Tuesday: USA vs. Italy

    The United States faces Italy on Tuesday in the final relegation round game of the 2010 World Championships in Cologne, Germany. Here’s an update from USA Hockey spokesperson Dave Fischer:

If you’ve been following the tournament, you know the U.S.  lost all three preliminary-round games and was forced to play in the relegation round of the tournament. The top two finishers in the four-team relegation round remain in the IIHF’s top-level World Championship next year, while the bottom two teams in the relegation round have to play in the Division I Championship for at least 2011 (the top two finishers in the Division I Championship each year are promoted to the top-level championship).

Well, after two wins in the relegation round, Team USA is in good shape in terms of remaining in the top-level championship. The only way the U.S. could now be relegated to Division I is to lose to Italy by eight or more goals and have France beat Kazakhstan in regulation. Stanger things have happened, but if I were betting, I’d wager a good sum the U.S. will be safe.

The team had today off and those with family and friends here were able to spend time with them. Some toured Cologne; others went to Amsterdam; some journeyed to Dusseldorf and others to Belgium. Some just hung around the hotel.

Brandon Dubinsky begins play tomorrow as the top point-getter in the tournament with eight points (two goals, six assists). T.J. Oshie is tied for 12th in the tournament with five points (three goals, two assists).

Dubinsky is tops in the tournament with six assists.

The U.S. has three of the top six faceoff artists in the tournament with Oshie first, having won 76 percent of his faceoffs. Ryan Potulny is fifth (.692) and Dubinsky is sixth at .685.

Keith Yandle is tied for second among in points among defensemen in the tournament with four (one goal, three assists), while Matt Gilroy (3-0–3) and Jack Johnson (0-3–3) are tied for fifth.

Scott Clemmensen, who has been rock solid in goal for Team USA, is eighth in save percentage at .944 (hard to believe that is eighth!) and fourth in goals against average (1.44).

Opening faceoff against Italy is 5:15 a.m. CDT Tuesday at Lanxess Arena. You can watch it on tape delay at 6:30 p.m. CDT at UniversalSports.com.