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Producing elite U.S. players starts at bottom

Updated: November 30, 2010, 2:19 AM ET
By John Buccigross | ESPN.com

The United States has 24 NHL teams and more than 307 million people within its borders. With those numbers, the U.S. should be producing a healthy number of highly skilled, physically tough hockey players... more than it is today.

The 2000s have had some positive signs for hockey in the U.S. In the past 11 NHL drafts, six of the overall No. 1 picks were Canadian, two were Russian and three were American (Rick DiPietro, Erik Johnson and Patrick Kane). Team USA's excellent play at ...

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