Posted On Thursday, 02.13.2014 / 1:24 AM

By Staff -  / - Road to Sochi blog

Wheeler, Orpik in U.S. lineup for opener vs. Slovakia

Forward Blake Wheeler and defenseman Brooks Orpik will be in the United States lineup against Slovakia on Thursday when it opens play at the 2014 Sochi Olympics (7:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN).

Forward Derek Stepan, defenseman Justin Faulk and goalie Jimmy Howard will be scratched, according to USA Hockey.

Here is the projected lineup:

Posted On Wednesday, 02.12.2014 / 11:28 AM

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

Canada's Vlasic enjoying life under the radar

SOCHI -- San Jose Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic has flown under the radar at the 2014 Sochi Olympics and it suits him just fine.

He's used to it.

Vlasic quietly has been going about his business becoming one of the NHL's most reliable shut-down defensemen for years, shielded somewhat from fans on the East Coast while he plays late at night with the Sharks.

Even on his own NHL team Vlasic plays in the shadows of higher-profile teammates like Joe Thornton, Dan Boyle, Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture and his teammate on the Canadian team at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, Patrick Marleau.

Posted On Tuesday, 02.11.2014 / 2:58 PM

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

Karlsson sees no benefit playing on bigger ice

SOCHI -- One of the players many considered would best be able to exploit the extra space available on the international ice surface was Sweden defenseman Erik Karlsson.

The Ottawa Senators offensive wizard has the smooth skating stride and ice vision that seems tailor made for the extra 15 feet of width on the ice rinks in use for the tournament at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

But there is one person who doesn't agree with the perception that he will benefit from playing on the big ice: Erik Karlsson.

Posted On Tuesday, 02.11.2014 / 1:18 PM

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

Daly: Decision on 2018 Olympics could come soon

SOCHI -- NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly likes what he has seen so far from the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

And he says he is receiving favorable reviews from NHL players, who have now been on the ground here for two days.

"Everything is in one place and the arenas are brand-new facilities," Daly said Tuesday during an informal press conference at the Bolshoy Ice Dome, the main site of the ice hockey competition. "They are gorgeous facilities and they are close to the Athletes' Village, which makes it convenient for the players. They have only been here for 24 hours, but the reports I am hearing are very positive."

Posted On Tuesday, 02.11.2014 / 3:21 AM

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

Datsyuk practices, will play for Russia in opener

SOCHI -- Russia captain Pavel Datsyuk practiced Tuesday morning at the Bolshoy Ice Dome and declared himself ready for action in the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

"Everything is fine," Datsyuk said at Pushkin Hall in the Main Press Center. "My injury doesn’t bother me at all. I'm fully [acclimated]. We are all in the same condition."

Posted On Monday, 02.10.2014 / 2:24 PM

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

U.S. GM Poile not going to Sochi

SOCHI -- David Poile, the general manager for the United States men's team for the 2014 Sochi Olympics, will not be joining the team in Russia because of injuries he sustained last week when an errant puck struck him in the face during a practice in St. Paul, Minn.

Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Ray Shero will serve as the acting GM for the United States in Sochi. Both announcements were made by USA Hockey after the team concluded its first Olympic practice at the Bolshoy Ice Dome late Monday night.

"He [Poile] is back in Nashville with great care," said Jim Johansson, assistant executive director of hockey operations for USA Hockey. "It's just not advisable for him to come to Sochi with everything he has to deal with. Saying that, he is still our general manager."

Poile, also the general manager of the Nashville Predators, had surgeries to his eye and nose areas Feb. 7 at a St. Paul-area hospital after being in hit in the face during the Predators' morning skate Feb. 6 at Xcel Energy Center. After spending most of the weekend in the hospital for observation, Poile flew back to Nashville on Sunday.

Posted On Monday, 02.10.2014 / 2:01 PM

By Staff -  / - Road to Sochi blog

Selanne to captain Finland Olympic team

Anaheim Ducks forward Teemu Selanne, playing in his sixth Olympics, will captain Finland's team at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Selanne, 43, has seven goals and 20 points in 47 NHL games. In five previous Olympics, he has 20 goals and 17 assists in 31 games. He won a silver medal in 2006, and bronze medals in 1998 and 2010. Twice he's led the Olympics in scoring, with 10 points in five games in 1998 and 11 points in eight games in 2006.

Posted On Monday, 02.10.2014 / 11:58 AM

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

Datsyuk sits out Russia's first practice

SOCHI -- Detroit Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk did not practice with his Russian teammates Monday, but coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov said he is hopeful Russia's captain will be ready to go by Thursday, when the host country opens the 2014 Sochi Olympics against Slovenia (7:30 a.m. ET, MSNBC, CBC).

"I don't think it's a serious problem, dangerous," Bilyaletinov said through an interpreter after practice Monday. "I think he's going to be OK."

Datsyuk missed 14 straight games with a lower-body injury before returning last week to play Detroit's final two games before the Olympic break. However, he played fewer than 15 minutes in both games.

Red Wings general manager Ken Holland admitted that he is concerned about Datsyuk's health, but he understands why playing in the Olympics in his own country is important to the Russian superstar.

Posted On Monday, 02.10.2014 / 10:53 AM

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

Russian defense looking to step up in Sochi

SOCHI -- When Russia announced its roster for the 2014 Sochi Olympics, the configuration of its blue line appeared to be set in stone.

With two sets of teammates named among the eight defensemen on the team, it would be natural to assume that Andrei Markov and Alexei Emelin of the Montreal Canadiens and Fedor Tyutin and Nikita Nikitin of the Columbus Blue Jackets would be playing together.

Markov and Emelin have played on the same defense pairing for the better part of two seasons in Montreal. Tyutin and Nikitin haven't played together lately, but they have in the past.

When the Russians hit the ice at the Bolshoy Ice Dome for their first practice as a full team Monday, however, neither of the two natural pairings on defense were together.

Posted On Monday, 02.10.2014 / 8:45 AM

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

Finns moving on without Koivu, Filppula

SOCHI – With three days of practice before his first game, Finland coach Erkka Westerlund has some time to iron out his lineup minus his top two centers: Minnesota Wild captain Mikko Koivu and Valtteri Filppula of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Koivu and Filppula had to pull out of the Olympics with separate ankle injuries, leaving the Finns depleted down the middle and likely having to use the Wild's Mikael Granlund and the Winnipeg Jets' Olli Jokinen as their top centers.

Finland assistant coach Lauri Marjamaki said following practice Monday that he will have Granlund centering the top line with Florida Panthers rookie Aleksander Barkov on his left wing and Anaheim Ducks veteran Teemu Selanne on his right wing. Selanne is entering his sixth Olympics.

There was no word on the second line, but it's possible that Jokinen plays with Pittsburgh Penguins forward Jussi Jokinen and Tuomo Ruutu of the Carolina Hurricanes.

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