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U.S. coach complimentary of young blue line in Olympic opener

Feb 14, 2014, 12:27 AM EDT

Ice Hockey - Winter Olympics Day 6 - Slovakia v United States Getty Images

The U.S. opened their schedule in the men’s ice hockey competition in Sochi with an impressive victory over Slovakia. While the positives to take out of that game were numerous, head coach Dan Bylsma highlighted the play of his team’s defenseman.

On the score sheet, the U.S. blue line accounted for only three points in what was a 7-1 thumping of Slovakia. But they also helped keep a talented Slovak team in check.

“Some of these guys have played in big games and been in big spotlights, but maybe none bigger than the one we were in [Thursday],” Bylsma said, as per

“I thought to get our feet underneath us, especially those young guys on defense, I thought they played large. We have Paul Martin and [Ryan] Suter back there, but Cam Fowler and John Carlson in particular, and Ryan McDonagh, played well on the back side.”

Carlson, a stand out on the blue line with the Washington Capitals in the National Hockey League, had a two-point night, including the first goal of the game.

“Looking at the back end of our team with a handful of guys playing their first games, it dawned on me that we are especially young on the back side,” Bylsma said. “I thought it was fitting that we scored the first goal from John Carlson there.”

  1. 13datsyuk13 - Feb 14, 2014 at 1:02 AM

    Carlson had a great game. I expected a better game from the Slovaks so giving credit to the American D is right on. If I’m not mistaken it was the experienced Suter who turned the puck over that led to the goal. USA looks good right now and I’m pumped. Does it get any better than cheering for Quick and hating Babcock for a couple of weeks?

    • ignath - Feb 14, 2014 at 8:05 AM

      If you watch a replay of that “turnover”, Suter actually got the puck out of the zone, while a Slovak was still in…it should have not even been a goal (and the final 7 – 0) as the zebra missed an offsides call.

  2. endusersolutions2013 - Feb 14, 2014 at 2:40 AM

    Conflicted loyalties all around. Person? NHL Team? National Team – serious cross purpose currents.

  3. 13datsyuk13 - Feb 14, 2014 at 8:39 AM

    That’s not what the score sheet says.

    • fightingwild - Feb 14, 2014 at 9:03 AM

      It doesn’t matter what the stat sheet says, if you watched the game you know it was out. Just because the linesman screwed it up. Could Suter have made a smarter play? Sure he could have but We still won & that is the only thing that matters.

  4. 13datsyuk13 - Feb 14, 2014 at 12:31 PM

    It doesn’t matter what the score sheet says? Based on that logic the Slovaks won.

  5. slysipops - Feb 14, 2014 at 8:24 PM

  6. stevefromsacto - Feb 14, 2014 at 8:59 PM

    Carlson scored a “golden goal” to win the World Junior Championships for the USA. He’s a winner and a class act. It won’t be the last we’ll hear from him in Sochi.

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