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t123 Offline

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08.08.2018 07:16
Cup of Hockey to a grand experiment.Because GM Dean Lombardi and his management team purposefully eschewed more talented player Antworten

TORONTO -- Some time ago, I likened Team USAs chances at the World Cup of Hockey to a grand experiment.Because GM Dean Lombardi and his management team purposefully eschewed more talented players in the hopes of building an American team that could quickly become more than the sum of its parts, there was great anticipation about how the experiment would play out in Toronto.Well sum it up in one word: Kaboom.Two days after the U.S. was whipped 4-2 by Canada, which effectively ended its tournament just two games in, the dust is still settling around Team USA from the rafters. How long the reverberations from the disaster in Toronto will last -- well, thats a different matter altogether.Lombardi addressed the issues about how his team was built and why it failed so miserably at the World Cup for the first time on Thursday. Like Team USA head coach John Tortorella, he defended the roster construction.Fair enough. The razor-thin edge that Lombardi has always walked along with the?Los Angeles Kings?has been his devotion to his players. That kind of unwavering belief has earned him two Stanley Cup championships -- as well as contracts that will haunt him for years, and perhaps making winning more championships impossible.The reason we won [was because] we were a frickin team and that was a culture, Lombardi said of his Kings.Building a team for an NHL season is a different beast than building one to play in a brutally short tournament such as the World Cup, and in the end those differences werent fully recognized. Or if they were recognized, they were essentially ignored.Lombardi was predictably defiant in his support of his World Cup players.There were guys with tears in their eyes the other night and they were real, Lombardi said. I will always remember that. Some of the texts I got from players yesterday, I will treasure them the rest of my life. That is good stuff. Those are things you dont forget, even in failure. That part we got down. I told them I wish I had this group for a longer period of time, because I know we could have built that culture. But it didnt happen.The uncomfortable truth is that either heart -- which was which the key building block for this team -- cant trump skill or, worse, that Team USA simply didnt collectively possess the heart Lombardi or anyone else thought it did.When the Americans came out flat against Team Europe and lost 3-0 in a game they had to win to set themselves up for a trip to the tournament semifinals, it turned out that the lightly regarded Europeans showed greater heart.Lombardi bristled at the notion that somehow Team Europe, basically the hockey equivalent of a lean-to made out of branches and old string, with players pulled together from eight different countries, found a winning culture in a matter of days while Team USA, which included 14 members of the Sochi Olympic squad and nine members of the U.S. team that won a silver medal in 2010 in Vancouver, could not.But thats exactly what happened.So Team Europe will play against Sweden in the semifinals Sunday afternoon (1 ET, ESPN) while Team USA is headed home after a meaningless third preliminary-round game against the Czech Republic on Thursday night, with the echoes of sharp criticism from the media and needling from former players such as?Phil Kessel,?who was left off the World Cup roster, still ringing in their ears.Lombardi did admit that Team USA either didnt understand or properly respond to the urgency required to overcome a European team that was considered among the weakest of the eight teams in the World Cup field.Lombardi has seen his Kings team rally from a 3-0 series deficit to win a playoff series. Thats the proverbial 8-ball, Lombardi said.When Team USA lost to Europe? This felt like a boulder, Lombardi said. It was just really strange. Like, how can this happen so quickly, where your back is against the wall after one poor game?Lombardi suggested it was almost as though the team cared too much and became paralyzed by it.Isnt having heart the opposite of that?Isnt having heart rising above those kinds of setbacks, of pushing aside the disappointment to find success?If that is so, where was it?Few people in the game are as detail-oriented as Lombardi who built those two Stanley Cup winners as GM of the Kings and wanted desperately to pay homage to past U.S. hockey glory by building a winner here.He believed that in order to do that he needed a team that could compete with Canada. He believed that, lacking the skill that Canada possesses, his U.S. squad could balance the equation by adding more heart and character.Tortorella was brutally frank about the disparity between the two hockey neighbors.Ill be honest: were not as deep as Canada, skillwise, Tortorella said. Not sure USA Hockey will like me saying that, but its the truth. Its a situation where I still think, in our mind, we could not just skill our way through Canada.The problem with the theory is that it suggests that skill and heart -- or grit -- are mutually exclusive. For Canada, skill and heart are mutually inclusive. It can be so for the Americans as well, as it was 20 years ago when the U.S. beat Canada at the inaugural World Cup of Hockey in 1996.By the time the next best-on-best tournament rolls around, maybe it will be so again.Maybe Auston Matthews, Johnny Gaudreau, Jack Eichel, Shayne Gostisbehere, Vincent Trocheck and all the other shiny young Americans who have made Team North America the darlings of the World Cup will allow the U.S. team builders to rethink the formula for success at these kinds of tournaments -- or to simply bring their best players because they will represent the same kind of balance that Canada has enjoyed for an entire generation.Who knows, maybe the memory of this experiment gone so horribly wrong in Toronto will become a historic turning point for American hockey.An explosion that cleared land for a new future. Cheap Air Max 2017 . 10 VCU 85-67 on Thursday night at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off. The Seminoles (4-0) have scored at least 80 points in each of their games. 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