No NHL players will compete in the 2018 Winter Olympics. Despite this, Pittsburgh Penguins fans will be able to cheer on some familiar faces at the PyeongChang games in February.
USA Hockey released it’s rosters on Jan. 1st, and it was nice to see a few players share ties to the Pittsburgh Penguins organization.
The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi were a travesty for the American hockey team. Namely because their roster lacked a certain hot dog endorsing sniper. This year the roster will not only be Kessel-less, but it will not feature players with a current NHL deal.
That means the United States Men’s Ice Hockey Team will return to the way it once was: amateurs only. Instantly your mind conjures thoughts of Herb Brooks and the 1980 USA team that defeated the USSR hockey machine in Lake Placid.
However, unlike the “Miracle on Ice”, the 2018 Men’s roster will not be fully composed of up-and-coming college hockey stars. They do boast a few, notably Troy Terry of WJC fame, but for the most part the team is constructed of older pros who play overseas or have signed with minor league teams.
On the men’s team, Brian Gionta’s name instantly jumps out and grabs you. A wily vet who buried 48 goals in ’05-06, Gionta is the leader of the bunch. Other than that it’s full of a bunch of “who is this?” and “do I remember this guy”?
BUT, you probably do remember some of these guys, and I know you recognize at least one member of the women’s team.
Mark Arcobello – The Pens claimed Arcobello off waivers in 2015. He only played 10 games and registered 2 assists.
Chris Bourque– Long time AHL star Chris Bourque joined the Penguins for a 20 game stint in 2009. He then returned to the Capitals farm system where he still plays today. Not related to Phil Bourque. Son of some chump named Ray?
Noah Welch– Ol’ Juicy. Traded for Gary Roberts in 2007. The Penguins actually drafted Welch in 2001, and he finished his hockey career at Harvard University before joining the team for 27 games.
Tony Granato– Joining the coaching staff in 2009, Tony didn’t win any Cups in Pittsburgh. He did however, leave us with gem, showing his dedication to stand up for his guys. Literally.
Amanda Kessel– Her brother Phil plays for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Did you know that? Amanda has already collected a silver medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics. She is a member of the Metropolitan Riveters of the NWHL, and registered 18 points in eight games last season.
It is a bit sad, knowing we won’t get to see Phil draped in an American flag, sniping genos in the name of liberty and justice. But with the players mentioned above, at least at little bit of the Pittsburgh Penguins will be represented at the 2018 Olympics.