Evolution of Team USA

"I think we've had a little more; we've had that tight game where we went into overtime, into a shootout, had our mettle tested a little bit in that game," Backes said. "Not to say that we didn't against Canada in Vancouver, but we won with the empty-netter there and never really trailed in that game. This was a test. We had to play a full 65 minutes, got the heart rate up in the shootout. Hopefully we're a better team because of that. And going into these games, we're going to have to play in that sort of environment. We're going to be prepared for it."

Head coach Dan Bylsma believes this team is at its best when it is using its size and speed to make life difficult for opponents. They just need to remember what it is that has made them so successful early in this tournament.

"I think you're trying to develop your team in a short period of time," Bylsma said Tuesday. "I don't know if it's real possible to say you've got a final product or this is where you wanted to be at, but we have those assets on our team.

"I think Ryan Callahan has been as hard to play against as any of our guys. David Backes is such a big guy down the middle and an abrasive guy. If you look back at the game against the Russians, look back at some of the replays, you see him going against some of their big players. That's when we're at our best. It's something we have to keep at and keep on, because that's when we're at our best with those guys being hard to play against."

Four years ago, we learned what the U.S. already knew -- that they were ready.

Wednesday we will find out if what we think we know about this team is in fact so.

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