Grimaldi Doesn’t Play As U.S. Advances

There wasn’t much drama early Monday morning.

The U.S. jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the game’s opening 14 minutes and went on to beat Slovakia 9-3 in a must-win game.

The victory earned Team USA a spot in the quarterfinals on Wednesday morning. The opponent will be determined after today’s Sweden-Finland game (Sweden was leading 3-0 when I went to bed, and if they hold on, the Americans will play the Czech Republic).

Johnny Gaudreau and Vince Trocheck each had two goals to lead the Americans, while UND freshman forward Rocco Grimaldi was dressed as the 13th forward but did not play a single shift.

Those in Ufa are reporting that the coaching staff has not been happy with Grimaldi’s play. Coach Phil Housley told NHL Network: “We’re just trying to look for the right chemistry, I’m sure we’ll see him in some action in the future, but we just wanted to keep our four lines rolling.”

35 Responses

  1. willythekid

    Brad, do you have any speculation as to what the coaches are unhappy with? It seems to me that while he hasn’t played great he is out there hustling every shift…

    1. Poor Philly

      Housley can’t figure this out, so blame the kid from UND? That’s what they get for selecting a high school coach to coach the team. I don’t care if he’s a former NHL player. So is Shawn Chambers. Just saying.

      And potulny? Was that a favor or wtf? Osiecki should be head coach, then get him some legit assistants.

      USA hockey takes all our dues money basically to prepare for this tourney. Ann arbor is there to groom these kids for this tourney. Quit making it a feel good session and actually put something together to try and win the thing for once. That has to include a coaching staff.

      1. Poor Philly

        “Poor Philly
        on December 31, 2012 at 8:39 am said:
        Your comment is awaiting moderation. ”

        Really? Is my ip addy on a watch list or what’s the deal? Do you approve all comments, or is this just a random process?

      2. Joker

        Poor Philly,
        Housley is just a High School Coach and a former NHL player huh? And comparing him to Shawn Chambers is a little slap in the face considering he is one of the most decorated US born hockey players ever…

        1. Hmmm

          Agree with “Poor Philly”. Ok, does that qualify him to coach at a high level on the worlds stage?

          If so, why is he coaching a marginally successful high school program?

          Where’s Chambers coach?

          Why not Curt Giles? Tim Bergland?

          Or, why not Mike Modano, since we are speaking of most decorated US born players. Brett Hull? (Dual citizenship, I know)

          What’s Housley have over these guys? A solid section coaching record? Really?

  2. tkk

    There’s got to be more to it. Blaming the lack of scoring on Grimaldi alone is just not right. None of the top US scorers were scoring. And Grimaldi was hustling and creating chances, and very good on the d end of the ice.


    Brad, as you have probably seen on Twitter, the word being used for Rocco’s play is “selfish” by a source in Ufa. I have watched every minute of the tourney, and I disagree with that assessment.

  4. someone other than "ME"

    It’s Rocco Grimaldi. This decision will cause years of IIHF harship for the US. Never bet against the Rocco.

  5. None

    Odd he didn’t even get a shift with it being a blowout. Must not be happy with him or his play. Seemed like he was creating opportunities with his skating and that was impressing people. Guess Housley saw something else.

  6. Siouxfan7inDenver

    Evidently a great backcheck to prevent breakaway chance in an 8-0 game is selfish…Housley is a joke….if it was performance (or lackthereof) based then JT Miller shouldnt even dress–he has been invisible the whole tournament–how can a player be invisible in an 8-3 rout and your linemates score 3 goals?? and it will be interesting to see if Goethesbehere (sp) will get play after that completey BRUTAL 5 minute penalty for “cup checking”….guess we will see if he has consistent message….


    Could it be that the coaches are strongly associated with the Gopher organization and that Rocco plays for UND? Sounds like he might be the odd man out based on Gopher hockey politics. Oh well, he’ll be well rested when he comes back to UND.

    1. Conspiracy theorist

      I hope this is not true but I thought I did see a tweet from Rocco about not wanting to sit next to a fellow USA player from Minnesota.

      1. sioux fan

        Rocco’s tweet said that he noticed a gopher player was sitting next to him on the plane, Rocco looked at him and the gopher player got up and changed seats. He never said he didnt want to sit next to a player from MN

    2. Timmy

      Dumbest comment ever, thanks for contributing though. Are you even serious with this? I am a die hard Sioux fan but I would never assume that a coach would put winning below discriminating against a certain programs’ players. You need to grow up and understand that these coaches are trying to do one thing, win. Seriously, Rocco is one of the top 20 players in the U.S. under the age of twenty. He simply did not crack the line-up in a given game. It probably had to do with the fact that he is a righty and they needed a spark on that wing. Take off your tinfoil hat and let’s all hope the U.S. can advance and get another opportunity against the Canadians or Russians..

  8. zapper

    I saw the Russia and Canada games and Grimaldi played better in these games than he has in some of the UND games I’ve seen. He has been way better than J.T. Miller and one of the better players for the US. His play has been anything but selfish. A strange decision no doubt.

  9. northdasotan

    I heard the guy calling the games (his name escapes me right now) say several times Rocco was the hardest working guy on the ice, brings it the entire game, but maybe needs to play smarter not harder. I agree there was no chemistry in that first line. Miller didn’t impress me much. Rocco may have had only one shot on goal but it was a great scoring chance and he set up some scoring chances as well. I admit I was shocked to see Rocco sitting. Maybe sitting Rocco was a wake up call to the whole team, I can’t see how attitude would ever be a problem with Rocco and the performance part has fallen on the entire team.

  10. scpa0305

    Super confused why they called it performance issues….he was the best US player on the ice for both the CAN and RUS games. It had to be something he did behind the scenes…no way was it performance related. Please stop with the Gopher politic conspiracy theory….these guys want to win. He must have done something in the locker room that upset Phil.

  11. Conspiracy theorist

    Maybe he, the coach, expected to see more from the wonder child and is using the sitting tactic as a motivational tool to help him perform up to expectations.

  12. Jr

    It is hard to read so many of these comments they are so ridiculous. On a separate note, the US team has been taking way too many stupid penalties.

  13. Siouxper Fan

    Housley has no business coaching this team. The leading goal scorer prior to today was Trouba and that’s cause he never leaves the ice on the PP and shoots it every time he touches it. Rocco hasn’t scored, Miller hasn’t scored, Seth Jones has been as ave. as anyone and Rocco gets taken to the shed? What a load of crap.

    Get him on the next flight home and we’ll use him against Holy Cross this weekend. He doesn’t need this bunch of meatheads trying to get into his head; he’s better than that.

  14. Old Time Hockey

    How is Potulny an assistant coach? USA hockey needs to get consistency from the coaching side of things.

  15. suture

    I know Phil Housley and he is not, in any shape or form, qualified to be coaching at this level. He was a phenom coming out of South St. Paul in ’82 but this is not a prerequisite for being a good coach. I really think the issue here is of a personal nature because Rocco is as good as anyone on the 2nd or 3rd lines. I would love to know what is going on between coach and player because Rocco’s lack of playing time has nothing to do with his talent or effectiveness on the ice.

  16. ndjetsfan

    I have a theory that Rocco is hurt, maybe a bruise or a strain that will benefit from a few days of no contact. Housley dresses him in case they need him but keeps him on the bench as long as USA has the lead. If so, then Housley can justify the “chemistry” rhetoric rather than disclosing the bruise/strain so other teams can’t target the injury.

    My other theory is that Rocco was in violation of a team rule such as missing a team meeting or breaking curfew. With what we know of Rocco, do you suppose it involved his observance of the Sabbath?

    It is interesting to speculate on why, but what a shame that Rocco had to watch that game as the grocery stick. I suspect it was a real low point in his life. The good news is that Mr. Grimaldi is all about overcoming adversity. Godspeed, Rocco.

    P.S. Look what a lesser man, @SharpSk8s posted on Twitter this morning: @RGrimaldi23 Right where you belong today. Have a fun rest of the tourney. #GoCanadaGo

  17. John

    Observations: 1. Housley is overmatched behind the bench at this level. 2. The same can be said for Grimaldi. I have watched him the entire tournament, and he looks like he is working hard, but is a using a lot of energy to accomplish next to nothing. I don’t know if its his timing or what, but he is a step late getting to quality spots, and it certainly has nothing to do with his speed. In any event, the whole US team has been unimpressive, and housley has been perpetually outcoached.

  18. JB

    It all starts at the top and I don’t mean Housley. USA hockey made a bone head decision when they selected him. This team has the talent. They could make a run and it is not because of Phil. If this team goes deep it is because of the players. Who better to lead the team than Grimaldi. You can bet he will be inspired if this sitting has to do with some sort of controversy.

    1. RR

      They lost to Canada and to Russia by scores of 2-1. Hardly evidence that the coaching is over-matched. Perhaps if Rocco would have been doing what he was told to do instead of what he wanted to do they might have either tied or won those games. He really didn’t do much in either of those games.

      They still have a lot of games to play so it seems to me to be a little early to be roasting the coaching staff. Wasn’t it a seventh place that Deano guided them to last year?

      Maybe Rocco needed a kick in the ass. He just might be a little dinged up or else it was a warning to the rest of the team that everybody better perform because nobody is immune from being benched. Probably a combination of all three.

      1. JB

        I hear ya bud but the only reason those scores were that close was because of goalie John Gibson. That guy was unreal and those games could have been blowouts. Trouba coming off the blueline was the only offense provided. The system the US team is playing cannot compete with these teams. Like I said, the talent is there, the trick is utilizing it.

  19. Jim Brandt

    Rocco is a pretty intense guy. I can see him pushing some buttons and getting on the bad side of Housley for questioning him or snapping back at him on a critique. This could be a blessing for UND. If he is shelved for a couple games, he will come back much fresher and hopefully avoids any potential injuries. He has been coming on nice the past several weeks for UND.

  20. Deez

    The fact that some people are saying its because he plays for UND is absolutely ridiculous. Typical excuse…always the victims. Ha. None of us may ever know why he’s been sat. It really could be a chemistry issue or maybe something character wise at the moment or maybe something physical. Because he plays for UND…that is one of the dumbest things I’ve heard in awhile. Go USA!

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