Up front, newcomers T. J. Oshie, Max Pacioretty, Derek Stepan, James van Riemsdyk and Blake Wheeler join returnees David Backes, Dustin Brown, Ryan Callahan, Patrick Kane, Ryan Kesler, Phil Kessel, captain Zach Parise, Joe Pavelski and Paul Stastny.
Kane and Kessel lead Americans in NHL scoring and they must find the net in order for the Americans to advance through the playoff round and contend for a medal, but are far from the only ones who can be counted on, with Pavelski, Wheeler, van Riemsdyk and Oshie all with 40 points or more.
The white ones were sold at retail, both with and without names, but the blue ones were apparently created only for the team itself, making them a Holy Grail for many. The white ones were sold customized as #2 Brian Leetch, #35 Mike Richter and #27 Jeremy Roenick, yet Roenick never played in the World Cup! This was due to him not having an NHL contract at the time, and therefore no insurance coverage should he suffer a major injury, which forced him to sit out the tournament, making jerseys customized with his name and #27 "close but not quite" in terms of accuracy.
Also of note, none of the white ones sold at retail had the 1996 World Cup of Hockey 3" diameter logo patch on the upper left arm and the Leetch jerseys did not come with the captain's "C". While any decent customizer can add a proper "C" to a jersey still needing one, the supply of the now 18 year old tournament logo patches dried up several years ago and are now virtually impossible to find anymore, only adding to the desirability of a properly patched and fully customized example.
This particular jersey started out as a retail blank version, which meant it came with only a sublimated USA crest, as opposed to the embroidered crest patches which adorned the customized examples, which were number sized (48, 52, etc.). Obtaining a blank version, which were letter sized (L, XL, etc.), did give us the choice of which player to add to the back of our jersey. We then purchased an embroidered crest to add to ours to raise it up to the level of the customized retail versions and then added the World Cup logo patch for even more added authenticity.
We're not exactly thrilled with the use of the nearly invisible stars on the shoulders, wishing they would have been either white, or not there at all. From a collector standpoint, we wonder how this heat sealed treatment of subtle designs will wear over time, as many of our early CCM jerseys with heat sealed designs, such as stars on the shoulders and chest of NHL All-Star Game jerseys have begun to loosen and peel off over time.
We're even less excited about the appliqué faux laces, as simply using real ones would look a hundred times nicer and a lot less "cheap". We're also surprised to see Nike sticking with the same font for the names and numbers as used for quite some time now, as this is a decidedly retro looking style paired with modern looking lettering.