Byfuglien a scratch for USA vs Europe


The World Cup gets going at the top of the hour. At 3 PM in Toronto, USA takes on Team Europe in round robin play. The game can be seen on ESPN2.

Surprisingly, USA coach John Tortorella has decided to scratch Dustin Byfuglien. He will sit while American mainstay Jack Johnson will play on the blue line. That seems kind of funny. Tortorella coaches the Blue Jackets and is showing loyalty to his guy. Johnson has always represented USA and done well. Maybe he prefers his skating.

Tortorella tried Byfuglien at forward looking to use his size and strength to wreak havoc during tune ups. But Byfuglien is most effective as a defenseman. Right now, USA’s back end features Jack and Erik Johnson, John Carlson, Ryan McDonagh, Matt Niskanen and Ryan Suter. That set up gives three left and three right D. Something coaches prefer. Not sure if that’s the logic. But I don’t like it.

As for the forwards, Kyle Palmieri will sit. That means Justin Abelkader is in along with David Backes, Brandon Dubinsky, Patrick Kane, Ryan Kesler, T.J. Oshie, Max Pacioretty, Zach Parise, Joe Pavelski, Derek Stepan, James van Riemsdyk and Blake Wheeler.

As expected, Jonathan Quick gets the start with Cory Schneider backing up. Ben Bishop in reserve.

We’ll see how it goes today.

About Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included separate stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also interned for or hockey historian Stan Fischler and worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil telecasts. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has covered consecutive Staten Island Yankees NY Penn League championships in '05 and '06. He also scored Berkeley Carroll high school basketball games from '06-14 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree. The Battle Of New York administrator and chief editor can be followed below on Twitter and Facebook.
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