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World Cup

Notebook: Team USA shows power-play hand

John Tortorella has selfish reason for liking camp location; Patrick Kane prefers World Cup schedule

by Craig Merz / NHL.com Correspondent

COLUMBUS -- The difference between winning and losing in the World Cup of Hockey 2016 could come down to special teams, so Team USA coach John Tortorella wants to make sure he has the right mix for the two power-play units.

He gave a hint Tuesday as to what those units might look like when he sent 10 players to work with assistant Phil Housley in the rink next to Nationwide Arena, where the rest of the team was gathering to practice.

Manning the points on the first unit were defensemen Ryan Suter and Dustin Byfuglien, with forwards Zach Parise, Patrick Kane and Joe Pavelski. The other group had defensemen Ryan McDonagh and John Carlson working with Max Pacioretty, Derek Stepan, and T.J. Oshie.

Video: McDonagh, Pavelski, Schneider on WCH 2016 excitement

There likely will be changes along the way as Team USA goes through the pretournament schedule. The first game is against Team Canada in Columbus on Friday (7 p.m. ET; ESPNU, SN, TVA Sports).

"Don't get locked into it," said Tortorella, coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets. "We want to try it that the first exhibition game. We'll see where we go.

What is certain is that Housley is running the show as far as the power play.

"I watched his presentation in front of the team," Tortorella. "It's pretty impressive as far as some of the things he's looking for, and that's come into our thinking as far as those 10 guys."

GOOD TO BE HOME: Having a practice rink attached to the arena is one reason Tortorella likes having Team USA in Columbus.

Another is having those World Cup players intermingle with Blue Jackets prospects. Many of Columbus' young players are in town to prepare for the prospects tournament in Traverse City, Michigan, from Sept. 16-20.

"For me, especially with the amount of youth that's here for the Columbus Blue Jackets, I think it's fantastic," Tortorella said. "They get to see some of the guys they probably looked up to as they've gone on their journey to get to a training camp. We're all grouped together. The young guys are working out when Patrick Kane walks in and starts riding the bike.

"It's crazy how it happened because I wasn't hired as a coach here prior to this being scheduled to start here. For me it's a win-win as far as what's going on in the locker room."

Video: Pavelski, Team USA share international memories
 
THEY SAID IT: Kane on having the World Cup before the NHL season as opposed to the middle of it, as is the case with the Olympics:

"Everyone's coming in fresh, which is a lot different than what we've seen in the Olympics when you've got the travel and games. I remember playing in the gold medal game in 2010 and we had a game two days later in Long Island. It's set up nicely for all the players to train all summer, get yourselves ready, have a few practices, play a few exhibition games. I think the boys will be flying once the tournament starts. I think it will be some pretty good hockey to watch."

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