The Team USA 25-man hockey roster is completely full of NHL players. Team Russia has but 14 NHL players on its roster. Still, Russia has an impressive lineup, especially among its forwards.
Team USA is coached by the Pittsburgh Penguins head coach, Dan Bylsma.
The 25-man Team USA roster is packed exclusively with NHL players. And since the Olympic hockey rink is bigger, the team was selected for speed.
Asked about Team USA's defining strengths, Ryan Kesler of the Vancouver Canucks told the L.A. Times, "How fast we play, and the in-your-face hockey that we're going to play."
The USA beat Slovakia 7-1 handily on Thursday with Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings in the net. Quick stopped 22 of 23 shots. But Coach Bylsma wouldn't say if Quick will get the nod Saturday against the Russian team. There's speculation that Olympic veteran Ryan Miller of the Buffalo Sabres may stand between the pipes. In the Vancouver Winter Olympics, Miller won five games and had a .946 save percentage.
In the first game against Slovakia, six American players scored: Ryan Kesler, Paul Statstny (twice), David Backes, Phil Kessel, and Dustin Brown.
[UPDATE: Team USA ousts Russia 3-2 Saturday in an overtime shoot out. Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings was in the net for Team USA.]
Here's the TEAM USA roster:
Goalies: Jonathan Quick (L.A. Kings), Ryan Miller (Buffalo Sabres), and Jimmy Howard (Detroit Red Wings).
Defensemen: John Carlson (Washington Capitals), Justin Faulk (Carolina Hurricanes), Cam Fowler (Anaheim Ducks), Paul Martin and Brooks Orpik (Pittsburg Penguins), Ryan McDonagh (New York Rangers), Keven Shattenkirk (St. Louis Blues), Ryan Suter (Minnesota Wild).
Forwards: David Backes and T.J. Oshie (St. Louis Blues), Dustin Brown (L.A. Kings), Ryan Callahan and Derek Stepan (N.Y. Rangers), Patrick Kane ( Chicago Blackhawks), Ryan Kesler (Vancouver Canucks), Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk (Toronto Maple Leafs), Max Pacioretty (Montreal Canadiens), Zach Parise (Minnesota Wild), Joe Pavelsk (San Jose Sharks), Paul Stastny (Colorado Avalanche), Blake Wheeler (Winnipeg Jets).
The Russian men's hockey team has 14 NHL players on its 25-man roster. But most of the attention is focused on three impressive forwards Alex Ovechkin (Washington Capitals), Evgeni Malkin (Pittsburgh Penguins), and Pavel Datsyuk (Detroit Red Wings).
After Team Russia's first match against Slovenia (Russia won 5-2), there was some debate over whether it was starting the right goalie. Semyon Varlamov of the Colorado Avalanche allowed two goals on just 14 shots. Some wondered if Sergei Bobrovsky of the Columbus Blue Jackets should start against Team USA on Saturday?
As host of the Olympic Games, Team Russia has tremendous pressure to bring home a gold medal. If that wasn't enough, there's always the ghost of 1980, when heavily favored Russia lost to a USA Team of hockey amateurs. There won't be any underestimating of their opponents this time around.
“The Americans taught us a good lesson in 1980 – you have to respect your competitors before the match and afterwards you can say how they represented. We didn’t have the respect for them, and that’s why we lost. There aren’t any weak competitors in the Olympics," said Russian Ice Hockey Federation president Vladislav Tretiak.
The Team Russia Roster:
Goalies: Sergei Bobrovsky (Columbus Blue Jackets), Semyon Varlamov (Colorado Avalanche), and Alexander Eremenko.
Defensemen: Anton Belov (Edmonton Oilers) Alexei Emelin and Andrei Markov (Montreal Canadiens), Nikita Nikitin (Columbus Blue Jackets), Fedor Tyutin (Colorado Avalanche), Slava Voynov (L.A. Kings), Yevgeny Medvedev, and Ilya Nikulin.
Forwards: Artem Anisimov (Columbus Blue Jackets), Pavel Datsyuk (Detroit Red Wings), Nikolai Kulemin (Toronto Maple Leafs), Evgeni Malkin (Pittsburgh Penguins), Valeri Nichushkin (Dallas Stars), Alex Ovechkin (Washington Capitals), Alexander Semin Vladimir Tarasenko (St. Louis Blues), Ilya Kovalchuk, Alexander Radulov, Viktor Tikhonov, Alexander Svitov, Alexander Popov (Carolina Hurricanes), and Alexei Tereshchenko.