Hockey fans can watch the Team USA vs. Europe game live online and see if the Americans can take on an entire continent and score a win in their first match of the World Cup of Hockey.
The Americans got the distinction of drawing the mixed roster Team Europe for the first match, which is set to start at 3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2, but also available live online for fans unable to make it to a television (a link to the streaming video can be found below).
The tournament will be a tall task for the American team, which had the misfortune of being placed in Group A along with prohibitive favorite Team Canada and also with the mixed Europe team. That means no margin of error for Team USA in the round-robin opening round, with a win needed on Saturday to avoid making Tuesday’s match against Canada a win-or-go-home proposition, the New York Post noted.
“With two of the four teams in each group of the event advancing to the semifinals (Canada, Europe and Czech Republic are in the Americans’ section of the draw), Team USA needs a victory in this one to avoid turning Tuesday’s clash with Canada into essentially a must-win proposition.”
The players on Team USA aren’t letting the big odds get them down and are thinking about some past upsets for a bit of inspiration.
“Three times before us, special things have happened,” said Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane. “We don’t forget about that either. We know a lot about those teams, their success and how they had their success.
“Yeah, we’re a different group, different players, but we’re probably in our prime and in the peak of our careers right now. We feel like it’s time to make something happen.”
— Star Tribune Sports (@StribSports) September 16, 2016
But fans who watch the Team USA vs. Europe game live online will see the United States with at least one advantage. Unlike the previous international tournament at the Sochi Olympics, the World Cup of Hockey will take place on the smaller, NHL-sized rinks. That gives an advantage to the United States and their more physical style.
“Our identity is going to be a team that’s hard to play against,” captain Joe Pavelski said. “That’s who we are.”
But though the Americans come in as an underdog to the Canadian team in Group A, they will still be fielding a roster that is very tough to beat. As Yahoo Sports noted, Team USA won’t be setting any scoring records, but also won’t be giving up any big losses — something closer to the left-wing lock New Jersey Devils of the late 90s and early 2000s.
“Patrick Kane, Joe Pavelski, Blake Wheeler and Max Pacioretty were the only U.S. players to finish among the top 50 scorers in the NHL last season. This wasn’t a roster built to fill the net with goals, but was instead constructed with the idea of grinding out hard-fought 2-1 victories.”
“John Tortorella and the USA Hockey brass see the U.S. as a team that will be tough to play against. Hence why we see the likes of Justin Abdelkader and Brandon Dubinsky on the roster. The “miserable” Ryan Kesler suits that style as well, but you’d also expect him to be here; not so much with Abdelkader and Dubinsky.”
As the report noted, Team USA will need to get contributions from the top of the roster to the bottom in order to make any kind of run in the tournament. Saturday’s opening match should be a good indication of just what the roster will be able to do.
— CBS Sports NHL (@CBSSportsNHL) September 17, 2016
Fans who want to watch the Team USA vs. Europe game live online can click here for streaming video through WatchESPN.
[Featured Image by Nick Wass/AP Images]