2, looks awful 15
- Video: PHT Extra — can Detroit exploit Boston’s blueline? 11
- Sharks go on the attack, defeat Kings in Game 1 16
- Avalanche win in OT, complete third-period comeback 57
- Blues prevail in longest game in franchise history as Steen scores in third OT 23
- Video: Sharks’ Brown runs Voynov into Quick, scrum ensues 2
- Opportunistic Rangers pull away from Flyers, take 1-0 series lead 63
- WATCH LIVE: Minnesota Wild at Colorado Avalanche (Game 1) 1
- WATCH LIVE: Chicago Blackhawks at St. Louis Blues (Game 1) 1