Posted On Sunday, 02.23.2014 / 7:04 AM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor / - Road to Sochi blog

Backstrom missing from Sweden lineup

SOCHI -- Sweden was without Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom for the gold medal game against Canada at the 2014 Sochi Olympics on Sunday (7 a.m. ET, NBC, CBC).

Backstrom was listed on the lineup sheet but did not come out for pre-game warmups. There was no immediate explanation for Backstrom's absence but multiple media reports cited his the reason for his absence was a migraine.

The Washington Capitals center is tied for the team with four assists in five games. Backstrom also has a plus-3 rating while averaging 18:22 of ice time per game. He had been centering Sweden's top line, between Daniel Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks and Loui Eriksson of the Boston Bruins.

Jimmie Ericsson, the only non-NHL player in Sweden's lineup, started the game in Backstrom's spot. He's the brother of Sweden teammate and Jonathan Ericsson and plays for Skelleftea in the Swedish Hockey League.

Posted On Saturday, 02.22.2014 / 9:23 AM - Road to Sochi blog

Rask to start for Finland against U.S.

SOCHI – After missing his country’s semifinal contest because of illness, Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask will be back in net for Finland against the United States in the bronze medal game of the 2014 Sochi Olympics at Bolshoy Ice Dome.

Rask has started three of Finland’s five games of this tournament, yielding seven goals on 78 shots. Kari Lehtonen, who started the semifinal loss to Sweden, will not dress for the game. San Jose Sharks starter Antti Niemi will back up Rask.

Finland has a chance to medal for the fourth time in five Olympics when the NHL has taken a recess in its season to allow its players to complete in the event. Rask will oppose Jonathan Quick for the United States, which will be trying to earn medals in consecutive tournaments for the first time since 1956 and 1960.

Posted On Saturday, 02.22.2014 / 8:07 AM

By Staff -  / - Road to Sochi blog

Quick to start for U.S. against Finland

Goaltender Jonathan Quick will start for the United States on Saturday against Finland in the bronze-medal game at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, USA Hockey reported on its website.

Quick, of the Los Angeles Kings, played Friday and allowed one goal on 37 shots in a 1-0 loss to Canada in the semifinals. He will be backed up by Ryan Miller of the Buffalo Sabres.

Posted On Friday, 02.21.2014 / 10:39 AM

By Staff -  / - Road to Sochi blog

Martin to miss rest of Olympics with injury: report

United States defenseman Paul Martin will miss the remainder of the 2014 Sochi Olympics due to a hand injury, according to a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review report.

The report said the Pittsburgh Penguins have no timetable for Martin's return to the lineup, but the early indication is Martin could miss a month but return in time for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Martin has no points in four games at the Olympics but has a plus-2 rating and is averaging 17:54 of ice time per game, third among the team's defenseman. He was scratched from the lineup for the team's semifinal game Friday against Canada (Noon ET, NBCSN, CBC). No reason was given at the time but NBCSN reported during broadcast of the semifinal game between Sweden and Finland that Martin was ill.

Justin Faulk will replace Martin in the U.S. lineup against Canada. It will be Faulk's first game of the tournament. In 52 games with the Carolina Hurricanes, Faulk has three goals and 22 points while averaging a team-high 23:50 of ice time per game.

Posted On Friday, 02.21.2014 / 7:58 AM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - Road to Sochi blog

Faulk in, Martin out for U.S. vs. Canada

SOCHI -- Defenseman Justin Faulk will make his debut at the 2014 Sochi Olympics on the United States blue line Friday against Canada (Noon ET, NBCSN, CBC). Paul Martin, who played in the previous four games, is scratched from the semifinal. NBC reported Martin is ill.

Martin has no points, a plus-2 rating and has averaged 17:54 of ice time in four games.

Faulk, of the Carolina Hurricanes, was a healthy scratch for the first four games but will play as the seventh defenseman. John Carlson, who was the seventh defenseman in the previous three games, will play with Brooks Orpik, who is Martin's defense partner with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The other two defense pairs will remain the same: Ryan Suter with Ryan McDonagh, and Kevin Shattenkirk with Cam Fowler.

Posted On Friday, 02.21.2014 / 7:10 AM

By Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor / - Road to Sochi blog

Finland scratches Rask from Olympic semifinal

SOCHI -- Finland goaltender Tuukka Rask has been scratched from the semifinal game against Sweden on Friday at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, according to the lineup posted by the IIHF.

Rask, of the Boston Bruins, is suffering from the flu, according to Finnish officials.

Backup Kari Lehtonen will replace Rask.
Posted On Friday, 02.21.2014 / 5:57 AM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor / - Road to Sochi blog

Canadian women provide inspiration for men's team

SOCHI -- Canada had some inspiring visitors at its pregame skate Friday.

As the team prepared for its semifinal game against the United States at the training rink of the Bolshoy Ice Dome, sitting in the stands were two key players from Canada's women's team that won gold against the U.S. in a dramatic, come-from-behind 3-2 overtime victory 12 hours earlier.

Forward Hayley Wickenheiser and starting goaltender Shannon Szabados were there to support the men in their bid to move past the U.S. and reach the gold medal game Sunday.

Posted On Thursday, 02.20.2014 / 5:58 AM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - Road to Sochi blog

With Tavares out, Duchene back at center for Canada

SOCHI -- It took an injury to one of Canada's numerous stars, but Matt Duchene will be back in his natural position Friday when the Canadians take on the United States in the 2014 Sochi Olympics semifinals at Bolshoy Ice Dome.

With John Tavares injured and ruled out for the rest of the tournament, Duchene, a healthy scratch Wednesday against Latvia, will play center between Rick Nash and Patrick Sharp on what is considered Canada's fourth line.

Duchene was a left wing on a line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry in the two games he has played in the tournament. The 23-year-old Colorado Avalanche forward had no points, four shots on goal and averaged 13:50 of ice time per game.

"It's a big opportunity for myself now, a chance to play center, to play where I'm comfortable," Duchene said after practice Thursday. "You know, there's been a lot of unfamiliarity in this tournament, and when you get a short chance at it, sometimes it can be tough, so this is going to be much more familiar. I've played against Sharp and Nash a lot, and it looks like, well, we'll see what happens, but looks like it's going to be my line, and I'm looking forward to playing with them."

Posted On Wednesday, 02.19.2014 / 8:29 PM

By Staff -  / - Road to Sochi blog

Canada's Tavares to miss rest of Olympics

SOCHI -- Canada center John Tavares will miss the remainder of the 2014 Sochi Olympics with a leg injury sustained during his team's quarterfinal game against Latvia on Wednesday.

"He's got a leg injury, he's out for the tournament," Canada coach Mike Babcock said. "He'll be re-examined by the New York Islanders people and I'm sure they'll have an announcement."

Babcock said he didn't know if Tavares would be heading home right away.

Tavares, the captain of the New York Islanders, took a hard hit from Latvia defenseman Arturs Kulda in the second period and struggled to get back to the bench before eventually leaving for the dressing room. He did not return for the third period.

"He seemed to be in a fine mood," Babcock said. "Obviously disappointed he's injured. But I spoke to him."

Posted On Wednesday, 02.19.2014 / 11:24 AM

By Staff -  / - Road to Sochi blog

Latvia to start Gudlevskis vs. Canada; Daugavins out

Latvia will start Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Kristers Gudlevskis in goal over Edgars Masalskis and be without the services of forwards Kaspars Daugavins for its quarterfinal game Wednesday against Canada (Noon ET, MSNBC, CBC).

Gudlevskis started Latvia's final game of group play, a 5-3 loss to Sweden. Masalskis started Tuesday and made 32 saves in a 3-1 win against Switzerland that sent Latvia into the quarterfinals of an Olympic tournament for the first time in its history.

Daugavins, who has played in the NHL as recently as the 2012-13 season with the Ottawa Senators and Boston Bruins, is reportedly out due to an illness.

Forward Herberts Vasiljevs was also listed as a scratch for Latvia against Canada.

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