Twenty years after watching their childhood idols put USA Hockey back on the map with a seismic-shifting win in Canada, 16 players were officially given the chance to do it again for the United States in Canada by being named to the initial roster for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey on Wednesday.
Twelve players named by Team USA general manager Dean Lombardi (Los Angeles Kings) played for the American team in the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Revenge might be on their minds since the U.S. had a poor finish in Sochi and failed to come home with a medal after losing 1-0 to Canada in the semifinals and 5-0 to Finland in the bronze-medal game.
Goalie Jonathan Quick (Kings), defensemen John Carlson (Washington Capitals), Ryan McDonagh (New York Rangers) and Ryan Suter (Minnesota Wild), and forwards Patrick Kane (Chicago Blackhawks), Ryan Kesler (Anaheim Ducks), T.J. Oshie (Capitals), Max Pacioretty (Montreal Canadiens), Zach Parise (Wild), Joe Pavelski (San Jose Sharks), Derek Stepan (Rangers) and Blake Wheeler (Winnipeg Jets) are back from the Olympic team of two years ago.
Quick, Suter, Kane, Kesler, Parise and Pavelski were part of the U.S. team that earned a silver medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics with a 3-2 overtime loss to Canada in the gold-medal game.
Quick has new competition for the net with Cory Schneider of the New Jersey Devils and Ben Bishop of the Tampa Bay Lightning named as the other two goalies.
Bishop last played for the national team at the 2013 IIHF World Championship. Schneider has never played for the national team. He last represented the U.S. in the 2006 IIHF World Junior Championship.
Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien and Detroit Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader are also on the roster.
The World Cup will be Byfuglien's first international tournament. Abdelkader has played for the U.S. in two World Championship tournaments (2012 and 2014) and the 2007 World Junior Championship.
The U.S. hasn't had a signature win in a best-on-best international tournament since defeating Canada 5-2 in Montreal on Sept. 14, 1996 to win gold at the 1996 World Cup of Hockey. Losing to Canada in the gold-medal game six years ago is the closest the Americans have come since.
Strength of team: Goaltending. U.S. coach John Tortorella can't make a bad choice between Quick, Schneider and Bishop.
Weakness of team: Center depth. This isn't a knock on Kesler, Pavelski and Stepan, but the American's center depth is among the weakest in the tournament when compared to the seven other teams, especially Canada, Sweden, Russia and Team North America.
Biggest surprise: Abdelkader. The Red Wings forward wasn't on many prediction lists and is 16th in scoring this season (33 points) among forwards eligible for Team USA.
Biggest omission: Phil Kessel. He has played on the past two Olympic teams and is considered one of the U.S.'s best pure goal scorers, but he's had a challenging first season with the Pittsburgh Penguins after a tough, by his standards, last season with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He has 19 goals and 40 points in 62 games this season. He had 25 goals and 61 points in 82 games last season. Kessel was a point-per-game player from 2012-14.
Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay Lightning, G
Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings, G
Cory Schneider, New Jersey Devils, G
Dustin Byfuglien, Winnipeg Jets, D
John Carlson, Washington Capitals, D
Ryan McDonagh, New York Rangers, D
Ryan Suter, Minnesota Wild, D
Justin Abdelkader, Detroit Red Wings, F
Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks, F
Ryan Kesler, Anaheim Ducks, F
T.J. Oshie, Washington Capitals, F
Max Pacioretty, Montreal Canadiens, F
Zach Parise, Minnesota Wild, F
Joe Pavelski, San Jose Sharks, F
Derek Stepan, New York Rangers, F
Blake Wheeler, Winnipeg Jets, F