Vancouver, BC – Team USA’s 2-2 tie last night against Sweden secured them the second seed in their pool which will result in a rematch against the only team to defeat the US squad thus far – Slovakia. The Slovaks boast some very good offensive weapons in Marian Hossa, Marian Gaborik, Pavol Demitra and on the point, Zdeno Chara. The Slovaks will skate without injured defenseman Lubomir Visnosky who is out for a week following last night’s 5-3 loss to Finland. The Slovak’s high-powered offense may not be enough for the world’s best goaltender, Ryan Miller.
Miller played in his first game for Team USA last night stopping 24 of 26 shots. The US, who has had trouble finding chemistry offensively in this tournament, will rely on Miller again in tonight’s game. “We need to go with the hot goalie,” stated Head Coach, Ron Wilson. “Miller looked great last night against a very good Sweden squad and I’m very confident he can get the job done for us again tonight. It’s obvious why the Bulls and Cats have shipped out Timmy Thomas this season. He’s not in very good shape and he’s playing a little lazy for us.”
The US will be without injured center Paul Stastny, whom Co-US GM Rink Rat has been rumored to have interest in acquiring from the Kanata Saints. The rumors have swirled through the Olympic break but GM Rink Rat has stated that a deal is unlikely to happen as the two teams can’t come to terms. The void left by Stastny will be huge as he was one of the better offensive players on a team that’s struggled to find chemistry. Questions in goal for the Slovaks may make Stastny’s void less relevant. The Slovaks have played both Halak & Budaj, both of whom have had little success. The American’s hopes will rely on their offense getting to either goaltender early on and Miller shutting down the Slovaks’ potent offense.