"I feel now when the United States is entering any tournament, that we expect to win. I say that because I don't think that was always the case."
- Team USA general manager David Poile
With Team USA's orientation camp getting underway in advance of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Nashville Predators GM David Poile wasted no time in setting high expectations for the team he's putting together. Just check out his address to the media earlier today:
Back in 2010, the Americans were a team of scrappy underdogs compared to the star-studded Canadian lineup which they took to overtime before falling in the gold medal game. Does talk like this from Poile signal an era of international dominance approaching, with the Vancouver games serving as a jumping off point for a generation of new talent?
The sports books don't agree quite yet, ranking Team USA fourth in the 2014 gold medal odds after host Russia, defending champion Canada and the 2008 gold medalists from Sweden. A strong showing in Sochi will be required to shake those three traditional powers from the top of the international hockey rankings.
In terms of tone-setting, however, it's good to see Poile setting the bar high. The players who aspire to represent their country at the Olympic Games should be fully aware of the opportunity that awaits them. The Miracle On Ice may never happen again, but capturing gold would represent a career achievement that's even more rare than winning the Stanley Cup.
Oh, and there was this, too:
Seth Jones is rooming with Ryan Suter. Enjoy that Nashville— Brian Stubits (@StubitsCBS) August 26, 2013
Between the development of Seth Jones, the roster impact from July's free agency acquisitions and the build-up to the Olympics, the next few months will offer an unusually interesting bounty of hockey stories to follow here in Nashville...