USA names Wild’s Bill Guerin as Olympic general manager, 4-nation showdown: What are his toughest decisions?

USA names Wild’s Bill Guerin as Olympic general manager, 4-nation showdown: What are his toughest decisions?

USA Hockey announced Thursday that Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin has been named to the same position for the 2025 4 Nations Face-Off and 2026 U.S. Olympic teams. What you need to know:

  • NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced Friday at All-Star weekend that NHL players will return to Olympic competition in 2026 and 2030 after reaching an agreement with the IIHF, International Olympic Committee and NHLPA.
  • NHL players haven’t been to the Olympics since 2014 in Sochi. An agreement to send them to the 2018 Pyeongchang Games was not reached, and the league withdrew from the 2022 Beijing Games due to coronavirus concerns after initially agreeing to participate.
  • Hockey hasn’t seen its best international tournament since the 2016 World Cup. To return to a regular schedule, the 2026 Olympics will be followed by the 2025 Four Nations showdown next February, rather than the NHL’s All-Star Game, which features players from the United States, Canada, Sweden and Finland. .

Why are you jealous?

He has the pedigree. Not only was he supposed to be the general manager of Team Beijing before the NHL pulled out, but the 53-year-old has represented the United States in the Olympics three times as a player (1998 in Nagano, 2002 in Salt Lake City and 2006 in Torino), a silver medalist. 2002.

Guerin played 18 years in the NHL, winning a Stanley Cup as a player, with the New Jersey Devils in 1995 and the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2009; two more as Penguins executive (2016 and 2017); He was inducted into the USA Hockey Hall of Fame in 2013. He is tied for the eighth-most goals (429) among US-born players in NHL history.

“I am very excited about this opportunity,” Guerin said. The athlete Thursday. “I was nine years old when the miracle on the ice happened, and it had a huge impact on my life and my love of hockey and my desire to represent my country. So it means a lot. Really not. And I take it very seriously.”

Guerin has been the Wild GM since 2019, during which time the team was 191-113-35 and did not miss the playoffs, though they also did not advance to the second round. Minnesota is currently in seventh place in the Central Division at 22-23-5. — Michael Russo, NHL senior writer

Can Team USA win it all?

While Canada are the usual favorites, Geren’s USA team will be stacked, and arguably has the best roster on paper.

There is enviable center depth with Auston Matthews, Jack Eichel and Jack Hughes. Brothers Tkachuk and Taj Thompson. A dark blue line led by Charlie McAvoy, Adam Fox and Quinn Hughes. Any of the top three goaltenders could start for Canada, which lacks depth there.

Whether it’s the Four Nations Cup or the Olympics, the Americans will be in a prime position at the international level with this generation of NHL players.

Guerin said his dream is to lead the United States to gold medals in both: “That’s the goal. USA Hockey has come such a long way in the last 25 years that participating is no longer good enough. We go into the game expecting to win, and that’s What I like.

“We have skilled centers. We shut down (defensemen). We have 100-point guys. We have good players. There are a lot to choose from. I don’t understand why we shouldn’t be thinking about gold medals.” – Russo and Joe Smith, Wilde’s senior writer

What are Guerin’s toughest roster decisions?

It’s hard to imagine Team USA without Detroit Red Wings winger Patrick Kane, arguably the greatest American-born player of all time. But choosing him or not will be among the tougher decisions Guerin will have to make, as will another veteran and established international player, Dallas Stars forward Joe Pavelski.

Vancouver Canucks winger Brock Boeser, who currently ranks seventh in the NHL with 30 goals, could be on the bubble as well. But the toughest decisions may be for Guerin’s players in Minnesota, where rookie outfielder Brock Faber would be an interesting option in a year that generated Calder Trophy buzz. And where does wild winger Matt Boldy fit in?

“We’re going to have some tough decisions, but we deal with them all the time,” Guerin said. “For some guys, we’re very disappointed. But on the other hand, for some guys, we’re offering the opportunity of a lifetime. We have to make sure we do it right and choose people who are going to get 100 percent buy-in no matter what their role is. It’s going to take a real team.” “To win.”

Guerin’s first duty as general manager will be to name the first six players for the 4 Nations event early this summer. – Russo and Smith

Who might be on Guerin’s crew?

New York Rangers GM Chris Drury is a good bet to be assistant GM, as he himself would have been under Guerin in Beijing, as is the case with Florida Panthers GM Bill Zito and New Jersey Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald.

It wouldn’t be surprising if Guerin added someone like Minnesota Wild director of player personnel Chris Kelleher given his professional scouting experience. Guerin will work with Assistant Executive Director John Vanbiesbrouck, but that will be his decision and he hopes to hire a staff relatively soon.

Guerin said the leadership group has not yet begun talking to train candidates. The Penguins’ Mike Sullivan has been selected for the 2022 Olympics and remains a strong candidate. They would like to have the same coach for four nations and one Olympics for continuity. – Russo and Smith

Required reading

(Photo: Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)

(tags for translation) Minnesota Wild

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