by Nick Zaccardi
January 1, 2014 (ISN) – The two biggest American stars from the 2010 Olympic gold-medal game are back for Sochi.
Goalie Ryan Miller and forward Zach Parise were among 13 returning Olympians on the 25-man U.S. roster announced after the Winter Classic on New Year’s Day. In Sochi, the U.S. will look to improve on a surprise silver-medal performance from Vancouver.
Miller backstopped the U.S.’ improbable run to the Vancouver gold-medal game, where Parise scored a game-tying goal with 25 seconds left before Sidney Crosby won it for Canada in overtime.
“It’s very special to represent your country at that magnitude, where everyone’s focused watching it,” Miller said before the announcement, according to The Associated Press. “For me, it’s another chance to play in the tournament where there’s a chance to win something. You focus, take it seriously.”
Miller or fellow 2010 Olympian Jonathan Quick is expected to start in goal for the U.S., beginning with a group-play game against Slovakia on Feb. 13 at 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN. Quick hasn’t played since Nov. 12 due to a groin injury.
Jimmy Howard is the third goalie, beating out Ben Bishop, Cory Schneider and Tim Thomas for the last spot.
“It’s a tremendous honor,” Howard said on NBC. “Words can’t really put it in perspective.”
Parise is one of nine returning 2010 Olympic forwards, including Patrick Kane and Phil Kessel. Another 2010 Olympic forward, Bobby Ryan, was perhaps the most surprising omission. Five forwards are first-time Olympians.
The eight-man blue-line crew includes 2010 Olympians Ryan Suter and Brooks Orpik. Missing was Jack Johnson, best remembered from Vancouver for attending the Opening Ceremony between NHL games.
A first-time Olympic defenseman is perhaps the best story, if he can play.
Paul Martin was on the 2006 Olympic taxi squad with Miller and Matt Cullen as potential injury replacements but didn’t play in Torino. Martin then made the 2010 Olympic team outright but gave way to an injury replacement due to his broken left arm.
But Martin has a fractured tibia and, as of Wednesday, was still unable to skate.
As experienced as it is, the U.S. will not include any players with multiple Olympics under their belts for the first time since NHLers were allowed into the Winter Games in 1998.
But it will be vastly more seasoned than the 2010 team, which included three players with prior Olympic experience.
Here’s the full roster:
- Ryan Miller — 2010 Olympian
- Jonathan Quick — 2010 Olympian
- Jimmy Howard
- Brooks Orpik — 2010 Olympian
- Ryan Suter — 2010 Olympian
- John Carlson
- Justin Faulk
- Cam Fowler
- Paul Martin
- Ryan McDonagh
- Kevin Shattenkirk
- David Backes — 2010 Olympian
- Dustin Brown — 2010 Olympian
- Ryan Callahan — 2010 Olympian
- Patrick Kane — 2010 Olympian
- Ryan Kesler — 2010 Olympian
- Phil Kessel — 2010 Olympian
- Zach Parise — 2010 Olympian
- Joe Pavelski — 2010 Olympian
- Paul Stastny — 2010 Olympian
- T.J. Oshie
- Max Pacioretty
- Derek Stepan
- James van Riemsdyk
- Blake Wheeler