Friday, May 20, 2016
MOSCOW – The U.S. Men’s National Team is preparing for its semifinal game of the IIHF Men’s World Championship here tomorrow (May 21) against Canada. Opening faceoff is set for 8:15 p.m. (1:15 p.m. ET) with all Comcast Regional Sports Networks carrying the game live and a live stream available via NBC Sports Live Extra.
It’s the second straight year the U.S. has reached the semifinals of the men’s world championship and the third time in the last four years, an unprecedented streak for the country.
Team USA did not practice today and instead had a team meeting, treatments and workouts at the team hotel in addition to a media availability early this afternoon. The U.S. will return to the ice tomorrow morning for a pre-game skate slated for 11 a.m.
Some players, staff and guests spent a couple of hours this afternoon visiting the famous Moscow Red Square on what was a rainy afternoon. Traffic in the city is heavy and traveling even a short distance can take a good amount of time.
Dinner at an Italian restaurant across the street from the team hotel for players, staff and guests capped off the day. Team captain Matt Hendricks offered a toast during the dinner and was followed by Jim Johannson, assistant executive director of hockey operations for USA Hockey.
Team USA has never faced Canada in a world championship semifinal game. The two teams met in the very first game of this year’s tournament on May 6 with Canada gaining a 5-1 victory.
NOTES: Many members of Team USA took part in sewer ball late this morning in the team room at the hotel … Auston Matthews has five goals in the world championship, just two off the tournament lead of seven ... Nick Foligno, Chris Wideman, Matt Hendricks, Auston Matthews and Keith Kinkaid spoke to members of the media in the hotel lobby early this afternoon … Ben Smith, who three times served as head coach of the U.S. Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Team, including in 1998 when he led the squad to the first-ever gold medal awarded in women’s ice hockey in the Olympic Winter Games, is in Moscow and will be formally inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame on Sunday. Smith was also an assistant coach for the 1988 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team.
Wednesday, May 18, 2016
ST. PETERSBURG/MOSCOW, Russia – Team USA had breakfast at the Solo Sokos Hotel Palace Bridge, its headquarters in St. Petersburg for the last 14 days, before departing via charter bus at 8:20 a.m. for the train station in St. Petersburg.
The players, staff and their guests boarded Car 7 on the high-speed train for Moscow in time for the 9:35 a.m. departure. Each person was required to show a passport and visa to board the train. The journey to Moscow took approximately four hours with various activities filling the trip, including watching movies, reviewing game film, playing cards, sleeping and consuming boxed lunches. Team Germany, which will play against host Russia in the 8:15 p.m. quarterfinal in Moscow, was also on the train (Car 6) as were several IIHF staff members.
After arriving right on time at the Moscow train station at 1:30 p.m. (the train made just two stops along the way), Team USA and its guests boarded a charter bus and an additional mini bus and made the 30-minute journey to its new hotel headquarters, the Crowne Plaza, along the Moskva river.
After arriving and checking in, the team enjoyed a terrific lunch in the hotel. The three teams staying in the hotel (Germany, USA, Czech Republic) all dine in one room with several separate tables for each, identified by country flags.
The rest of the day for the players will include rest and dinner in preparation for tomorrow’s quarterfinal game against Czech Republic (opening faceoff at 4:15 p.m./9:15 a.m. ET, live on NBC Sports Network). The trainers arrived at the arena just after 5 p.m. to get the lockerroom set-up for the game. Their work is not likely to be finished until 9 p.m. or later this evening. The group includes equipment managers Scott Aldrich and Mark DePasquale; trainers Stan Wong and Jason Serbus; and massage therapist Peewee Willmann. In addition, video coordinator Matt DeMado is also at the arena getting set for tomorrow's tilt.
NOTES: The team's equipment was sent via truck from St. Petersburg to Moscow. It left last night around 9 p.m. and arrived in Moscow around 11 a.m. this morning ... USA Hockey's executive delegation has arrived in Moscow for the IIHF Annual Congress, including President Jim Smith; Ron DeGregorio, co-chairman of the board; Dave Ogrean, executive director; and Gavin Regan, vice president of USA Hockey. In addition, Lou Vairo, who currently serves as director of special projects for USA Hockey and is one of the most esteemed coaches in the U.S., is in Moscow for the remainder of the world championship. He is widely known in Russia, particularly because of his long-time relationship with legendary Russian hockey coach Anatoly Tarasov ... Ron DeGregorio is running for a spot on the IIHF Council. The election will take place here tomorrow morning. Tony Rossi, USA Hockey director emeritus, is currently a member of the IIHF Council but cannot run for re-election.
Five Questions With Goaltender Keith Kincaid
May 16, 2016
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia – Team USA went through an hour-long workout this morning in preparation for its final preliminary round game against Slovakia tomorrow (12:15 p.m. local/5:15 a.m. ET live on NBCSN and streamed on NBC Sports Live Extra).
It’s a potential win-or-be-done scenario for Team USA as it may go into the game needing a victory (either in regulation or overtime) to advance to the quarterfinals. If Canada beats France in preliminary round play here today, then the U.S. would need only a point in tomorrow’s game (teams both earn one point if the game goes to OT; an additional point is earned by the winning team) to advance.
The quarterfinal format is cross-over in nature, meaning the top team from from Group A (Moscow bracket of tournament) will face the fourth place team from Group B (St. Petersburg bracket); the second place team from Group A will face the third place team from Group B; etc. Russia is guaranteed to play its quarterfinal game in Moscow with the next remaining highest seed from Group A will also play its quarterfinal game there. The other two quarterfinal games will be staged in St. Petersburg, with both semifinals and the two medal games in Moscow.
Quarterfinal games have been played in the IIHF World Championship since 1992 with the exception of 1997, 1998, and 1999. Of the 20 years quarterfinals have been played, the U.S. has qualified all but twice (2010, 2003).
NOTES: Some players, staff and guests were heading out this afternoon to spend a couple of hours visiting the Church of the Spilled Blood and the museum of Siege of Leningrad … Tony Rossi, who is a member of the IIHF Council and a former vice president of USA Hockey, has been in St. Petersburg the past couple of days. The IIHF Council will meet in Moscow later this week. Rossi, who has served as a member of the IIHF Council the last eight years, is not eligible for re-election. Ron DeGregorio, currently co-chairman of the board of USA Hockey, is among the candidates running for a seat on the IIHF Council.
Five Questions With Team USA Forward Kyle Connor
May 11, 2016
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia -- After a day off yesterday, Team USA returned to the ice here this morning and had a 75-minute practice that included work on all facets of the game.
The U.S. will play its fourth of seven preliminary round games tomorrow at 4:15 p.m. (9:15 a.m. ET) against France with three critical points on the line. The game can been seen live on NBC Sports Network in the U.S., with a live stream available through NBC Sports Live Extra.
"I like our progress as a team," said U.S. Head Coach John Hynes following practice. "We had a good skate today and our guys will be ready to go tomorrow. It's an important game."
Team USA still has two roster spots available to fill. Teams are allowed to have 25 total players on their roster, including 22 forwards/defensemen and three goaltenders.
Defenseman Jake McCabe, who has missed the last two games, and forward Kyle Connor, who did not play in Monday's game vs. Finland, are both listed as day-to-day.
NOTES: In the mixed zone following practice today to speak to reporters were Dylan Larkin, Auston Matthews, Nick Foligno, Noah Hanifin, David Warsofsky and Coach John Hynes ... Members of Team USA spent some time enjoying the city and the spa at the hotel yesterday on a day off ... Paul Holmgren and Ray Shero both arrive here today. Shero is a member of the U.S. Men's National Team Advisory Group, while Holmgren is the assistant general manager of the U.S. team for the upcoming World Cup of Hockey ... Team USA, at 23, has the youngest average age of the 16 teams in the world championship. Canada is the next youngest at 24, followed by Denmark, Hungary and Slovakia at 26; Czech Republic, Latvia, Norway, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, Belarus, Finland and Germany at 27; France at 28 and Kazakhstan at 29.
Five Questions With Team USA Forward Frank Vatrano
May 8, 2016
HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia -- Fresh off its 6-3 victory over Belarus last night, Team USA had the day off from on-ice practice. The team took the short bus ride to the arena at 11 a.m. and reviewed video, talked to coaches, trained in the gym, and met with the news media among some of the activity.
It's another beautiful day in St. Petersburg and players and staff hope to use some of the afternoon to enjoy the city. After a team dinner tonight, the U.S. will turn its attention to getting ready for its third preliminary round game tomorrow (May 9) against Finland.
We caught up with Team USA forward Vinnie Hinostroza, who was the U.S. Player of the Game in last night's victory over Belarus, this morning at the rink.
Five Questions With Team USA Forward Vinnie Hinostroza
May 5, 2016
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia – The U.S. Men’s National Team practiced at the Yubileiny Sports Palace for an hour this morning (11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m. local/2:15 a.m.-3:15 a.m. ET) in preparation for its opening game of the 2016 IIHF Men’s World Championship tomorrow (May 6) against Canada.
Forward Frank Vatrano arrived in St. Petersburg yesterday and had his first skate with Team USA today.
U.S. management, including Jim Johannson, Dale Tallon and Chris Drury, observed from the stands along with multiple members of the media, including Gord Miller and Ray Ferraro who will call the games on television for NBC Sports Network in the U.S. and TSN in Canada.
Prior to practice, members of the team and staff had their official tournament headshots taken for use by broadcasters and in-arena production. The goaltenders pads were also measured by IIHF officials to ensure they meet appropriate specifications. In addition, the Nike staff delivered the team’s officials game jerseys.
After practice, Head Coach John Hynes and several players, including captain Matt Hendricks, Mike Condon, Dylan Larkin, Connor Murphy, Pat Maroon, Miles Wood, Auston Matthews and Frank Vatrano spent time in the mixed zone (international term for the area where players and coaches meet with media) with members of the news media to discuss the tournament.
Many of the players will spend the afternoon exploring the beautiful city of St. Petersburg on what is a bright, sunny and warm day here.
RANDOM JOTTINGS: Team USA’s “team room” at the hotel includes a ping pong table. More details as the tournament rolls along as to who the “table champion” will be … Thatcher Demko has a final exam in sociology he will take here this afternoon. Demko is a student at Boston College … The first directorate meeting of the tournament happens this evening. That meeting includes the general manager from each team, IIHF officials and host organizing committee members and is a gathering at which tournament operations are covered in detail. Just prior to that meeting, teams will officially sign in the players that will make up their roster. Each team is allowed to have a maximum of 25 players (22 forwards/defensemen, 3 goaltenders). A total of 20 forwards/defensemen and two goaltenders can dress for each game) … ICYMI: Matt Hendricks is the captain of Team USA, while Nick Foligno and Connor Murphy are the alternate captains … Team USA had a wonderful meal at Trattoria Stefano last night, arranged by its team host Misha Manchik. A St. Petersburg, Russia, resident, Manchik has previously served as the massage therapist for multiple U.S. national teams and also for the 2002 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team.
May 4, 2016
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia – After three days of training in Helsinki in preparation for the upcoming 2016 IIHF Men’s World Championship, including an exhibition game last night against Finland, the U.S. Men’s National Team journeyed to St. Petersburg today and arrived here via train around 3 p.m. this afternoon.
The nearly four-hour hour journey via rail began just after 11 am in Helsinki. Team USA had its own cars for the trip, which included both Finnish and Russian authorities checking passports on board at different times. Team Finland traveled on the same train.
While the players enjoyed some relaxation and laughs, the coaching staff was busy on the trip reviewing video and preparing for the first game of the tournament on Friday (May 6) against Canada. It will be the first of seven preliminary-round games for Team USA.
The train included both power outlets and WiFi and also a full service restaurant, although Team USA brought its own sandwiches aboard for lunchtime.
After arriving to helpful and smiling Russian hosts and many photographers, the team had a brief bus ride to its hotel headquarters, which also is housing four other participating teams. The team will gather for an 8 pm dinner offsite here this evening with a morning practice scheduled for tomorrow.
|May 3||Finland (exhibition)||L, 2-3 OT|
|May 6||Canada||L, 1-5|
|May 7||Belarus||W, 6-3|
|May 9||Finland||L, 2-3|
|May 12||France||W, 4-0|
|May 13||Hungary||W, 5-1|
|May 15||Germany||L, 2-3|
|May 17||Slovakia||L, 2-3 OT|
|May 19||Czech Republic (quarterfinal)||W, 2-1 SO|
Bronze Medal Game