The shock waves are still surging through the hockey world as Team USA heads home with a 0-3-0 record at the World Cup of Hockey. Team USA crashed out of the tournament with a 4-3 loss to the Czech Republic Thursday night, leaving many fans and media outlets stunned. So what really went wrong with Team USA? This is the question that many people are trying to figure out. My top three reasons why Team USA failed are listed below.
First, the staff, media and organization put way too much emphasis on “Beating Team Canada.” Even before the tournament began, that phrase was used by everyone within the organization. That strategy seemed to put far too much pressure on the players right at the start. They expended so much energy both mentally and physically that they couldn’t perform against any of the other teams. This is reflected in the statistics. When you have forwards like Derek Stephan or Patrick Kane not scoring a single goal in three games, something is certainly wrong. All throughout the tournament, these guys seemed to be gripping their sticks too tight.
The one thing Team USA did showcase throughout the tournament was their physicality. In each of the three games of the tournament, Team USA outhit their opponents by a fair margin. In the game against Europe 25-19, in the game against Canada 38-14 and in the final game against the Czech 27-9. These guys knew how to throw their weight around but could never shift the momentum into scoring goals.
The final big surprise that sunk Team USA in this tournament was the team’s inability to score on the powerplay. They went 0-4 against Europe, 0-3 against Canada and 1-4 against the Czech Republic Thursday night.
The players and management staff were all quick to accept the blame for this horrendous performance. It’ll take quite some time for this to blow over for many of these players. But this is something these guys will just have to shake off as they head home to their respective training camps. And hey at least none of the top USA players got injured.