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Rangers Callahan hopes to lead U.S. to Olympic gold

01/21/2014, 8:30am MST
By Dan Scifo - Special to USAHockey.com

New York Rangers captain Ryan Callahan was a key component of the 2010 U.S. Olympic men’s hockey team that captured a silver medal in Vancouver.

The most important take from the 2010 Games that sticks with Callahan, who will represent the United States for the second time in his career during the upcoming Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, wasn’t the heartbreaking overtime defeat against Canada in the gold-medal game, but merely the opportunity to participate in the Olympic experience.

“I think the biggest thing I took out of Vancouver is how fun it was and how much of an honor it was, and how proud I was to represent the USA and our country,” Callahan said. “You don’t know how many chances you’re going to get, so going into Russia I’m just going to enjoy the overall experience again. I’m thankful I get another shot.”

While Callahan is excited to play for his country again, there’s no doubt the Rochester, N.Y. native wants to finish the job this time around.

“We’re going over there to represent the USA, and we’re going over there to try and win a gold medal,” Callahan said. “That’s our main concern.”

The 28-year-old Callahan, no stranger to the leadership role, will be charged with guiding Team USA to its first gold medal since the legendary 1980 “Miracle on Ice” team. He is part of a five-player leadership group, joining Minnesota Wild teammates Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, in addition to Los Angeles Kings forward Dustin Brown and St. Louis Blues forward David Backes.

“I think it’s an experienced group,” Callahan said. “I think it’s our role to set the tone of the team and try to create an identity as fast as you can in such a short amount of time.

“I think that was big to our success in 2010, our team changing pretty quickly and establishing the way we wanted to play. That year, our leadership group did that, and now it’s passed on to us and we have to do the same in Russia.”

Dan Bylsma, coach of the U.S. Olympic team, believes this year’s leadership group is special.

“I think you look up and down our roster at a group of guys that are either captains on their teams or captain material in the past for their teams,” Bylsma said. “You’re looking at well-respected, gritty, captain players for their teams, and how they play, and how they battle, and it’s a great strength for our team.

“We’re talking about real leaders and real captains for their teams.”

A frustrating, injury-riddled year is starting to turn around at just the right time for Callahan. He missed the season opener after offseason shoulder surgery and sat out seven more games with a broken thumb suffered while blocking a shot Oct. 16 at Washington. Callahan later suffered a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee Dec. 10 against Nashville and missed three weeks, returning Jan. 3 at Pittsburgh.

“It’s hard to sit out and watch your team,” Callahan said. “It’s been a tough year, no question, with injuries. This happens sometimes, so you have to stay positive and keep working.”

Joining Callahan on the U.S. Olympic Team are fellow New York Rangers Ryan McDonagh a standout defenseman, and forward Derek Stepan. Both McDonagh and Stepan will be first-time Olympians.

“You’re going over there and you have one practice and you’re playing in a game,” Callahan said. “[Having experience with teammates] can definitely help and make you feel more comfortable. That’s a positive, and I think it’s something they definitely concentrated on.”

Now, the focus for the U.S. Olympic squad is a gold medal, and a fully healthy Callahan is ready to flourish in Sochi.

“It’s going to be a good team,” Callahan said. “You go right through the lineup, there’s a lot of skilled players, a lot of fast players, and I think that will be good on the big ice.

“With that many talented players on the team, I think we’re going to have a good shot.”

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team Falls to Sweden, 4-2

02/13/1998, 8:00am MST
By USA Hockey

NAGANO, Japan -- Forward Daniel Alfredsson scored two goals and linemate Peter Forsberg added two assists as Sweden defeated the United States, 4-2, here Friday afternoon in the opening game for both teams at the XVIII Olympic Winter Games.

Goaltender Tommy Salo registered 29 saves and held the United States scoreless for the final 47:10 of play to preserve the victory for Sweden, the defending Olympic gold medalists in men’s ice hockey.

The United States built a 1-0 lead at 11:10 of the first period when team captain Chris Chelios (Chicago Blackhawks/Chicago, Ill.) scored on a blast from just inside the blue line.  Chelios’ goal was assisted by forwards Bill Guerin (Edmonton Oilers/Wilbraham, Mass.) and Keith Tkachuk (Phoenix Coyotes/Melrose, Mass.).

Sweden answered at 12:26 of the first period when Alfredsson, who plays for the National Hockey League’s Ottawa Senators, flipped a shot past U.S. goaltender Mike Richter (New York Rangers/Abington, Pa.).  The power-play goal was set-up by an assist from Forsberg.

Team USA regained the lead just :24 later when forward Mike Modano (Dallas Stars/Livonia, Mich.) scored on a shot from beyond the right face-off circle. Modano’s goal was assisted by Guerin.

Sweden tied the score, 2-2, at 1:50 of the second period when forward Patric Kjellberg scored on a two-on-one breakaway with assists from Mikael Renberg and Ulf Samuelsson.  Alfredsson then worked a loose puck past Richter from in close for his second goal of the game, giving Sweden a 3-2 lead at 11:33 of the second period.  Forsberg was credited with an assist on the goal, which proved to be the game-winner.

Mats Sundin closed the scoring for Sweden with a goal at 17:04 of the third period, making the final 4-2.

The United States continues round-robin play in the championship portion of the Olympic men’s ice hockey tournament Saturday against Belarus, while Sweden faces Canada.  Face-off for the USA-Belarus game is set for 2:45 p.m. in Big Hat Arena.

Scoring Summary
SWE  1-2-1 -- 4
USA  2-0-0 -- 2

First Period -- Scoring: 1, USA, Chelios (Guerin, Tkachuk), 11:10. 2, SWE, Alfredsson (Forsberg), 12:26 (pp). 3, USA, Modano (Guerin), 12:50.  Penalties: Forsberg, SWE (holding the stick), 1:22; Deadmarsh, USA (roughing), 11:35; Schneider, USA (high sticking), 13:44.

Second Period -- Scoring: 4, SWE, Kjellberg (Renberg, Samuelsson), 1:50. 5, SWE, Alfredsson (Forsberg), 11:33.  Penalties: Johansson, SWE (cross checking), 4:14; Amonte, USA (roughing), 18:57; Johansson, SWE (roughing), 18:57.

Third Period -- Scoring: 6, SWE, Sundin (Andersson), 17:04.  Penalties: Carney, USA (interference), 5:09; Ohlund, SWE (hooking), 6:15; Chelios, USA (elbowing), 20:00.

Shots On Goal -- SWE 6-5-9 -- 20; USA 14-8-9 --31.
Goaltenders -- SWE, Salo (31 shots, 29 saves); USA, Richter (20 shots, 16 saves)
Penalties -- SWE 4/8; USA 5/10
Power Plays -- SWE 1/5; USA 0/4.
Attendance -- 9,985.

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Tag(s): Men's National Team