The 2022 Winter Olympics to be held in Beijing are just around the corner. For years, hockey fans, especially in North America, have wanted to see their favorite hockey stars don their national colors and compete for Olympic gold. However, with the NHL and NHLPA withdraw from the Olympics Due to several factors, some of which are directly related to COVID protocol issues, the tournament will no longer boast star power, or be called “the best of the best” tournaments like Alex Ovechkin.
The change has all the major hockey nations scrambling to fill out their teams, while some have yet to release their rosters.Russia will use Continental Hockey League (KHL) players such as Mikhail Grigorenko, to fill its roster, and has Provided for the Olympic break in their schedule. Czechs will also use European professionals.
Team USA decided to focus on youth and skill, going back to the methods used by their 1980 Miracle Run team, relying primarily on NCAA players.
Sean Farrell nomination
One such NCAA player is the Canadiens’ 2020 fourth-round pick Sean Farrell, one of 15 college players selected to Team USA.With this nomination, Sean Farrell has more Olympic appearances than Conor McDavid Merged with Auston Matthews. It’s an interesting statistic that, while technically correct, does point to the fact that the tournament will sadly miss out on star power.
He played for the USHL’s Chicago Steel last season, scoring 101 points in 53 games, leading the team to a league title, while earning the league’s USHL Player of the Year honor. That output led Canadiens rookie Cole Caulfield to declare him a steal when he was drafted by the Habs.
This season, Farrell, a freshman left wing at Harvard, is second on the team with 19 points, including a team-leading eight goals in 13 games.Another reason he was drafted may have been his chemistry with teammate and Toronto Maple Leafs forward Nick Abruzzis
He also brings experience as a member of the U.S. National Training and Development Program and in international competitions, having represented the U.S. as a member of the Under-18 World Youth Team for several seasons.
Farrell brings skills
Why would a freshman be chosen to represent his country over some more experienced player? Well, Pharrell’s game is based on speed and skill. He’s an offensive player, currently scoring 1.46 points per game. He leads the Harvard Crimson in goals and is second in total points.
While Pharrell may be undersized at 5-foot-9 and 174 pounds, his combination of speed, edge work and offensive skills more than makes up for it. He excels at using a variety of field goals, and instead of relying on one type, he chooses to use a variety of shooting styles such as wrist shots, snaps, slaps and single shots. For most players, using a similar different release could mean a loss of accuracy, however, Farrell is very accurate and able to identify and pick any open space the goalkeeper offers him.
He is also an organizer. He is able to use his mobility to create space and passing lanes, then move the puck quickly. He uses this skill best in close games, allowing him to either generate a loop or a conceding game with his teammates.
For his size, Farrell excels in breaking the ball, despite his lack of size. He can’t rely on physicality to win a hockey game like Canadiens power forward Josh Anderson, but uses his speed to quickly close the gap, as well as good body and club positioning, leaving little time or space for his opponents to gain Control and generate drama. This allows him to effectively force turnovers in pre-checks, and once his opponent makes a mistake, he uses it to turn it into a scoring opportunity.
Farrell joining Team USA for the Olympics provided him with the perfect opportunity to take his game to the next level. While he did have experience playing internationally, he was up against his peers, other amateur players of his age. Now he will face professionals from all over the world with experience and advantages of scale. If he can translate his play into this short game, even in a deep role, it will help him gain confidence.
Canadian fans now have reason to look beyond national pride as they get to see how one of their young players fared in challenging circumstances. Furthermore, as the US and Russia resume international competition, with Russia likely to be the most popular and the US playing the role of the underdog, it could be history repeating itself. It certainly wouldn’t hurt to have them play the legendary Herb Brooks pregame speech before a match against their opponent.
Blain is a regular contributor to THW Writers. For over 7 years, he has been a part-time reporter and podcaster covering the NHL, the Montreal Canadiens and their affiliates. He has appeared on various TV and radio stations and podcasts discussing the Canadiens and the NHL. Blain takes the lessons of integrity, ethics, values and honesty he learned as a 28-year veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces and applies them to his work as a journalist to guide him in informing readers and he becomes a trusted target A source of information and entertainment.