After a three-hour bus ride, the U.S. Men's National Team traveled from Herning to Copenhagen this morning via bus. Once it arrived, the team grabbed lunch at the hotel before heading over to the Royal Arena to get a lay of the land and hit the ice. Following practice, players and head coach Jeff Blashill took part in media availability before the team returned to the hotel in anticipation of tomorrow's semifinal game against Sweden.
AND THEN THERE WERE FOUR
By reaching the tournament's semifinal stage as one of the last four teams remaining, the U.S. has guaranteed a top-four finish in the 12-team tournament for the fourth time in six years. It marks Team USA's best-ever stretch since it medaled in six of the eight tournaments it competed in from 1931-1950. During that stretch, the U.S. claimed one gold medal (1933), four silver medal (1931, 1934, 1939, 1950) and one bronze (1949). The U.S. did not compete in 1948, 1937 or 1935 tournaments and finished fifth place in 1947 and seventh place in 1938.
2017: 5th Place, 6-0-0-2 (W-OTW-OTL-L)
2016: 4th Place, 4-1-1-4 (W-OTW-OTL-L)
2015: Bronze, 7-1-0-2 (W-OTW-OTL-L)
2014: 6th Place, 4-1-0-3 (W-OTW-OTL-L)
2013: Bronze, 6-1-0-3 (W-OTW-OTL-L)
BEEN HERE BEFORE
Among the 16 players who have skated for a U.S. national team previously, 11 are IIHF gold medalists with semifinal-winning experience. Those 11 players include four two-time gold medalists in Charlie McAvoy (2017 WJC, 2015 MU18), Connor Murphy (2013 WJC, 2011 MU18), Tage Thompson(2017 WJC, 2015 MU18) and Colin White (2017 WJC, 2015 MU18). Seven others to win an IIHF gold medal include Will Butcher (2012 MU18), Johnny Gaudreau (2013 WJC), Quinn Hughes (2017 MU18) Patrick Kane (2006 MU18), Chris Kreider (2010 WJC), Dylan Larkin (2014 MU18) and Sonny Milano (2014 MU18).
Additionally, five skaters have previously reached the semifinal round of an IIHF Men's World Championship, including Nick Bonino (2015 bronze), Keith Kinkaid (2016 fourth), Dylan Larkin (2015 bronze; 2016 fourth), Anders Lee (2015 bronze) and Connor Murphy (2015 bronze; 2016 fourth).
COLLEGE SINGLE-GAME ELIMINATION EXPERIENCE
The playoff round in an IIHF World Championship is single game elimination, something several members of this year's U.S. Men's National Team are familiar with through collegiate hockey. The NCAA Men's Ice Hockey Championship is determined through single game eliminations and what players and staff refer to as a 'win and advance' mentality. In total, 20 of Team USA's 25 players skated collegiately, including six who won NCAA National Championships.
NCAA National Champions: Cam Atkinson (Boston College, 2010), Nick Bonino (Boston University, 2009), Will Butcher (University of Denver, 2017), Chris Kreider (Boston College, 2010 & 2012), Johnny Gaudreau (2012) and Brian Gibbons (Boston College, 2008 & 2010)