Best USA Team ever?

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by Big Phil, Feb 7, 2006.

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  1. Big Phil

    Big Phil Registered User

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    Which team in your mind was the best the USA ever iced. This does not include the 1980 Olympic team. It was called a Miracle for a reason, that team wouldnt have beaten any of these others. But take your pick between the four.

    1991 Canada Cup team - Had a very good team on paper and evidently on the ice too. Hull was the Hart trophy winner, Modano and Roenick were both young but still good, Chelios, Suter and Leetch rounded out an impressive defence. Lafontaine was in his prime, Mullen and Janney were decent players. They just couldnt beat a Canadian team that had a bit more heart but looked very similar on paper. Richter was at the begining of his career but he was still pretty good. They lost both games to Canada in the finals, 4-1, 4-2.

    1996 World Cup team - This will probably be the #1 choice. Amonte, Modano, Guerin, Leclair, Weight, Tkachuk, Leetch, Richter all were in their primes. Hull, Lafontaine, Suter, Chelios were just barely out of their primes. Deadmarsh was the yougn gun, D. Hatcher played surprisingly well. Sure Canada was missing Lemieux, Bourque, Kariya, MacInnis, Roy, and Francis for all various reasons but even so they hardly had a team that couldnt win. USA finally beat big brother for the first time ever. Winning two games in Montreal to come back in the series was classic. Richter played unreal. The USA was young very fast and skilled.

    1998 Olympic Team - Well they didnt even make the semi finals. They got bounced out in the quarter finals 4-1 by the Czechs. This I think was supposed to be the BEST USA team ever but they big time underacheived. Losing to Sweden and Canada in the round robin they never recovered. On paper this could look like the best. they had basically the same team adding Bryan Berard.

    2002 Olympic team - They played extremely well going into the Gold medal game against Canada. They looked okay early on in the game but I felt got outplayed by Canada especailly in the 5 on 5 department. Again this was basically the '96 World Cup team. Take out Lafontaine and put in Drury. Roenick was in there as well. The probelm was the defence was old, the forwards were getting old and Richter couldnt steal THE game for them anymore. Don Cherry said before that game that they were the best USA team ever. In this team's defence the '02 Canadians were far better than the '96 team and USA was right there with them for much of the game.



    My pick: the 1996 World Cup team. Hard to bet against a team that beat Canada twice on Canadian soil. Too many good players in their prime on that team.
     
  2. mattihp

    mattihp Registered User

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    If only the '98 team would have been as bashing and intensive on the ice as at the hotel ;)

    Also... The americans will have a field day when they meet Finland, as always >_<
     
  3. Snap Wilson

    Snap Wilson Registered User

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    Yeah, in terms of performance, you have to hand it to '96, who beat Canada three times over the course of that tournament (only losing to them once in OT on a goal that should have been called offsides) and Russia twice.

    But I wouldn't rule out the '02 Olympic team. They played the best hockey of the tournament right up to the Gold Medal game, and Canada got a gift in the quarterfinals when Belarus beat Sweden. The U.S. just played their worst game at the worst possible time.
     
  4. Choice

    Choice Registered User

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    Gotta go with '96. That was a great crop of players, all in their prime.
     
  5. brianscot

    brianscot Registered User

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    I have to go with the 96 team as well.

    Although it lacks the drama and cultural impact that Eruzione's goal possessed, Tony Amonte's goal was simply huge for a hockey nation.
     
  6. Sens Rule

    Sens Rule Registered User

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    There is no debate 1996 beat Canada. They are kings, there is not even a debate as to which was best.
     
  7. jeffbear

    jeffbear Registered User

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    Best on the Ice ... has to go to the 96 World Cup Champs. That was one heck of a team.

    Best in terms of Impact ... nobody outside of our little hockey world really cares about the World Cup, so it's got to be the 1980 Gold Medal Winners.
     
  8. JWINK19

    JWINK19 southern Devils fan

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    1996 for me as well. Like the one post said, all those guys in their prime. '98 should have been almost as good, but they tore up hotels instead of tearing up the ice.
     
  9. Choice

    Choice Registered User

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    Right now Team USA is in transition between generations. In a few years I think the group that won the WJC has a chance to be as good, or better than this group that is ending in the twilights of their careers.

    Ryan Miller could be a mainstay for a while, plus Montoya is on the come up. Once Parise, Suter & co reach their primes, watch out.
     
  10. lemieux32*

    lemieux32* Guest

    Just a thought, the 1980 team beat a Soviet team that was essentially a pro all-star team, a team that blew out the NHL all-stars. They also played Sweden and Finland who had yet to start sending all of their best players over to America, so those teams had some native league stars and some players who would go on to be NHL stars as well. That 1980 team would have beaten these teams simply because it was their time.
     
  11. Choice

    Choice Registered User

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    Judging by the rest of their careers, the 96 team, or that group in general, was undeniably more talented
     
  12. Kenadyan

    Kenadyan Registered User

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    As a Canadian, gotta go with the '96 team.

    After Canada won the first game (of the three game series) in Philadelphia, I thought there was no way Canada would lose two in a row in Montreal.

    I think Canada was just as talented as the US in that series, but the US just played those last two games with more heart!!!

    That was the best team the US has ever fielded. The '98 team played in a funk and the '02 team had gotten too old.
     
  13. lemieux32*

    lemieux32* Guest

    I agree it was more talented but if you read the first paragraph of the first post he says that the 1980 team couldn't have beat any of the other teams he names. I had an issue with that.
     
  14. Big Phil

    Big Phil Registered User

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    USA in 1980 was playing on raw emotion and heart. It was a "Miracle" they beat the Russians in '80. A great Hockey story no doubt, but if they played the Russians ten times they might lose 9. So to me in a best of 7 game series they lose to the Russians or any other American team on this list.
     
  15. Oilers Chick

    Oilers Chick Registered User

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    Definitely have to say the 1996 World Cup team.

    Phil: You mention the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" team but fail to mention the 1960 team at Squaw Valley that were in a similar situation to the 1980 team. The 1960 team was pretty impressive too and the feat that they accomplished was nothing short of a "miracle" as well.
     
  16. Big Phil

    Big Phil Registered User

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    They did beat Canada that 1960 US team and it is often forgotten. But as well as the 1980 team these were Amateurs. the best players in the NHL in 1960 would have anihilated the 1960 US team, just like how the Russians should have done that to the 1980 team. Both are good team and could be considered some of the greatest Olympic teams prior to 1998.
     
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