TORONTO – As Phil Kessel was preparing for the finals of the Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins last spring, he offered measured words about his surprising omission from the list of US World Cup of Hockey Jersey.
“You’re always disappointed, but it is what it is,” Kessel said at a news conference. “I think I’ve had a very good playoffs, and I’ve always done pretty well for them when I played. But we are in the final of the Stanley Cup, so we can not be too disappointed.”
But on Tuesday night, as the United States was eliminated meekly tournament with a 4-2 loss to Canada, Kessel used a different tone on Twitter.
“Only you sit around the house tonight w my dog,” he wrote on Twitter. “I felt like I should be doing something important, but could not put my finger on it.”
Kessel was the fourth most goals in the N.H.L. playoffs last year, 10, and added 12 assists. He had 26 goals and 33 assists during the regular season.
He had a bone chip in his hand, but the operation was performed after he was left off the US team. Apparently, he played with the injury during the season and the playoffs without much of an issue – it was the leading scorer in playoff Penguins’.
This is the kind of score that Americans lacked less.
In two games, the United States managed only two goals, and only one of a front: T. J. Oshie. Ryan McDonagh Rangers scored the other.
He was asked whether, in retrospect, that would change the composition of the team, the coach was defiant John Tortorella. “No,” he said.
“You can he hit list everything they want,” he said. “We looked at some of those players on our list, there are some very good skill players, and they simply have not done enough on offense.”
Other skilled offensive players left off the team included Kyle Okposo, Tyler Johnson, Justin Faulk, Kevin Shattenkirk, Cam Fowler and Keith Yandle.
US record against Canada Hockey Jersey in Canada Cups and World Cups is now 3-9-1, and the three victories came in 1996, when the Americans won the tournament.
The Americans came here with a list of hard-nosed players who were assigned to curb Canada. They also came fortified with a catchy slogan, “It’s time,” a slogan not to let another opportunity slip. Before the tournament, managing military leaders invited to speak to the players, hoping that the message of selfless dedication to a cause sink in.
This model for success lies in ruins now after the overwhelming victory of Canada, who called the US out of the race, sending them to a 0-2 record with one more match to play in their four-team group.
“We let some people,” Tortorella said. “It’s on my watch. I certainly feel responsible for that.”
The legacy of the national hockey program the US has been defined by two notable periods of excellence, the Miracle on Ice 1980 and 1996 World Cup Hockey title race.
Twenty years later, the program is left wanting again as the best American players like Patrick Kane, Zach Parise and Joe Pavelski failed to build on the legacy after reaching the game for the gold medal of the 2010 Winter Olympics.
There was an urgency to win here because the N.H.L. however, you have to commit to play in the 2018 Olympics.
Americans now play a meaningless game against the Czech Republic on Thursday. Players then disperse to their N.H.L. clubs, that training camps open in the coming days.
Defense Ryan Suter took the defeat hard.
“I feel like we let our country down,” he said. “We let ourselves down. I have a great respect for Dean Lombardi, Paul Holmgren and Brian Burke,” he said, speaking of the management team. “I think we put a lot of effort into this and they care so much. I feel very badly let them down.”
Canada, which got two goals from Matt Duchene, guaranteed itself a place in the semi-finals, which start on Saturday.
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European team also won a place in the semis, under the loss of the United States. Europe will play Canada on Wednesday for first place in Group A.
The Americans were in a hopeless position after a 3-0 defeat to Europe on Saturday.
Looking to start the offense, Justin Abdelkader Tortorella elevated from a lower six role to play with Kane and Derek Stepan of the Rangers.
It also inserts and crescent 30-goal Kyle Palmieri and Dustin Byfuglien a more offensive-minded defense, while scratching the agitator Brandon Dubinsky and defenseman Jack Johnson.
Americans started fast, taking a 1-0 lead in the first period. But barely they had the chance to feel good about themselves.
That advantage lasted 90 seconds. Canada roared back with two goals in 14 seconds and domination continued, to the beat of the American net and forcing turnovers throughout the match.
Oshie predicted beforehand that if it came down to 100 percent proficiency, Canadians would win. If it came down to 100 percent of grain, Americans would win.
Americans seemed to leave much of their grain behind when they hit the ice to a cascade of boos from 19,106 fans in its Canadian at the Air Canada Center majority.
Canada did another good job Bottling Kane Jersey, who was N.H.L. last season’s leading scorer and Hart Trophy winner as the MVP of the league.
Not only it was excluded in both games of the tournament, but cost the team a key goal against Europe on Saturday with a clear indication of the blue line.
Unlike Canada Sidney Crosby, who often compared, Kane still has to be distinguished from international competition, where a premium on strong team game rather than strong, individual skills is placed.
Kane, considered by many as the most dynamic in the NHL player not scored in six games in the 2014 Olympics, when conducted the United States without a goal in the semifinal against Canada and the match for the bronze medal against Finland. Kane has not scored an international goal since the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.
While the United States had several proven stars, many were well past their best. The speed of the international game seems to have overtaken the veterans like Parise, Pavelski, Ryan Kesler and David Backes, who are 32.
There is only one player on the roster of Canada over 32 years, and he’s Joe Thornton, who played as if he were younger.
In the selection of this team, Lombardi, who is the general manager and the selection committee members spoke with World Cup champion 1996 team for feedback.
Lombardi also spoke with the players and team personnel and equipment 2010 2014 Olympics to get an idea of what broke in Sochi, Russia.
Now they have to go back to the drawing board.
Teams are always looking for a quick way to build chemistry in a short tournament, but the Canadian task is made easier because of its consistent over the years online.
The captain and best player in the team, Crosby, has enjoyed a relationship with his linemate Patrice Bergeron return to the world junior tournament in 2005.
They were first line of Canada in the tournament, although they had a quiet night against the United States.
Americans could have been stronger if fast forward, qualified as Auston Matthews, Jack Eichel and Johnny Gaudreau had been available to them.
But those under 24 stars formed by the team in North America, or so-called Young Guns.
In four years, when it expects the World Cup to return, Matthews and Eichel would still be young enough to play on one side of North America, but others, like Brandon Saad and Gaudreau, both 23, would be in or near its best and available for the national team. The United States has excelled in international youth tournaments in recent years, winning six gold medals at the world championship sub-18 and one in the case of children under 20 years.
While a closed window, another can be opened in the near future.
The speed and explosiveness of North America is likely to inspire the next generation of great American players.
“There is definitely a fantastic future come here,” Tortorella said.