Thursday, May 4, 2017

COLOGNE -- The U.S. had a one-hour skate at LAXNESS Arena here today at 12 noon in preparation for its opener tomorrow in the 2017 IIHF Men’s World Championship against host Germany.

Jeff Blashill, head coach of Team USA, said he’s looking forward to tomorrow night’s game. “I’m sure it will be a fun atmosphere here tomorrow night with us playing the host country. It’s a big challenge right out of the gate. I like the progress we’ve made and we look forward to getting the tournament here tomorrow night.”

The U.S.-Germany game, set for an 8:15 p.m. faceoff tomorrow (May 5), can be seen live on NHL Network in the U.S. beginning at 2:15 p.m. ET. The game will also be streamed live on the NBC Sports app and at


•  Players and staff had their official tournament headshots taken today – both a traditional photo version and also a “moving” version for television.

• The U.S. lockerroom at LANXESS Arena (capacity: 18,500) in Cologne is between Germany and Slovakia. The hallways are snug.

• The U.S. roster has an average age of 22.6.

• U.S. assistant coach Seth Appert was also an assistant coach for the gold medal-winning U.S. Men’s National U18 Team at the recently competed IIHF U18 Men’s World Championship in Slovakia.

• The U.S. Men’s National Team will look to join the country’s gold medal parade this season. The U.S. Women’s National U18 Team, the U.S. National Junior Team, the U.S. Women’s National Team and the U.S. Men’s National U18 Team all captured gold at their respective world championships this season, making the U.S. the first nation ever to win the top prize at the first four top-level IIHF world championships in a season.

• Team USA’s captain is Connor Murphy, with alternate captains Brock Nelson and Dylan Larkin.

Inside Story With Team USA captain Connor Murphy

What’s the mood of the team heading into tomorrow’s opener vs. Germany?
There’s a lot of excitement. Guys have seen the city a bit for a day. We had a good couple practices and we’re anxious to play on the big stage. I’m sure the crowd will be crazy here tomorrow.

Favorite hockey moment
A couple come to mind. The World Juniors was the biggest moment and winning the gold medal (2013). Also scoring my first NHL goal against Tampa Bay at home in my first NHL game with my parents there.

Best thing about hockey
Definitely the camaraderie with teammates and accomplishing something together with a group of guys.

Favorite Olympic sport outside of hockey
I’m a big fan of the Olympics. Really enjoy track and field in the Summer Games.

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