Team USA sought exception to losing all players under 24 for World Cup

TORONTO -- There is no denying that Team USA got hit harder than Team Canada with the loss of 23-and-under players to pick from for the World Cup of Hockey.

Other than Connor McDavid, I'm not sure any of the other kids would have made the defending Olympic champion roster of Team Canada.

But Team USA? You could argue Brandon Saad, Jacob Trouba, Seth Jones and Jack Eichel would have likely made the senior squad, and maybe even Alex Galchenyuk.

That’s tough to digest for a Team USA squad that, while much improved as the years go on, still doesn’t have the depth of Team Canada.

It is why Team USA general manager Dean Lombardi tried to change the hand he was dealt.

"I tried to get an exception, like let us pick one or two guys, like Eichel," Lombardi said in a side chat with Craig Custance and myself Tuesday during a break in the NHL general managers meeting at the league’s Toronto office.

The NHL’s answer was a firm No.

So Lombardi must move on and not let himself get frustrated by the list of names that could have made Team USA better.

"There are some obvious names there but I’ve got my hands full so I don’t want to cry over what I can’t have. It’s focusing on what I have," Lombardi said earlier in front of a larger media scrum.

Hey, Lombardi isn’t alone in trying to tweak the rules for the NHL/NHLPA-run tournament.

North America Youngstars GM Peter Chiarelli would have liked the allowance to get an older goalie for his squad given how small the pool of goalies is at 23-and-under.

"It's small. It's like six or seven goalies right now," Chiarelli told a media scrum Tuesday.

So Chiarelli addressed it with the NHL, wanting to increase his pool to maybe 24- or 25-and-under for the goalies.

"We talked about a couple different things at the very, very beginning. We had a laundry list of things and some we got, some we didn't. We broached that [getting an exception on the goalie] very, very briefly."

Again, the answer was no.