BUFFALO -- If there's one person involved in the CCM/USA All-American Prospects Game who gets what it's like to be an American player, it's Ed Olczyk.
Olczyk will be behind the bench at First Niagara Center in Buffalo on Thursday night (7 p.m. ET, NHL Network) for the annual showdown between two sides of the best prospects in the United States, and as a former member of the United States Olympic team, seeing the number of top young stars is encouraging.
"It speaks to where USA Hockey has come, really in a short period of time when you look at the big picture. The size aspect of it is amazing," Olczyk said. "Just being out on the ice with them for 30 minutes kind of puts it all in perspective, because when you watch them through the glass or watch them from the press box or in the stands as a hockey parent -- you understand, because, I mean, I lived it -- but once you're out there with them up close in a practice or like looking forward to tonight, you get a true appreciation for the talent level and the want to, and that's something that really separates a lot of these kids."