TORONTO - Team USA's 4-3 loss to the Czech Republic in their final World Cup match put a frame around the most disappointing performance of the tournament the Americans since 1998 Olympics, when an unexpected early exit led to players trashing rooms in the Olympic village.
The US group had no problems off the ice, but the Americans were 0-3 in the tournament and were outscored 11-5 in the losses.
"It's really disappointing for a team that cares so much," said defenseman Jack Johnson, who played for the US national team 11 times.
Before the tournament began, most forecasters, the Czechs had pegged as the worst team in the tournament. But the Toronto Maple Leafs player Milan Michalek scored a pair of goals to lead the Czechs their first victory in the tournament.
Tampa Bay Lightning defender Andrej Sustr scored from the side of the net, which seemed to seep through USA goalie Ben Bishop. Another dozen Czech Republic was on the goal that was eliminated in the American network using replacement captain Ryan Suter.
It was the kind of tournament for the Americans, who never seemed to find their confidence.
"I think (loss) demonstrates how we played in the tournament," he said US forward Justin Abdelkader. "We had too many mistakes and were enlarged. Teams took advantage."
Abdelkader said any criticism directed coach John Tortorella is not in place. "It's up to the player," he said. "... He did a great job of getting us ready. It's a great motivator. It's a coach who is really passionate and it comes out each and every time he speaks. It (came) down to players does not perform."
Americans had a power play in the final moments against the Czechs and was unable to convert. They pulled their goalie but nothing worked for the Americans in this tournament.
"We had a difficult time scoring," Johnson said. We passed a lot of shots. Guys were trying to play. It's just disappointing that it did not happen for us. "
It was like that in 1998 as well. The Americans were considered one of the favorites to win the tournament since winning the World Cup 1996. But the Americans went 1-2 in the preliminary round and then lost to Dominik Hasek-lead the Czech team in the quarterfinals.
No one was picking the Americans to win the World Cup, but the Americans were expected to reach the semifinals. Instead, it will join Finland as the only winless teams in the tournament.
Tortorella said he thought his players played hard against the Czechs.
"I did not put (this game) sense," said Tortorella. "The players felt that. None of us with team USA is satisfied with what happened here. But I thought our guys gathered together here a little bit, and that's what we talked about in terms of all the things going on around the team and the organization of USA hockey, let's just try to play the game for ourselves. we came up short. "
Tortorella warned against overreacting to three losses against elite competition ..
"I think you have to be really careful not to lose your mind in terms of what's happening with some guys," said Tortorella. "It's a different type of tournament. We've just got to slow yourself down and dissect what happened. This is definitely not good. But not to the extent (which would warrant) to the chatter around her."
Tortorella said USA Hockey needs to "block out noise and reassess where we did, and we'll see what we can do to make us better."