Moses, Hendricks lead
Moses, Hendricks lead
Character an important factor for team
Much has been made pre-tournament of Team USA’s youth. So much of what was on display in their opener against Finland was experience. Matt Hendricks and Steve Moses put in a terrific effort in propelling the Americans to victory.
It is only one game and caution is exercised but the two showed how important veteran leadership is on a young team. Hendricks and Moses combined for three goals and two assists.
Hendricks brings the veteran leadership. Since 2008, Hendricks has played for the Colorado Avalanche, Washington Capitals, Nashville Predators and Edmonton Oilers. At 33, Hendricks has played enough professional hockey to know that shared common purpose and on ice leadership are integral to on ice success.
Moses, on the other hand, brings familiarity with the big ice and knowledge of players on various teams. With a fair number of skaters who compete in the Kontinental Hockey League, Moses has either played with them or against them.
“I was definitely letting the guys know to be ready for this team and these players,” Moses said of the Finnish team. “I know it was going to be a really tough game.”
As well highlighted, Moses scored 36 goals this past season in the KHL and is hoping that his success will lead to a contract with an NHL team. While Hendricks is a character player who helps an NHL locker room, Moses is trying to get into one and earn a roster spot.
Both are first-time members of the national team but made what made it even more special for Hendricks was being named captain.Continue reading
“It means a lot being captain,” he said. “It is a huge honor. There are pictures of all the guys in the locker room who have worn it before and I am very lucky to be in this situation and very lucky to be on this team.”
Even after scoring two goals in the game, Hendricks was even more proud of the contributions of his younger teammates.
“They played well beyond their years in my opinion,” Hendricks said of the kids on the squad. “There are a lot of pros on the Finland team but they did what they are expected to do. They were able to put the feather in their cap but we had to continue to get better.”
He was equally effusive with praise for the play of Moses and Dan Sexton.
“They played great and you could tell they know how to play this style of hockey,” he noted of their experience in the KHL. “They read the plays really well and use their assets very well; their speed and skill to make plays.”
The American team has only been together fully for less than a week. There’s been little time to practice. Just yesterday before the game they welcomed key reinforcements, Brock Nelson and Anders Lee, from the NHL. But young or old there is skill on the roster that can carry this team throughout the tournament. But with big challenges ahead against formidable teams like Russia, there is work to be done.
“In these short tournaments you want to find chemistry right away,” said Moses. “We did that and there is obviously a lot we can work on but it is a good start against a very good team in Finland and we are happy with the win.”
The win over Finland gave Moses bragging rights over his Jokerit teammates Juhamatti Aaltonen, Topi Jaakola and Atte Ohtamaa.
“I’ll have to give Juhamatti Aaltonen a hard time. He said I was a bit small for a player.”
A joke, to be sure, but what is not is how big Moses played last night.
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