U.S. coach Osiecki to return to bench against Sweden

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 10:46 AM | Adam Kimelman  - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- United States national junior team coach Mark Osiecki will get his first up-close look at his roster Wednesday when the United States plays Sweden.

It's the first game for the U.S. since rosters were trimmed Monday, and Osiecki said he's looking forward to being behind the bench. He watched the split-squad games during the early part of camp from off the ice.

"It's going to be interesting for us, Donny [Granato, assistant coach] and I," Osiecki said. "It'll be our first time on the bench and seeing that."

Osiecki said winning or losing isn't the most important thing for him. It's about the team continuing to develop and grasp the systems he and the coaching staff have started to put into place.

"The other game with the Swedes [on Monday], it got pretty intense," Osiecki said. "You just like to see guys play to a point and play with some discipline. For us we want to see the leadership still evolve. That's a work in progress. ... I also think we're looking at trying to find some chemistry going forward."

Trying to find line pairings is a reason the U.S. will have 12 forwards and seven defensemen in the lineup Wednesday; in years past the games usually have featured 13 forwards and sometimes eight defensemen.

"It's just so we can see them, get more reps, get into the game," Osiecki said. "And the seventh defenseman has been told he might not see much ice depending on the situation; he might not get any ice. Going back to the evaluation part of it, trying to get the guys on the ice so they can get into the flow of things."

That longer look applies to goaltender Thatcher Demko, who will play a full game for the first time in camp. He allowed eight goals on 27 shots while playing parts of three games in the early part of camp, but Osiecki thinks Demko knowing he's in for the entire game will be a benefit for his play.

"Demko is going to play the whole game," Osiecki said. "I think that's important for him and for his position, where he's at. He comes in arguably being the No. 1. It's important for him to see a game. It's hard to get into a flow if you know you're coming in halfway through or leaving halfway through."

Here is how the U.S. lineup likely will look Wednesday:

Alex Tuch - Jack Eichel - Tyler Motte

Anthony Louis - Chase De Leo - J.T. Compher

John Hayden - Auston Matthews - Nick Schmaltz

Sonny Milano - Dylan Larkin - Hudson Fasching

Michael Downing - Steven Santini

Ryan Collins - Will Butcher

Louis Belpedio - Jack Dougherty

Brandon Carlo

Thatcher Demko

Brandon Halverson

Scratched: Kyle Connor, Anders Bjork, Dominic Turgeon, Anthony Florentino, Evan Cowley, Brendan Burke

Follow Adam Kimelman on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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