Friday, August 15, 2008

Time for a Change?

At the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, the United States went win less in the primarily round with a 5-2 loss to the Czech Republic on Thursday. They will face Switzerland in the 7th place game on Saturday.

It begs the question, should USA Hockey use the National Team Development Program in this event?

My personal opinion is yes they should. Unlike the World Under 18 Championships, the Ivan Hlinka brings the best to the best under one roof (Okay maybe two roofs but you get what I am saying.). Canada can't send their best because of the CHL and Junior A playoffs that take place in April.

Unlike Canada, the United States struggles when they bring their B Team. I know this team didn't have a lot of time to gel but that's the key in a short tournament in chemistry. USA Hockey has that advantage over the rest of the teams with the NTDP and they should use it. I am sure some of the NTDP players are playing hockey this week. It's not like they are just relaxing and not working in the summer. They should be given the option if they want to play on this team at the very least.

USA Hockey should reward the kids that standout at the Select 17's and should be able to compete at the international stage. There's a Four or a Five Nations tournament in Ann, Arbor, Michigan that they could compete in during the season. They would get the exposure from the scouts and face quality talent. I am sure their teams would have no problem releasing the player for a weekend to compete for their country. Most likely major junior teams wouldn't release a player but I think the rest would. That includes the USHL because the release players for the World Junior "A" Challenge.

This is the first year I really pay attention to the Ivan Hlinka and surprise how every team is stronger then the Americans. Maybe USA Hockey underestimated the talent at this tournament but its time to bring the elite of the elite that the United States has to offer.

There's a poll on this subject in the right column.

That's My Take

(Nathan also is a writer for He's the writer for the Asylum which covers the Lewiston Maineiacs of the QMJHL. He's also a regular contributor to the NHL Source also at He can be reached at


"Dave Schultz" said...

according to the awesome, accurate and always up-to-date USA hockey website:

team members were chosen from the 2008 USA Hockey Select 17 Player Development Camp, which was held July 7-13 at the National Hockey Center at St. Cloud State (Minn.) University and featured many of America's best hockey players born in 1991 ... The U.S. roster includes seven players who were members of the U.S. Under-17 Select Team that took part in the 2007 Under-17 Five Nations Tournament in the Czech Republic.

It's just a pity they are faring so poorly.

SimonTemplar said...

For the life of me tryign to understand what they do with those teams is a mystery. The NTDP don't want to show " their hand " by playing that team in this tournament. If they did and lost this bad it would really show how uselss they operate it at.Every year same old story they go to tournaments and get beat up including the WJC were Canada just trounces them. Me thinks they have their own best interest at heart including job security.

If they went to the Ivan and got bounced the money people might think it about time to disband the whole concept.

The NTDP are nothing but glorified teams that play games in the USHL, NAHL and a few tournaments.

Nathan Fournier said...


I think we both agree that USA would of won a game if they had the NTDP team.

I agree with you that there would be an uproar if the NTDP brought a doughnut home in the prelims.

Is the NTDP a glorified team? Yeah I can see where you can think that. The U-18 team does play elite Division I teams also and prepares them for the NCAA game.

I think the success at the 2010 Olympics for the Americans will truly judge how the NTDP has done. With the old guard out for the Americans (except for Modano and possibly Chelios), I believe half the team will be NTDP alumni.

SimonTemplar said...

Your right with the 2010 being a real showcase. If they don't start producing some " Heavy Metal" soon heads will roll along with the format.

You could probably agree with me that Canada can throw together teams out of left field and just roll these things up. The USA system look far too complicated and needs to be broken up.

Lets the players go play where they want and select the best of the best from the last 3 months.

Very simple.

The Former head of Hockey Canada and the guy that put the last U-17 together last year in London was on radio last night. He mentioned how easier it is now performing with just a higher skilled group of players than 10 years ago. And the USA is no different, they have skilled guys galore but their systems are too political and complicated.

The USA team that Pat Kane played on reminds me of that. They had players sitting in the CHL that should of been there but for political reasons ( cough cough NCAA, USHL, NTDP, Rolston, Hynes and others ) the best of the best were not there.