Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Team USA playing Olympics waiting game
By Pierre LeBrun
TORONTO -- USA Hockey huddled up its NHL GM advisory group here Tuesday night with a focus on the upcoming IIHF men’s world championship, but it was also a chance to update player evaluations for next February’s Olympic team.
Brian Burke, Don Waddell, Ray Shero, David Poile, Dale Tallon and Stan Bowman met for close to two hours with Jim Johannson, assistant executive director of hockey operations for USA Hockey.
Missing from the USA Hockey NHL GMs advisory group were Dean Lombardi and Paul Holmgren.
USA Hockey has yet to name its GM for the Olympic team.
"In the end, we’re waiting to make sure the NHL is a full-go with it," Johannson said. "I know the talks are going well but it’s hard to do anything until that’s official."
Once the NHL and NHLPA sign off on Sochi, USA Hockey won’t wait too long to name its GM, which will come from its advisory group.
"My guess is we’ll do that in a timely manner," Johannson said.
Burke was the GM for the 2010 U.S. team in Vancouver but it’s not clear whether he’ll get the nod again this time. He’ll be part of the group either way.
Most of the meeting Tuesday night was focused on preparations for the May IIHF men’s tournament -- the late NHL regular season is going to make it more difficult for USA Hockey to fill its roster, given what will be a smaller NHL pool of players available at that time.
But of course there was also Olympic talk, with the group Tuesday night updating its player hopeful evaluations for Sochi 2014.
"We’ve always had a running list in our group and we updated guys’ thoughts on where they felt players were at," Johannson said. "There was a bit of an emphasis on some players that we need to keep track of a little bit more."