By Annie Ross
The U.S. men’s Olympic hockey team hoped that a ragtag lineup of has-beens and kids could hold their own against veteran players from around the world.
That notion was officially put to rest today as Team USA was ousted in the quarterfinals after failing to score on any of its five shots in a shootout with the unbeaten Czech Republic.
The U.S. finished the Pyeongchang Olympics with two victories (both against Slovakia) in five games, and will likely spend a big chunk of the next four years discussing how to find a way to bring NHL players back in the mix for the Beijing Games.
The 3-2 loss also denies the U.S. another medal opportunity as Team USA continues on a downward trajectory that would give America its smallest medal haul at a Winter Games in at least two decades.
The fact that the defeat was sealed in a shootout served as a stark reminder of the roster that they could have fielded at these Games if not for an April decision by the NHL to block its players from participating.