You're the man, Phil.
Photo by Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Phil Kessel had the best postseason of his career, leading the Pittsburgh Penguins with 10 goals and 22 points to help them win the 2016 Stanley Cup. Some even thought he deserved the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP. But Team USA general manager Dean Lombardi didn't seem to care about all that when he left the gifted scorer off the American roster for the World Cup of Hockey.
Naturally, as the Americans were in the midst of getting knocked out of the tournament, falling 4-2 to Canada, Kessel took to Twitter—for just his third post of the 2016 year—to throw some serious shade at Team USA for the snub.
Bravo, Phil, that's 10/10 status.
Team USA was supposedly built to beat Team Canada. So Lombardi and management focused on accumulating players with size and grit over speed and skill, leaving players like Kessel, Tyler Johnson, Kevin Shattenkirk and Kyle Okposo off the roster in favour of agitators and weaker options like Justin Abdelkader, Jack Johnson and Brandon Dubinsky. The construction of this team was bad, to say the least. They also appointed dictator John Tortorella as head coach.
The US kicked off the tournament with a flat effort in a stunning 3-0 shutout loss to Team Europe, making Tuesday's game against Canada a must-win contest. Despite getting out to a 1-0 lead, the Americans couldn't contain the superior Canadians, as Canada responded with four straight and went on to eliminate the US from the World Cup with a 4-2 victory, backed by two goals from Matt Duchene. Team USA has one meaningless game left against the Czech Republic.
It appears that there was a major flaw in Team USA's strategy for the World Cup of Hockey, I just can't put my finger on it.
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