Read the room, USA Hockey

Read the room, USA Hockey

As you may have heard after considerable wailing from players and at least the Canadian fanbase who need anything to feel good about themselves these days, the NHL has finally reinstituted an international calendar for not only the Olympics but eventually a World Cup the next few years. The latter won’t be coming until 2028, so in the meantime next year the All-Star game will be scrapped for a four-team mini-tournament between Canada, the US, Sweden, and Finland to whet everyone’s appetite for the Olympics the following year in Italy (no one’s quite sure yet if it’ll be in Milan, the host city, or back to Turin because of arena issues).

Which means fans finally get to play the fun game of outlining what national teams should look like with the best players on Earth, and USA Hockey gets another chance to show its ass. Which it never misses!

Today, USA Hockey named Bill Guerin as GM of these two teams the next two years, which is an interesting look considering the times. Because with Hockey Canada having to be completely overhauled and still very much in the muck over covering up sexual assaults from players within the program, one would have to say it’s a choice for USA Hockey to choose Guerin, himself accused of covering up a sexual assault when he was part of the Penguins front office. In that lawsuit, Guerin was accused of telling Jarrod Skalde, husband of Erin Skalde who claimed the coach of the Penguins AHL team had assaulted her, to keep it quiet after Skalde informed him of what his wife had said Clark Donatelli had done.

While the lawsuit that Erin and Jarrod Skalde filed against the Penguins was eventually settled, it is curious that USA Hockey would want any sort of whiff of not caring about this sort of thing around the organization given what’s going on up north.

Making this even more of a boondoggle is that Guerin this past fall was under investigation for verbal abuse of a Wild employee. The team concluded that Guerin had not committed a fireable offense after an internal investigation. And we should always believe when an NHL team says so, right?

Whatever Guerin did or didn’t do, USA Hockey is at best obtuse and at worst fiendishly uncaring about even the appearance of not taking the current biggest issue in hockey seriously.

And on a much lower level, why even take the risk for someone who might not even be that good at the job? There’s been nothing about Guerin’s tenure as GM of the Wild that marks him out as anything other than scenery, which the Wild have been for their entire existence anyway. What exactly has he unearthed in St. Paul that marks him out as a throbbing hockey brain?

Tom Fitzgerald has put together one of the more exciting, young rosters in New Jersey, even if they can’t stay healthy. Chris Drury was all things Team USA as a player, and the Rangers have amassed way more regular-season success than the Wild. Bill Zito constructed a Presidents’ Trophy winner and Stanley Cup finalist in Florida, achieving that club’s best streak of hockey in their entire existence. Oh, right, he’s a former agent so he can’t crack this old boy’s club.

Then again, this is the same organization that let John Vanbiesbrouck back in to be GM of the WJC team, so maybe expectations that the organization could rise above the sludge are just too high.

Also, this isn’t that hard of a job that only a current NHL GM, who probably has more than enough on their plate already, can do it. Here, I’ll help: Pick the three Hughes brothers, the two Tkachuk garbage sons, Auston Matthews, J.T. Miller, Brock Boeser, Alex DeBrincat, Jason Robertson, Kyle Connor, Tage Thompson, Jack Eichel, Dylan Larkin, Adam Fox, Zach Werenski, Charlie McAvoy, Jaccob Slavin, Connor Hellebuyck in net. There, you’re done. If you wanna sub in Jake Guenztel somewhere, fine. Thatcher Demko can back up Hellebuyck. Phew, that was hard! Guess I’ll crack a cold one and wait for my call from USA Hockey.

Original source here

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About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.