GM David Poile: Derek Stepan has excellent chance to make Team USA

Derek Stepan, left, carries the puck behind the

Derek Stepan, left, carries the puck behind the net as Columbus Blue Jackets' RJ Umberger defends during the first period of a game in Columbus. (Nov. 7, 2013) Photo Credit: AP

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. - With decisions on the U.S. Olympic team roster due in about five weeks, it's been assumed that Ryan Callahan, part of the five-man leadership group, is a lock.

Team USA general manager David Poile also hinted that Ryan McDonagh and Derek Stepan could join Callahan, who won a silver medal in 2010, in Sochi in February.

"McDonagh's played very well for the last couple years," said Poile, who also is the Predators' GM. "All the reports we've had this year have been really good. He's played really, really well. I'm very confident that he's got an excellent chance."

Stepan, Poile said, "has gotten better and better as the season has gone on. Missing training camp is . . . not a good thing. But his play of late has been much, much better, and he's second in scoring on the Rangers. That's what we're going to need.

"Center ice is a critical area for us. We have really good centermen, but we're not really, really deep in centers.

"So I'm trying to say it the correct way: We would like Derek to be on the team."

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Moore's play improves

At the end of last season, when defenseman John Moore -- acquired from Columbus in the Marian Gaborik trade -- went 1-5-6 in the final 13 games, the former first-rounder was being compared to McDonagh.

He tried to tighten his defense this season and "got away from my game a little bit in the beginning," said Moore, who scored his second goal in Thursday's game in Dallas. "It's something that the coaches addressed with me and challenged me. When I'm skating and getting up in the offense and making plays, that's when I think I'm at my best."

He also had an assist against Boston on Tuesday that ended a 12-game pointless streak.

Alain Vigneault believes in Moore long-term. "When you talk about the ability to skate the puck and move the puck, jump into the play, he's one of the guys that's got more to him," he said.

"The problem may be that some of those opportunities he didn't see or recognize. As you get more experience, you analyze them quicker."

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