This was supposed to be the new dawn of American hockey. The era in which Team USA, ripe with young, dynamic talent, climbed up and challenged for the throne.
After decades of operating in the shadow of their northern neighbours and that red-and-white behemoth, the United States was set for a renaissance on the backs of the Gaudreaus and the Eichels, on that of Auston Matthews and the number of other U.S.-born stars dominating from the blue line and in the cage.
The only problem: So far, the squad has yet to get an opportunity to do any damage together.
Between the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, which siphoned a number of talented Americans off to an under-23 ‘Team North America’ roster, and the NHL’s decision not to participate in the 2018 Olympic Games, stars like Johnny Gaudreau, Jack Eichel and Matthews have yet to suit up together on the biggest international stage.
That run looks set to continue following the recent news of the NHL and NHLPA falling short in their efforts to bring the World Cup back in 2020. It appears 2022 is likely the next best bet — that three-year delay only serving as the full sentence if the NHL decides to return to the Olympics — though a 2021 option appears to be in the early stages of discussion as well.
Regardless, it seems an opportunity missed for the red, white and blue, without a doubt, given the immense talent waiting to come over the boards.