Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Phil Kessel Nonplussed by Team U.S.A.'s Dismal World Cup Showing

From his couch, Phil Kessel had the following to say after Team U.S.A.'s listless loss to Canada at the World Cup of Hockey on Tuesday night:

Kessel, who won the Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins in June, and is coming off his best run as a pro, apparently didn't enjoy feeling helpless at home while American hockey got a big kick in the jaw from big, bad Canada.

Kessel did have surgery on his hand in early July, so it's not clear if he would have been ready in time to go for the World Cup. But his tweet reads more like the frustration of a player who wasn't happy that he wasn't given an invitation to Team U.S.A. before his injury.

Kessel wasn't the only one critical of Team U.S.A.'s personell decisions for this year's World Cup. But head coach John Tortorella stuck by his team in a press conference after Tuesday's game in Toronto:

Q. In hindsight, do you think maybe you would change the makeup of this roster at all?

Q. If it isn't the roster, as critics like to say, what was the problem, or what should you have done differently?
JOHN TORTORELLA: Well, I'm still looking for us to generate offense. I think we have some good offensive players on that roster. I think we have some jam in that roster. I think we can play a lot of different ways. We have not played well offensively. We have not made enough offensive plays as a group. There's no one particular person, but as a group I just don't think we have been consistent enough, when really quite honestly, I think there were some plays to be made. I said it after Game 1, and I see it tonight. We have some chances to make plays, and we just did not complete that. Hit some posts. I don't think we got a whole bunch of puck luck, but we didn't play well enough. We didn't play well enough. But you guys can beat up the roster all you want. You look at some of those players on our roster, there are some pretty good skill players, and we just simply did not do enough offensively. And we self‑inflicted quite a bit in the two games. We gave some easy goals, and you just can't do that in a short tournament.

Kessel wasn't the only snubbed player that was critical about Team U.S.A. Bobby Ryan, after some prodding on Twitter, made the following snide remarks (Ryan was also left off the 2014 Olympic team after being criticized for his lack of intensity, so there's sure to be some frustration on his side):