|It's always an honor to pull on that Team USA jersey.
Hello Ducks fans! I'm writing to you from Helsinki, Finland, where I’m playing for Team USA in the World Championships with Ducks teammates Bobby Ryan
and Cam Fowler
. We just got done beating Belarus 5-3 in our fourth game of the preliminary round.
It was a pretty good game today. We didn’t play the way we wanted to on Monday against Slovakia (losing 4-2), but today we came out the way we wanted to and had a pretty good start. We had two early goals and from there played a solid 60 minutes. Bobby got a goal that Cam assisted on, and Cam was plus-4 today, so the Ducks were well-represented. We got the W, and that’s all that matters right now. Hopefully we can get some momentum going into the medal rounds.
I found out I got picked for the team late last month, and it was a pretty quick turnaround for me. I was playing in the playoffs for Syracuse, and our season ended in a Friday night loss at St. John’s. The next morning they called me and we tried to get everything put together to get me out to Finland. Obviously, I was thrilled to be chosen. It’s always an honor to put on the USA jersey and to play for the national team. It’s been a great experience so far. I’m just trying to enjoy it and play my best.
I played for Team USA in the World Juniors in 2010 in Saskatoon, Canada (when we won the gold medal) and 2011 in Buffalo (when we won the bronze). No U.S. team had ever won medals in back-to-back World Juniors, so I have some good memories of those tournaments.
The international game is different because the rinks are a bit wider than NHL rinks, and in these tournaments, every team you play has a different style. In the game against the Slovaks, they just kind of sat back and waited for mistakes. Belarus was more aggressive. Some of the games are different than the others and some opponents are stronger than others. There always is a sense of desperation because it’s a short tournament and you only have seven games to make the medal round, so you’ve got to bear down every game.
I’ve played in Finland before, in the Under-18 Five Nations tournament in 2008, and it’s good to be back here. We’ve been able to see a little bit of Helsinki during our off days, do some fun stuff and get to know each other. When you come to a team where you don’t know too many people, it’s nice to get to know guys from around the league. It’s an awesome group of guys.
We had a team trip to a spa and waterpark the other day, where they had a couple of different saunas (a big thing in Finland) and some waterslides and jumps into the pool. We had a pretty intense Team USA intrasquad game of water polo going there, with about 16 guys involved.
|Bobby, Cam and I did an interview with Finnish TV earlier in the week. |
We’ve gotten a chance to enjoy some Finnish food and culture and broaden our horizons. As far as the food goes, they’ve done their best to make it like American food, so we feel comfortable. But also, we’ve eaten some reindeer a couple different times, which was very different.
On the ice, the 5-4 win over Canada last Saturday was an awesome game. I’ve been in a couple USA-Canada games before, and no matter where we play, the atmosphere is always great. You’ve got a couple of teams that are big rivals, and it’s a rivalry that has really grown the last couple of years. It was awesome for Team USA to get the win there, and it was an exciting game that we won in overtime. For all the guys, it was a pretty great experience.
We feel like we’re one of the favorites to win this thing. We’ve got to focus on playing to our strengths and not getting away from our game, not reacting to the other team’s gameplan so much. The main thing is staying focused through these preliminary round games, and when it comes time for the medal rounds, you’ve got to really bring your "A" game every night.
We play again tomorrow against Kazakhstan, so for the rest of the day today, I’ll go get something to eat and then shut it down for the night. Tomorrow we have a meeting and breakfast, and we’ll get ready for that game.
I’ll try to check in with you again and let you know how things are going here in Finland. Until then, go USA!