US names Olympic hockey squads for Sochi
David Backes of the St Louis Blues celebrates his goal with teammates in the second period against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden on November 21, 2013
A young and relatively inexperienced American squad lost to Canada in the Vancouver Olympic final when Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby netted the gold-medal goal for a home-ice triumph.
The 25-man US roster for Sochi next month includes returning leaders, among them forwards David Backes, Dustin Brown, Zach Parise and Ryan Callahan plus defenseman Ryan Suter and Brooks Orpik and goaltender Ryan Miller.
Centers Backes, Paul Stastny, Ryan Kesler and Joe Pavelski are back from Vancouver and joined by Derek Stepan, the top scorer for the 2010 world junior champion US squad.
Other wingers include Patrick Kane, Phil Kessel, James van Riemsdyk, Blake Wheeler, Max Pacioretty and T.J. Oshie.
"Any time you get a chance to represent your country, it's great," Kessel said. "I'm really excited."
Van Riemsdyk said "it's going to be a huge thrill."
Orpik's NHL backline partner for Pittsburgh, Paul Martin, is among the other Olympic defensemen, as are Kevin Shattenkirk, John Carlson, Justin Faulk, Cam Fowler and Ryan McDonagh.
Miller will be joined as an Olympic netminder by Detroit's Jimmy Howard and Jonathan Quick, the Los Angeles goalie who won last year's Conn Smythe Trophy as the NHL's best goaltender.
"It's a tremendous honor," Howard said. "Words cannot put it into perspective."
Among those not named to the US lineup were bobby Ryan and Jason Pominville, who rank third and fourth in goals this season among American NHL players.
The deadline for naming rosters is next week, although nations may substitute for injuries after that.
The United States will be in Group A with host Russia, Slovakia and Slovenia in the Olympic preliminary round. The Americans open February 13 against Slovakia.
The US Olympic women's hockey roster was also named. It included 11 Olympic veterans, with forward Julie Chu making her fourth Olympic appearance and becoming the oldest woman on a US Olympic hockey squad at 31.
The US women's lineup also includes last year's US college player of the year, forward Amanda Kessel, the sister of Toronto Maple Leafs star forward and fellow Olympian Phil Kessel.
The US women, who like the men lost to Canada in the 2010 Olympic hockey final, will open in Sochi on February 8 against Finland.