On Saturday night against Nashville, the Rangers played in front of Nashville GM and Team USA GM David Poile.
Earlier in the day, Poile had pretty much endorsed the fact that Ryan Callahan, Ryan McDonagh and Derek Stepan would be on Team USA bu that didn’t alleviate any of the pressure that Stepan and Callahan felt.
Callahan told the NY Daily News, that he wants to play well every night but knowing that the ultimate decision maker was in the stands makes the game mean that much more.
Stepan said that it was tough to not to think about Poile watching and that he just tried to play well and show everything that he can do on the ice.
Poile said, via the NY Post, that Team USA isn’t all that deep at center and they would like to see Stepan make the team.
At NHL.com, Dan Rosen has Derek Stepan centering Dustin Brown and Ryan Callahan, with Ryan McDonagh partnered with Kevin Shattenkirk.
Corey Masisak says that Stepan will center Bobby Ryan and Max Pacioretty, Callahan will be with Dustin Brown and Joe Pavelski and McDonagh partnered with John Carlson.
Corey Masisak, at NHL.com, looks at what could be Team USA’s roster in Sochi.
He notes that Ryan Callahan, likely slotted behind Patrick Kane and Phil Kessel at RW, could see himself on a line with Dustin Brown and David Backes. That line, he notes, would “not be a lot of fun to play against.”
Masisak says that Derek Stepan could end up as the number one center for Team USA and that Ryan McDonagh is a “burgeoning” star who could play a more offensive game with Alain Vigneault as head coach.
For more on Team USA and the Olympics, CLICK HERE.
9:07AM: Michael Russo notes that USA GM David Poile has told his coaching staff that the USA leadership group consists of Zach Parise, Ryan Suter, Dustin Brown, David Backes and Ryan Callahan.
8:27AM: Craig Custance notes that former Rangers captain Chris Drury is at the camp to help out.
Drury was a member of the 2010 Silver Medal team.
8:33AM: At SI, Allain Muir looks at every player invited to the Team USA Olympic Camp this week.
On Ryan McDonagh, Muir says that McDonagh is the kind of player who will do whatever is needed to pick up the win. He says that McDonagh can start making his plans for Sochi.
Muir describes Ryan Callahan as someone who is “miserable” to play against and always has his motor set to high.
He says that Derek Stepan is a “lock” to make Team USA bu the big question will be how Dan Bylsma chooses to use him. Based on a lack of other options though, Stepan could end up being the number one center for Team USA.
Muir has Stepan centering the top line for Team USA with Zach Parise on his left and Patrick Kane on his right. He has Ryan Callahan on the third line with Max Pacioretty and Joe Pavelski.
Ryan McDonagh is on the third pair with Keith Yandle.
For more on the Olympics, CLICK HERE.
At USA Today, Kevin Allen writes that Ryan Callahan and Ryan McDonagh are “locks” to make Team USA in 2014.
Allen says that Callahan’s ability to score and play a physical game will be needed and that McDonagh is part of a group with Ryan Suter and Jack Johnson who will form the core of Team USA’s defense.
He adds that Derek Stepan is one of four centers who will battle to center the top line for Team USA, along with Ryan Kesler, Paul Stastny and David Backes.
At the United States of Hockey, Chris Peters writes that McDonagh could be an even better player on the bigger ice, that Stepan may get shifted to wing and that Callahan would have to play himself out of a spot to not make the team.
Peters adds that McDonagh’s elite skating and closing speed will be very important for Team USA on the big ice.
David Poile, the GM of Team USA, said on a media conference call Ryan probably wasn’t known as well in 2010 and he might be the type of guy who fit the mold of what we were looking for in Vancouver. He has gotten better and better and now he is the captain of the Rangers and I am sure a big part of our team in Sochi.”
USA Hockey has announced that Flyers coach Peter Laviolette, Columbus coach Todd Richards and Penguins assistant coach Tony Granato will be assistant coaches to Dan Bylsma at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi.
John Tortorella, who was an assistant in 2010 under Ron Wilson, is not part of the coaching staff.
Laviolette has an interesting history with Granato and Bylsma
USA Hockey has announced that Derek Stepan, Ryan Callahan and Ryan McDonagh have all been invited to Team USA’s Olympic camp.
Former Ranger Brandon Dubinsky was note invited.
Callahan has represented Team USA on two occasions: in the 2010 Olympics and 2005 World Juniors.
Stepan has represented Team USA on two occasions: 2010 World Juniors and 2011 World Championships.
McDonagh has represented Team USA on three occasions: 2007 Under 18s, 2009 World Juniors and 2011 World Championships.
At NHL.com , Rangers captain, and potential Team USA captain, Ryan Callahan spoke about the challenges that will face Team USA in Sochi.
Callahan said that the bigger ice will present a challenge and that the team may need a game or two to find the correct way to play.
In terms of expectations, Callahan said that the Americans won’t sneak up on anybody and will be in the conversation for medal contention when the tournament starts. Callahan said that with the veteran group of players Team USA expects to have, including a lot of returning players, will be able to handle all pressures thrown at them.
In an article from March, in the NY Post, Larry Brooks wrote that not only should Derek Stepan and Ryan Callahan be teammates on the 2014 USA Olympic team, they should also be linemates.
The line the Rangers used the most this season at even strength, via Left Wing Lock, was Stepan and Callahan with Carl Hagelin. Stepan with Callahan and Rick Nash was the line used fourth most this season.
Callahan, according to Hockey Analysis, had 17 of his 20 even strength points with Stepan.
Other Rangers expected to play in the Olympics are Ryan McDonagh (USA), Henrik Lundqvist and Carl Hagelin (SWE), Rick Nash and Marc Staal (CAN), Mats Zuccarello (NOR)
Potential Olympians include Oscar Lindberg, invited to the Swedish camp, and Dan Girardi (CAN).
The official Olympic announcement is expected to come today or tomorrow.
Recently, at at ESPN.com, Barry Melrose was talking about the potential head coaches for Team USA at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Melrose said that his top pick would be Rangers coach John Tortorella.
He said, “I think John Tortorella is a natural choice to lead Team USA at the Sochi Olympics. He has won a Stanley Cup, has the Rangers playing a great style of hockey. He is a very solid coach. Meticulous with his planning. That team will be ready to play.”
Melrose added, “he has coached a lot of the players that will be on Team USA in his many years int he NHL. What makes him special is his planning. He will have a short time to get the United States team ready, as all the coaches that go to the Olympics will have, there will be very few practices. I think John will have that team ready. He will know what to do against the other countries that he plays again.”
Tortorella was an assistant on the 2010 team that won a Silver Medal in Vancouver.
Tortorella has been mentioned before as a candidate to coach Team USA.
At USA Today, Kevin Allen thinks that the Rangers will only have one representative on Team USA at the 2014 games in Russia.
He thinks that Ryan Callahan will once again play for Team USA but doesn’t mention Ryan McDonagh as one of his top seven, but does say he is likely the next on the list.
As for coach, Allen picks John Tortorella who was an assistant on the 2010 team in Vancouver that won Silver. One thing that could hold Tortorella back though would be his personality, “a coach’s primary mission at the Olympics is to win, but one reason why the NHL agrees to send its players to the Olympics is to celebrate the sport on the sports world’s biggest stage. Would Tortorella be willing to be more PR-friendly to serve the game’s best interests? If the answer is yes, he’s probably the favorite.”
Allen adds that Tortorella has paid his dues as a coach at the international level by coaching in the World Championships and with Ron Wilson in 2010.
It was wondered after last season if Tortorella had lost his chance at coaching Team USA because of how rough he was with the media.
Allan Muir, at Sports Illustrated, picks McDonagh and Callahan to play for Team USA.
On Callahan, he writes “he boasts leadership, smarts and a willingness to pay any price to win a game.”
At ESPN.com, Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun pick their USA Rosters.
Burnside says that Derek Stepan will get a look at center, but Ryan Callahan will be the only American forward to make the team.
LeBrun agrees that Callahan will be on the team.
Neither Burnside or LeBrun has McDonagh on the team, but LeBrun mentions McDonagh, along with Stepan, as someone who is “on the radar.”
Burnside picks Dan Bylsma to be head coach with John Tortorella as an assistant while LeBrun has them flipped and Tortorella being named head coach.
In the NY Times, Jeff Klein and Stu Hackle think that Tortorella is the front runner to be the coach of Team USA in 2014.