TORONTO - Less than 24 hours after a disappointing early exit from the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, members of the United States team didn't have answers to what led to its failures.
"I thought we had the assets to do better than we did, definitely," Zach Parise said. "Again, it's disappointing sitting here 0-2 because I thought going into the tournament we were going to do a better job than that. Unfortunately we didn't, but I thought going into it we would have a great chance to make it into that semifinals, and give ourselves a chance."
A chance was all this roster wanted, comprised of many veterans like Parise, and like Minnesota Wild teammate Ryan Suter, for whom success at the best-on-best, senior level, has been elusive.
"Yeah of course it's disappointing," Parise said. "Again, we come here, you train all summer, you train for a month together to give yourself a chance to win the World Cup, and to represent your country well.
"You find yourself playing a third game that's meaningless and you don't have a chance to get in, so of course everyone is very disappointed in the spot that we're in."
The disappointment was palpable. Between questions of how its roster was constructed, the style it played, and the program's philosophies, the players themselves, Parise and Suter included, have been incredibly critical of a job not done, and a level of play they said they feel is far below expectations.
"We put ourselves behind the eight-ball and now two games we're in we're playing a game tomorrow night that really has no meaning other than hopefully put on a show for the fans and score a bunch of goals," David Backes said.
Parise's back feeling good
He has his United States hockey obligations, which he's currently filling, but when it comes to Minnesota and the NHL season, a sense of relief comes over Parise, who missed the entire 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs with a back injury.
"Now, not looking ahead past tomorrow's game, I'm really looking forward to starting back, and being healthy to start the season," Parise said. "I'm excited to start the season now."
With 22 days before the Wild opens the regular season against St. Louis Blues, Parise said Tuesday against the Canadians is the best he's felt since sustaining the injury.
"Probably physically, yeah," he said. "They've gotten better and better as they've gone on. Just getting those first couple of games out past when you come back from an injury, you're feeling ok after taking a hit, and giving a hit. It's not easy, it takes a couple, but physically it felt good."