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Trump and Chase

By John King, 01/06/17, 6:15PM CST


Drain the swamp? More like flood the rink! American hockey is great again (and it feels so good!).

Team USA’s World Junior gold was YUGE!!!

On January 20 Donald Trump will become the 45th president of the United States. After watching Team USA's gold-medal performance in the World Juniors, it's clear the Donald need not include USA Hockey on his to-do list because they're already kicking ass. And dare I say they're doing it in the most American of ways? 

Consider that Team USA's roster for this year's World Junior team included players from ten different states. And, while that might not seem like a ton consider that the 1980 Miracle on Ice team had players from just four states (and 12 Minnesotans!). This year's U.S. World Junior team also had three African-Americans, breaking new ground for International hockey. 

USA Hockey in 2017 is a beautiful melting pot of mullets, an Ellis Island of Eastons. It's glorious. And Mr. Trump better be careful about building that wall, because don't look now but that beautiful American-born baby sniper up in Toronto, Auston Matthews (and his 20 goals in 37 games), an Arizona kid of Mexican descent. Yep, American hockey is sure starting to look, well, American. And as it turns out, that's a really good thing. 

Hola Auston! Como Esta?

USA hockey has come a long way from filling its jerseys with players from the "three Ms" of Minnesota, Massachusetts, and Michigan, and it's been good for the game.

I know what you're thinking: so they had one nice tournament! What about the World Cup debacle this summer, and the lack of Olympics gold? 

Okay, here's the deal, and listen closely. USA Hockey is really, really good right now. The truth is, the novelty that was Team North America in the World Cup hurt Team USA's chances considerably because it rendered under-23-year-old players like Jack Eichel, Johnny Gaudreau, Auston Matthews, Dylan Larkin, Shane Gostisbehere, and Zach Werenski not eligible to play for Team USA. 

Had Team USA been able to fill its roster with a mix of those young studs, who knows how far we would have gone in the World Cup? I know the holidays are just over, but imagining Auston Matthews centering a line with Johnny Gaudreau and Patrick Kane has visions of sugar plums dancing in my head. 

What's that? I sound like a homer? I'm biased? 

Nope, let's raise the stakes and go full jingoism which our friends at tell us means "extreme patriotism," which sounds about right because, ladies and gentlemen, if this World Junior tournament reminded me of one thing, it was just how damn much I love American hockey. Oh, let me count the reasons why. Consider:

“C” is for cookie. But you’ll need to go to the quiet room to eat them.

1. Our captain, Luke Kunin, was ejected from a game for sending a Canadian blue liner to the quiet room with a completely clean hit. You know how kids used to wear STOP signs on the backs of their jerseys? Well, the "C" on Kunin's sweater is for concussion. By the time you see it, its already too late.

Jordan Greenway is a beast. Be afraid.

2. Our players just keep getting bigger, stronger and faster. 6'5", 225-lb. Jordan Greenway was last seen stealing Dylan Strome's lunch money. 

3. We have a kid with the last name Bracco. He's from New York—of course he is. 

Still upset about the World Cup? Bracco says, “fuhgetaboutit!”

4. Charlie McAvoy is such a calming presence on the blue line that reported that Ma Ma McAvoy, Ma Ma McAvoy is trending as the most popular meditation mantra early in 2017. 

Charlie Effing McAvoy. CFM.

5.. This Junior team was so American, that our coach Bob Motzko started to look like Ben Franklin. 

After that tourney, how quickly can we get Motzko’s face on the $100 bill?

6. Unlike the Canadians, Team USA doesn't  wear neck guards. What's next for Team Canada Lululemon designed sweaters complete with thumb holes? On the bright side, it does appear Team Canada emerged from the tournament safely without a single player getting his silver medal tangled into his neck guard. Whew, we dodged a silver bullet there!

Hey, nice neck guard!

7. It wouldn't be American hockey without a little innovation, dexterity and creativity. Leave it to the American squad to always have that one kid—be it T.J. Oshie in Sochi or World Junior hero Troy Terry who can turn the shootout into a guitar solo that'll make your face melt. 

While the math doesn’t check out, we’re pretty sure Troy Terry is T.J. Oshie’s son.

8. As for natural goal scorers, well, we left our biggest sniper (Alex DeBrincat) off the roster and still won gold. Colin White's effort wasn't too shabby, as he scored at will. 

9. Did I mention the neck guards?  Another great thing about Team Canada wearing neck guards is that it totally takes chirping to a new level, because after scoring Team USA players can yell "How you like them Adam's apples?" Or, if you like the more obtuse chirps, it's always worthwhile to ask a citizen of Neck Guard Nation if he’s wearing some sort of new Fitbit around his neck. 

10. Finally, if you need further evidence that Canada is getting scared and sees us as the biggest threat to their hockey supremacy, see the New Year's Eve game where, after losing to us they somehow couldn't find a way to hoist our flag into the air. 

As for the Olympics, well, all I know is that, while the recent generation of American stars like Ryan Suter, Zach Parise, Ryan Miller, and David Backes did some good things, the group we have now is capable of bringing gold back from Korea in 2018. 

It would be a travesty, or perhaps better said a conspiracy, if the NHL doesn't send its players, because Team USA will be poised for gold at the 2018 Winter Games. So, call Donald, call your congressman or senator, and demand that the NHL send its best to the winter games. It's the American thing to do. 

Sorry abooooot the flag guys!

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