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Chasing the American dream

Team USA hung tough against mighty Russia till late

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Team USA’s Paul Stastny tries to get the puck from Russia’s Alexei Tereshenko. Photo: Richard Wolowicz / HHOF-IIHF Images

HELSINKI – Third-time Worlds participant and 2010 Olympian Paul Stastny put it all in perspective after the United States fell 5-3 to Russia on Tuesday night. The 27-year-old American captain, who’s spent seven years with the Colorado Avalanche, spoke at length to reporters.

On the youthful American roster

You might not know a lot of these names, but in two or three years, all these guys will be in the NHL, and they’ll all be good players. It’s a different team from last year, but we’ve got a pretty good team. If we keep getting better, I think we’ll have a good game against Finland. After that, we’ll look forward to the rest of the challenge.

On what ultimately gave Russia the edge

We’re a young team, and we gave them too much respect. When you do that on the big sheet, we backed off too much, and we gave them too much time. Russia, like on that third goal, they’re just going to zig-zag you and criss-cross, and that’s when it gets confusing.

I think we have to do a better job as far as getting back and in turn allowing our defence to step up.

On the mental challenge of playing in Europe

I think we were a little nervous. We weren’t as poised as we wanted to be, and that’s because we were playing Russia, who are the defending champions. We’re playing in front of 6,000 Russian fans who are as loud as I’ve seen this building. Even last year against Finland it wasn’t this loud.

So it was a fun atmosphere. I think it’s a good learning experience. [Wednesday] is going to be the same thing. It’ll be a tough environment against the home team.

On the performance of American goalie Ben Bishop

We’re going to give up chances, so you don’t look at the scoresheet. You look at the big stops he made. That fourth goal was tough. It was just a big scramble and no one knew where the puck was. A goal like that goes in and you can’t do anything.

But he played well. He kept us in it, and that’s his job. We’re not going to ask him to get a shutout every game. We’re going to put up goals, and we’re just going to ask him to keep us in the game and make that big save. He’s been doing that the whole tournament for us.

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