Not a bad game with which to kick off the 2010 Winter Olympic men's hockey tournament, and not a bad beginning at all for Team USA.
Looking like a club that had been together for a lot longer than one day of practice and a few days in Chicago last August, the U.S. controlled the game from the start and earned a 3-1 victory on goals by Bobby Ryan, David Backes and Ryan Malone while holding the Swiss to only 15 shots on Ryan Miller.
Given the disastrous eighth place finish by Team USA four years ago in Turin in which the Americans won only one game, it was a promising start for a team cobbled together by Brian Burke.
Gone, interestingly, is the chippy, easily irritated style of U.S. teams from the era that included players like Chris Chelios, Keith Tkachuk and Bill Guerin, among others. Instead, just like the American team that beat Canada in January at the world juniors, the Americans delivered a workmanlike, diligent effort with only two minor penalties.
Maple Leaf winger Phil Kessel, skating on a line for most of the game with centre Joe Pavelski of the San Jose Sharks and Malone, wasn't much of a threat or a factor in his Olympic debut at Canada Hockey House. By the final minutes of the third period, Chris Drury was taking Kessel's place on a few shifts as the Americans sought to protect the lead.
Kessel had no shots in only 11:43 of playing time for Ron Wilson's Americans. It was a chance to see Kessel in a different setting alongside some talented linemates after toiling for much of the season as the lone major scoring threat on the Leafs.
The U.S. looked particularly solid on the back end despite losing Mike Komisarek and Paul Martin to injuries before the Olympics. Their replacements, Tim Gleason and Ryan Whitney, looked solid.
The U.S plays Latvia on Thursday before taking on the host Canadians on Sunday.
Miller seemed unbothered by an IOC ruling that forced him to cover up two sayings on his Olympic helmet. The first read "Miller Time" and the other "Matt Man," a tribute to his late cousin's battle with cancer. For the Swiss game, both were covered up with a large Team USA sticker.
The other two U.S. goalies have also run afoul of Olympic regulations with respect to their masks. Jonathan Quick was told he had to cover his "Support Our Troops" message, while Tim Thomas covered up letters that he said were the initials of his children.