ANN ARBOR, MI - Four years ago the United States team at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics was young and inexperienced at the highest international level. The team named Wednesday by USA Hockey for the 2014 Sochi Olympics will not carry the same pre-tournament stigma.
Thirteen members of the silver-medal winning squad from Vancouver were named to the 25-man roster, which was announced at the 2014 NHL Winter Classic.
David Backes leads a group of five centers. Plover native Joe Pavelski was named to the team. Where all five center fit on the depth chart will be interesting to monitor. Paul Stastny, Ryan Kesler and Pavelski were all in Vancouver. Derek Stepan is the lone newcomer of the bunch.
Among the returnees are all of the players named as part of the "leadership group" by USA Hockey at the summer orientation camp: forwards David Backes, Dustin Brown, Ryan Callahan and Zach Parise, as well as defensman Ryan Suter. Also back is 2010 tournament MVP, goaltender Ryan Miller.
Suter will be the No. 1 defenseman for the Americans, and is a strong candidate to be among the tournament leaders in time on ice. The defense corps is the biggest area of turnover on the club. Only Suter and Brooks Orpik are returning.
The top players among the names not on the 25-man roster up are forwards Bobby Ryan, Brandon Dubinsky, Kyle Okposo and Jason Pominville. Ryan and Pominville are third and fourth in goals among American players this season with 18 and 17, while Okposo is second in points with 40. Dubinsky and Nick Bonino are the top centers who did not make it. Dustin Byfuglien and Keith Yandle, first and third among American-born defensemen, are not on the 25-man roster. Erik Johnson and Jack Johnson were both on the 2010 team, but are not returning.
RHINELANDER - Cancer survivors and supporters gathered at Ministry St. Mary's Hospital for the 10th annual Celebration of Life Thursday. The event honors those battling cancer or survivors of cancer and shows people what kinds of services the James Beck Cancer Center offers.
The center's namesake lost his life to cancer, but now others will be able to benefit from his gift to the hospital.
"With his vision and his dollars we were able to put this cancer center here in Rhinelander so patients don't have to travel to larger cities," said Director of Cancer Services Kimberly Hetland.
This year's speaker was Mike Regole, a survivor of tonsil cancer. He spoke about his experience at the center, how family and support affected his journey, and how he ran a business while having cancer.
SAYNER - A needle and thread means more to Pat Andersen than just sewing.
"I started quilting when I was 19 so it's been a passion of mine for a long time," said Pat.
Quilting gives her a community of ladies in the Northwoods.
"Sayner needs something like this, it needs something for the women to do," said Pat.
After moving to Sayner with her husband Don last spring, the two decided to buy the building that now houses Plum Lake Quilts. Pat needed somewhere to put her long arm machine and that eventually turned into a little retail business.
"I mean little and then it grew a little bit and it grew a little bit more," said Don Andersen.
MADISON - A $3 billion tax break bill for Taiwan-based electronics giant Foxconn Technology Group is poised to pass the Wisconsin Assembly on a bipartisan vote.
Democratic state Rep. Cory Mason said during debate Thursday that he intends to vote for the bill. He is the first Democrat to publicly say he will back the measure that is being championed by Gov. Scott Walker and fellow Republicans.
LAC DU FLAMBEAU - On a busy stretch of Highway 47 near Lac du Flambeau -- where hundreds of wheels spin at 55 miles-per-hour each day -- just one tire drags at a slower pace, pulled by one man: the Tire Man.
"I guess I'm the only one nutty enough to do it, I suppose," Frank Tarantino said with a laugh.
Tarantino lives in Mercer, but trains for marathons in Lac du Flambeau. He started pulling a tire on a chain a few years ago after reading about it in a fitness magazine. People often stop to take his picture.
"Little by little you run a little further, a little further," Tarantino said.
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