U.S. hoping experience can lift them to Sochi gold

Wed Jan 1, 2014 7:24pm EST
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ANN ARBOR, Michigan (Reuters) - Ryan Miller, the most valuable player at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games, and Stanley Cup MVP Patrick Kane will head to Sochi looking for gold after being named to the U.S. Olympic men's ice hockey team on Wednesday.

The U.S. roster includes 13 Olympians, who lost to Canada in the gold medal final four years ago on Sidney Crosby's overtime winner, and U.S. general manager David Poile says the team heads to Russia targeting top spot on the podium.

Certainly the U.S. will enjoy a huge bump in experience in Sochi with Buffalo Sabres netminder Miller, Chicago Blackhawks sniper Kane and Minnesota Wild defenceman Ryan Suter, a Norris trophy finalist last season, anchoring the squad.

Goaltending will be a strength for the U.S. with the Los Angeles Kings' Jonathan Quick, the 2012 Conn Smythe trophy winner, battling Miller for the starting assignment.

In Vancouver, the American team featured just three players with Olympic experience.

"We went through a very thorough process to get to today and could not be happier with the team we've selected," Poile, general manager of the Nashville Predators, told reporters. "We're fortunate to have probably the deepest talent pool we've ever had in our country and that made for some very difficult decisions.

"In the end, however, we're confident we've selected a group of players that puts us in the best position to have success in Sochi."

The announcement was made following the NHL's outdoor Winter Classic between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings with kids called out onto the ice in front of over 100,000 roaring fans wearing a Team USA sweater bearing the name of each member of the squad.

The Americans will be grouped with Russia, Slovakia and Slovenia in the preliminary round of the Games in Sochi. Their first game will be February 13 against Slovakia.   Continued...

Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller (30) deflects the puck during the first period against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports