The Contrarian: In the Land of Care-a-Lot

Demetri Fragopoulos


The USA did not select all of its most talented players for the World Cup of Hockey.

There are times when you fantasy teams, especially in keeper leagues, are destined to lose.

It can happen because of poor roster management, bad luck (injuries or players leaving for other leagues), or poor draft strategy.

When you adamantly believe that your veterans can continue to perform the way they did when they were 26 years old, you will fail slowly until reality hits you in the face or they start to retire.

When bad luck befalls on you, it comes quickly. Depending when it strikes, you might have a chance of pulling yourself out of the hole. If not for the immediate season, then for later ones.

Then there are the times when you go into a draft and clearly select the wrong guys. You do not know this at the time, but soon after you recognize your error.

This is what happened to Team USA at the World Cup as NBC Sports (Adam Gretz) and the Boston Globe (Fluto Shinzawa) both point out in their respective articles. They are not the only ones either.

“[It] is no secret that if you want to win an international hockey tournament you are going to have to go through the powerhouse that is Hockey Canada at some point. So that focus on wanting to beat them is at least somewhat understandable. But the focus of the entire team can not be on just Canada,” writes Gretz.

Shinzawa adds, “The Americans could have put up a stiffer fight with better personnel. Lombardi had two windows in which to select Phil Kessel before the ex-Bruin underwent hand surgery after the playoffs. Young, quick, and skilled players such as Tyler Johnson, Charlie Coyle, Chris Kreider, and Justin Faulk were not called upon.”

Both come to similar conclusions. “Team USA will be fine if its leadership emphasizes skill and speed over muscle and character. Perhaps the Americans’ World Cup flameout will serve as an important reminder: Pick your best players.” And “[When] it comes to winning on the ice, the field, or the court, it still a talent based business. There is a reason Rudy only ever played one snap: It’s because there were always better players, and all of the heart and determination in the world wasn’t going to change that”.

Their analysis is not wrong, but it is easy to dump on someone after the results come in.

As pointed out, some focus on Team USA’s belief that caring, heart-and-soul p