"They're built to play one way and they're not doing a good job of it."
Those were the words of Brett Hull during Tuesday night's second intermission in which Team USA trailed Team Canada 4-1. Yet another game in this tournament, preliminary rounds included, where Team USA was outclassed by the more talented team on the opposite end of the ice.
Sure the end of the night saw Team USA winning the hitting battle. It saw them with more grit and character and more rah rah crap that John Tortorella's head in the sand tactics always preach. The same nonsense that drives GM Dean Lombardi after lucking in to two Cup wins. The same garbage that Brian Burke has always peddled.
And everyone saw this coming. Everyone but those in the USA Hockey front office.
The moment the team announced their leadership people cringed. People held out hope for a while. And then the roster was announced. Left off were playmakers, goal scorers, and people with skill in favor of role players and character people who could bring grit.
The moment all was announced and locked in, the moment players like Phil Kessel, Justin Faulk, Tyler Johnson, and Cam Fowler were left off of the team to form them, mold them in a specific way all saw how this would go.
Over the last near two weeks it's played out exactly as was expected: poorly.
While Team USA was not able to use some viable and talented candidates that went to Team North America (Jack Eichel chief among them) it's not excuse for building a roster of All Stars to fit your mold, and not mold yourself to fit them.
The second John Tortorella, he of his awful brand of hockey that has seen him driven out of multiple towns in recent memory, was named all knew this team would be bad. They knew it would be about him and his players doing it his way or the highway and not him conforming to fit the best players.
Everyone saw it coming. Everyone but the heads of USA Hockey. This all could have been avoided. And going forward, whether it be the 2018 Winter Olympics or the next World Cup of Hockey, this can change.
Instead of losing fans by playing poor hockey and boring style, emphasize the speed, the skill, the fun of hockey. Brian Burke, John Tortorella, and Dean Lombardi have never represented these things. Team Canada, Team North America, and every other team have that emphasis on skill over grit and grind.
Follow their lead. Follow your assistant coach, Mike Sullivan, and his lead.
Don't allow this to happen ever, ever again.