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Posted On Sunday, 02.23.2014 / 7:04 AM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - 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.

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Posted On Saturday, 02.22.2014 / 9:23 AM

NHL.com - 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.

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Posted On Saturday, 02.22.2014 / 8:07 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 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.

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Posted On Friday, 02.21.2014 / 10:39 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 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.

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Posted On Friday, 02.21.2014 / 7:58 AM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 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.

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Posted On Friday, 02.21.2014 / 7:10 AM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 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.
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Posted On Friday, 02.21.2014 / 5:57 AM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - 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.


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Posted On Thursday, 02.20.2014 / 5:58 AM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 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."


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Posted On Wednesday, 02.19.2014 / 8:29 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 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."

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Posted On Wednesday, 02.19.2014 / 11:24 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 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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Posted On Wednesday, 02.19.2014 / 7:45 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Pacioretty replaces Stepan in U.S. lineup

Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty will draw back into the United States lineup for its quarterfinal game Wednesday against the Czech Republic (Noon ET, USA, TSN2) at Shayba Arena.

Pacioretty will replace Derek Stepan, who played six shifts totaling 4:59 of ice time in the Americans' final preliminary-round game, against Slovenia on Sunday.

In two games Pacioretty has one assist, a plus-1 rating and five shots on goal while averaging 10:0 of ice time per game.

Jonathan Quick will start in goal with Ryan Miller serving as the backup.

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Posted On Wednesday, 02.19.2014 / 7:06 AM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Canada's Subban takes scratching in stride

SOCHI -- Goaltender Carey Price hit the ice for Canada's pregame skate Wednesday to prepare for the quarterfinal matchup with Latvia later that night and took his usual spot in front of his net.

His Montreal Canadiens teammate, defenseman P.K. Subban, immediately skated over, grabbed a pile of pucks and offered to warm up Price prior to the skate, diligently shooting pucks first to his glove hand, then his blocker side.

This is the role Subban has been given for Canada. He is there to practice and keep the players who will participate in the games sharp.

Aside from Canada's second game of the tournament, a 6-0 win against Austria, Subban has not been in uniform for any games.

It's not easy for the reigning Norris Trophy-winner, who plays 25 minutes a night for the Canadiens and leads them in scoring with 39 points in 59 games.


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Posted On Wednesday, 02.19.2014 / 5:32 AM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

St. Louis back in Canada lineup vs. Latvia

SOCHI -- Martin St. Louis has built a career as a high-energy player, a water bug on the ice who keeps his powerful legs moving at all times to overcome his lack of size with his overwhelming will.

A player like that requires a certain degree of rhythm to play his game.

But even though St. Louis will be in the lineup for Canada when it plays Latvia in a 2014 Sochi Olympics quarterfinal Wednesday (noon ET, MSNBC, CBC), the Tampa Bay Lightning captain will have trouble creating that rhythm he so desperately needs to be effective.

"He's just a good, veteran player," Canada coach Mike Babcock said. "The reality is we dress 13 forwards each game. One guy hardly gets on the ice. It's a hard, hard situation for people that play 22 minutes [in the NHL]. That's the way it is. You've got to find a way to help out when you get a chance."


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Posted On Wednesday, 02.19.2014 / 12:56 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Varlamov to start in goal for Russia vs. Finland

Semyon Varlamov will be in goal for Russia on Wednesday when it faces Finland (7:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC) in a quarterfinal game at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, a team spokesman said.

The Colorado Avalanche goaltender has won each of his starts in Sochi. He made 12 saves in a 5-2 victory against Slovenia in Russia's opener, then stopped all 27 shots he faced in regulation and overtime in a 1-0 shootout win against Slovakia in their Group A finale Sunday. Varlamov also stopped Slovakia's two attempts in the tiebreaker.

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.18.2014 / 11:58 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Czech Republic's Elias out vs. Slovakia

Patrik Elias is sitting out the Czech Republic's qualification playoff game Tuesday against Slovakia (Noon ET, NBCSN, CBC) due to an illness.

Elias also sat out the Czech's preliminary-round finale against Switzerland on Sunday.

In two games Elias has one assist, a plus-2 rating and three shots on goal while averaging 13:18 of ice time per game.

The 37-year-old forward, playing in his fourth Olympics, also is second on the New Jersey Devils in scoring this season with 33 points in 44 games.

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.18.2014 / 10:12 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Quick to start for U.S. in quarterfinals

Jonathan Quick will start in goal for the United States on Wednesday in its quarterfinal game at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

The United States will face the Czech Republic (Noon ET, USA, TSN2).

Quick of the Los Angeles Kings started the United States' first two games. He allowed three goals on 54 shots in a 7-1 win against Slovakia and a 3-2 shootout victory against Russia.

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.18.2014 / 9:28 AM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Canada juggles lines again, Kunitz back with Crosby

SOCHI -- Another day, another set of linemates for Sidney Crosby.

Canada coach Mike Babcock shuffled his deck of forwards again at practice Tuesday, reuniting the Pittsburgh Penguins duo of Chris Kunitz and Crosby on a line with Patrice Bergeron.

Crosby has had different linemates during Canada's three preliminary-round games here at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, and it looks like he will again when Canada plays Latvia in the quarterfinals Wednesday (Noon ET, MSNBC, CBC).

"I think you prepared yourself for that when you got selected to the team," Kunitz said Tuesday after practice. "They're going to try to put the best combinations [for] our team … to win. Wherever they put that, now you want to go on the ice and have your best game."

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.18.2014 / 6:56 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Norway's Zuccarello out with hand injury

Norway's lone NHL player, New York Rangers forward Mats Zuccarello, will not play in the team's qualification playoff game Tuesday against Russia (7:30 a.m., NBCSN, CBC) due to a hand injury.

Zuccarello has no points in three games, but is second on the team with 10 shots on goal. He also leads Norway's forwards with an average ice time of 22:25 per game.

The winner of the game between fifth-seeded Russia and No. 12 Norway plays Finland on Wednesday in the quarterfinals.

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.18.2014 / 4:47 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Price to start for Canada in quarterfinals

Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens will start in goal for Canada in its quarterfinal game on Wednesday (12 p.m. ET; MSNBC, CBC).

Coach Mike Babcock confirmed the decision Tuesday.

Canada, which earned a bye into the quarterfinals by winning Group B during preliminary-round play, will face the winner of the qualifying-round game between Switzerland and Latvia.

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.18.2014 / 1:52 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Bobrovsky to start for Russia vs. Norway

Sergei Bobrovsky will start in goal for Russia on Tuesday in a play-in game against Norway (7:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC), according to a team spokesman.

Bobrovsky, who stopped 31 shots during regulation and overtime in a 3-2 shootout loss to the United States on Saturday, his first start of the 2014 Sochi Olympics, served as backup to Semyon Varlamov in Russia's 1-0 shootout win against Slovakia on Sunday.

This will be Bobrovsky's second start in Sochi. Varlamov also started Russia's opener against Slovenia, a 5-2 win.

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Posted On Monday, 02.17.2014 / 9:00 AM

NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

USA's Quick, Oshie appear on NBC's 'Today Show'

A pair of Olympic hockey stars got some extra time in the spotlight Monday morning.

United States goaltender Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings and forward T.J. Oshie of the St. Louis Blues made an appearance on NBC's "Today Show" to discuss the Americans' efforts so far at the 2014 Sochi Olympics as well as their own heroics in lifting the team to a 3-0 start and a first-place finish in Group A.

Quick has given up just four goals in winning each of his two starts while Oshie became a household name around the country after an incredible shootout display Saturday in a 3-2 win against Russia.

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Posted On Monday, 02.17.2014 / 8:04 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Kovalchuk not on ice for Russia's practice

SOCHI -- Russia's star forward, Ilya Kovalchuk, did not practice with the Russian team during a training session Monday afternoon at Bolshoy Ice Dome's training rink.

The Russians, who finished second in Group A, play Norway, the No. 12 seed, in a qualification game Tuesday (7:30 a.m. ET). The winner of that game advances to the quarterfinal stage on Wednesday and will play Finland, the fourth seed.

Kovalchuk was injured in the second period of the final preliminary game Sunday against Slovakia. He returned for the third period and also took part in the shootout, scoring a goal, as Russia won the game 1-0.

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Posted On Monday, 02.17.2014 / 7:46 AM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Stanley Cup makes surprise visit to Canada House

SOCHI -- Anaheim Ducks star Corey Perry has seen the impact the Stanley Cup has when it shows up someplace it normally isn't.

He experienced that again Monday when the Cup arrived at Canada Olympic House inside the Olympic park at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

"It's pretty cool," Perry said. "They were pretty excited to see it. I don't know if anybody knew it was going to be here. That's what, as Canadians and as hockey players, that's what we do. We grow up wanting to raise the Stanley Cup. I've had the honor to do it, and it is a special moment.

"I had no idea. I just met my girlfriend here. We just wanted somewhere to hang out and relax because I have the day off. It was my second time in here and I just wanted to see what happens here. It was pretty surprising to see the Cup show up."

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Posted On Monday, 02.17.2014 / 6:07 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Starting times for play-in games announced

Times and locations for the play-in games to advance to the 2014 Sochi Olympics men's hockey tournament quarterfinals have been announced.

All four games will be played Tuesday. Each play-in winner will face off against one of the top-four seeds – Sweden, the United States, Canada and Finland – in the quarterfinal round Wednesday.


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Posted On Sunday, 02.16.2014 / 4:34 PM

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

Slovenia's Kopitar leaves with stomach issue

SOCHI -- Slovenia forward Anze Kopitar did not finish his team's Group A loss to the United States on Sunday night due to a stomach ailment.

Kopitar, a star with the Los Angeles Kings, left in the second period and did not play in the third. He played 16 shifts totaling 11:31 in ice time.

After the game Slovenia coach Matjaz Kopitar, also Anze's father, said that Anze was suffering from a stomach issue and "had no power."

He also said that he removed Anze from the game as a precaution.

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Posted On Sunday, 02.16.2014 / 9:11 AM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Russia's Kovalchuk returns for third period

SOCHI -- Russia forward Ilya Kovalchuk returned for the third period of his team's Group A game against Slovakia on Sunday after missing the final minutes of the second with an apparent leg injury.

Kovalchuk was fighting for a puck with Slovakia forward Richard Panik in the Russian zone when the two fell awkwardly to the ice. Kovalchuk appeared to be in pain as he writhed on the ice for a few moments, but he was able to get up and limp toward the Russian bench under his own power.

Kovalchuk remained on the bench for a few minutes testing the leg and standing on it before leaving for the dressing room.

But when the third period started Kovalchuk was on the ice for the completion of a Russia power play.

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Posted On Sunday, 02.16.2014 / 6:14 AM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Price in goal; Subban, St. Louis scratched for Canada

SOCHI -- It appears the starting goaltending job for Canada at the 2014 Sochi Olympics is now Carey Price's to lose.

The Montreal Canadiens goaltender will get the nod over Roberto Luongo of the Vancouver Canucks when Canada plays Finland with first place in Group B on the line at Bolshoy Ice Dome on Sunday (12 p.m.; USA, CBC).

This game being Canada's final one before entering the knockout phase of the tournament at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, the lineup chosen by coach Mike Babcock and his coaching staff took on greater importance.

Babcock did acknowledge that reality Saturday when speaking to the media on Canada's day off, but he reminded everyone that it is now up to Price to hold on to the job he's been given.

"We had a plan coming in and we haven't changed our plan," Babcock said after Canada's morning skate Sunday. "I've said this many times; at the Olympic Games you're allowed one [goalie] change."


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Posted On Sunday, 02.16.2014 / 5:03 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Slovenia D-man suspended for game vs. U.S.

Sabahudin Kovacevic will miss Slovenia's Group A game against the United States on Sunday after receiving a one-game suspension from the Olympic Men’s Tournament Disciplinary Panel for an elbow to the head and neck area of Slovakia forward Tomas Kopecky on Saturday.

After reviewing the play, in which the players collided in front of the Slovak goal, the panel determined that Kovacevic, a defenseman, extended and directed his elbow to contact the head and neck area of Kopecky, who had to leave the ice and did not return.

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Posted On Sunday, 02.16.2014 / 5:02 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Finland will go with Rask in goal vs. Canada

Tuukka Rask will start for Finland against Canada on Sunday in a Group B showdown at the 2014 Sochi Olympics (12 p.m. ET; USA, CBC)

Rask, of the Boston Bruins, started the Finns' first game in the 2014 Sochi Olympics, an 8-4 win against Austria on Thursday in which he stopped 16 of 20 shots. Dallas Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen played Finland's second game, a 6-1 rout of Norway. Antti Niemi of the San Jose Sharks has yet to play in the tournament.

Canada will start Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens in goal.

The Canada-Finland winner will finish first in Group B and earn a bye into the quarterfinals, which begin Wednesday. A regulation victory would give the winner the top seed.

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Posted On Sunday, 02.16.2014 / 4:09 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Price to start for Canada in showdown vs. Finland

Carey Price will start in goal for Canada on Sunday in its Group B showdown with Finland (12 p.m. ET, USA, CBC), Hockey Canada announced.

Price played in Canada's first game at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, a 3-1 victory against Norway on Thursday. Roberto Luongo got the call against Austria and was perfect in a 6-0 shutout Friday, but will serve as the backup against Finland.

Defenseman Dan Hamhuis and forward Patrick Sharp will return to the lineup for Canada, replacing defenseman P.K. Subban and forward Martin St. Louis.

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Posted On Sunday, 02.16.2014 / 3:55 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Ryan Miller to start for U.S. against Slovenia

Ryan Miller will make his first start in goal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics on Sunday when the United States plays Slovenia (7:30 a.m. ET; NBCSN) in the teams' final Group A game, USA Hockey announced.

Miller, who was the MVP at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, served as the backup to Jonathan Quick in the first two U.S. games in Sochi.

Quick stopped 51 of the 54 shots he faced in a 7-1 win against Slovakia on Thursday and a 3-2 shootout win against Russia on Saturday. He also stopped five of eight attempts in the penalty-shot tiebreaker against the Russians.


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Posted On Sunday, 02.16.2014 / 1:58 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Varlamov to start in goal for Russia vs. Slovakia

Semyon Varlamov will be in goal when Russia plays Slovakia on Sunday (7:30 a.m. ET, USA, SNET) in the teams' Group A preliminary-round finale, according to a team spokesman.

Varlamov started Russia's 2014 Sochi Olympics opener Thursday against Slovenia. The Colorado Avalanche goalie stopped 12 of 14 shots in the 5-2 win.

Sergei Bobrovsky made 31 saves during regulation and overtime in a 3-2 shootout loss to the United States on Saturday. The Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender surrendered goals on four of eight U.S. attempts in the breakaway tiebreaker, all to St. Louis Blues forward T.J. Oshie.


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Posted On Saturday, 02.15.2014 / 3:52 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Blues teammate Berglund happy for Oshie

SOCHI -- As he watched the drama unfold across the street in Shayba Arena, Sweden forward Patrik Berglund knew what was coming before his St. Louis Blues teammate T.J. Oshie dipped into his well of shootout moves at Bolshoy Ice Dome.

Berglund was in the dressing room with his teammates preparing to play Latvia when the United States and Russia were in their shootout. They were watching it on TV as Oshie scored four times in six attempts to lift the Americans to a 3-2 win.

"When he was going to shoot the first one I told the guys in the locker room that's a guaranteed goal," Berglund said following Sweden's 5-3 win against Latvia. "He just went in and put it in as he always does."


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Posted On Saturday, 02.15.2014 / 3:28 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Finland's Barkov to miss remainder of Olympics

Finland center Aleksander Barkov will miss the rest of the 2014 Sochi Olympics with a knee injury sustained Friday against Norway.

According to reports in the Finnish media, the team doctor for Finland has ruled Barkov out for 4-6 weeks after he underwent an MRI.

Barkov, a rookie in the NHL this season with the Florida Panthers after being taken with the second pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, left the game early in the third period. He had three shots on goal and won seven of nine faceoffs in 18 shifts totaling 15:03 of ice time against Norway.

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Posted On Saturday, 02.15.2014 / 1:58 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Penalties could lead to benching for Russia's Radulov

SOCHI -- Alexander Radulov might be scratched for Russia's game Sunday against Slovakia, coach Zinetula Bilyaletinov said through an interpreter following the 3-2 shootout loss to the United States on Saturday.

"We expected more out of him," Bilyaletinov said. "He was not really living up to his expectation today. Scratched? Yeah, he needs to be scratched, among other things."

Radulov was called for two minor penalties that led to both regulation goals for the U.S.

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Posted On Saturday, 02.15.2014 / 11:54 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Illness keeps Elias out of Czech Republic game

Czech Republic forward Patrik Elias of the New Jersey Devils won't play Saturday against Switzerland due to illness.

Each team has one regulation win in two games for three points and is battling for second place in Group C, which has already been clinched by Sweden.

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Posted On Saturday, 02.15.2014 / 8:52 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Slovenia's Kovacevic faces IIHF disciplinary hearing

Slovenia defenseman Sabahudin Kovacevic faces a disciplinary hearing with the International Ice Hockey Federation on Sunday morning.

The hearing, presided over by the IIHF disciplinary committee, concerns a hit delivered by Kovacevic to Slovakia's Tomas Kopecky during the Group A game between the teams Saturday at the Bolshoy Ice Dome.

Kopecky, who plays for the Florida Panthers in the NHL, was injured on the play and did not return to the game.

Slovenia won the game 3-1, its first Olympic victory.

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Posted On Saturday, 02.15.2014 / 7:02 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

U.S. scatches Stepan, Faulk and Howard vs. Russia

The United States will scratch center Derek Stepan, defenseman Justin Faulk and goaltender Jimmy Howard for its Group A game against Russia on Saturday.

The same three players were scratched Thursday when the United States beat Slovakia 7-1 in its first game of the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Coach Dan Bylsma opted to use the same lineup and to go with goaltender Jonathan Quick for the second straight game.

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Posted On Saturday, 02.15.2014 / 5:38 AM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Babcock to take his time on goalie, lineup decisions

SOCHI -- Mike Babcock is in no hurry.

With an entire nation wondering what Canada's coach will do in terms of his starting goaltender and lineup for the final game of preliminary-round play, Babcock said Saturday he will take all the time he has available to him prior to the showdown with Finland on Sunday (Noon ET; USA, CBC).

"Believe me, these decisions aren't easy," Babcock said. "They're difficult because they're personal, because it's about a player. When you have an interaction with a player, that's personal. But it's not about them. It's about our country and it's about making the right decisions.
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Posted On Saturday, 02.15.2014 / 4:03 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Slovakia's Tomas Kopecky leaves with injury

Slovakia forward Tomas Kopecky on Saturday became the second Florida Panthers player to leave a game with an injury at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Kopecky sustained an apparent upper-body injury in the first period when he collided with Slovenia's Sabahudin Kovacevic. He did not return for the second.


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Posted On Saturday, 02.15.2014 / 3:20 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Babcock, Yzerman to attend U.S.-Russia

The Group A showdown between the United States and Russia at Bolshoy Ice Dome will have a couple of especially interested spectators: Canada coach Mike Babcock and executive director Steve Yzerman plan to be in attendance.

"You go to see high-level hockey and what the standard is," Babcock told the media Saturday morning.

Canada has the day off before facing Finland, with the winner earning first place in Group B and a bye into the quarterfinals on Wednesday.

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Posted On Friday, 02.14.2014 / 3:06 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Finland's Barkov injured in win vs. Norway

SOCHI -- Finland forward Aleksander Barkov left the game against Norway early in the third period Friday with a lower-body injury and did not return.

Finnish coach Erkka Westerlund had no further update on Barkov's condition when he was asked about it following Finland's 6-1 win at Shayba Arena.

Barkov, an 18-year-old rookie with the Florida Panthers, played two shifts in the third period before leaving with a little less than seven minutes remaining in the game. He had no points, three shots on goal and won seven of nine faceoffs in 18 shifts totaling 15:03 of ice time against Norway.

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Posted On Friday, 02.14.2014 / 12:12 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

U.S. to deploy two shut-down pairings against Russia

SOCHI -- The United States will try to stifle Russia's skill Saturday with two shut-down defense pairs playing in front of starting goalie Jonathan Quick.

Brooks Orpik and Paul Martin, a regular pair with the Pittsburgh Penguins, skated together in practice Friday and are expected to be together Saturday, when the Americans take on the Russians at Bolshoy Ice Dome in Group A preliminary-round play (7:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC). Ryan Suter and Ryan McDonagh were the other shut-down pair.

Orpik and Martin are expected to get a lot of ice time against Russia’s top line of Evgeni Malkin, Alex Ovechkin and Alexander Semin. Suter and McDonagh likely will see plenty of Pavel Datsyuk, Ilya Kovalchuk and Alexander Radulov.

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Posted On Friday, 02.14.2014 / 11:45 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Slovakian forward Marcinko out for tournament

Slovakian forward Tomas Marcinko, who sustained a leg injury in his first game for his country in a loss to the United States on Thursday, will not play another game at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

The International Ice Hockey Federation website reported the news Friday morning.

Marcinko, who sustained torn ligaments, also may miss the remainder of the season for HC Kosice in the Slovak Extraliga, according to team doctor Vladimir Luptak. He had 10 goals and 28 points in 44 games for HC Kosice this season.

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Posted On Friday, 02.14.2014 / 11:03 AM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Sweden captain Zetterberg out of Olympics

SOCHI -- Sweden captain Henrik Zetterberg is out for the rest of the 2014 Sochi Olympics because of injury, the Swedish Ice Hockey Federation announced Friday.

Zetterberg, who has a herniated disk, missed 13 games for the Detroit Red Wings during the NHL season.

Zetterberg had a goal and won seven of 16 faceoffs in 18:14 of ice time Wednesday in Sweden’s 4-2 Olympic-opening win against the Czech Republic. He did not practice Thursday in order to receive treatment.

"In this situation it was no tough decision as this was no borderline case," Sweden team doctor Bjorn Waldeback said Friday. "For people who know medicine, it is obvious that this couldn't continue.

"[Henrik] has been in touch with the Detroit medical staff. I have been in touch with the NHL doctors who are here. They totally agree with us. When you suffer from a herniated disk the way he does, you need to go home for a medical evaluation."

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Posted On Friday, 02.14.2014 / 5:54 AM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Selanne expected to play for Finland vs. Norway

SOCHI -- Finland captain Teemu Selanne is expected to play Friday against Norway (12 p.m. ET; MSNBC, SNET), one day after leaving the game against Austria with a neck injury, coach Erkka Westerlund told the Finnish media.

He skated with Aleksander Barkov and Mikael Granlund on Friday morning.

Selanne played in the first period of Finland's 8-4 win but did not return to play the rest of the game. However, he skated with the team Friday morning and is likely to play against the Norwegians.

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Posted On Friday, 02.14.2014 / 3:27 AM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Subban, Duchene in for Canada vs. Austria

SOCHI -- Canada will have a different look in its second game of the preliminary round Friday night. Despite a 3-1 victory against Norway in the opener of Group B play Thursday, Canada is making three changes to its lineup for the game against Austria (noon, USA, CBC).

Hockey Canada confirmed Friday morning that Matt Duchene and P.K. Subban are in the lineup after being scratched against Norway. Duchene, of the Colorado Avalanche, replaces Patrick Sharp of the Chicago Blackhawks. Montreal Canadiens defenseman Subban goes in for Dan Hamhuis of the Vancouver Canucks.

Canada also scratched Montreal goalie Carey Price, who played Thursday against Norway. Vancouver's Roberto Luongo, the gold medal-winning goalie four years ago, will start against Austria. He will be backed up by Mike Smith of the Phoenix Coyotes.

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Posted On Thursday, 02.13.2014 / 10:30 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Sweden captain Zetterberg bothered by herniated disk

Sweden captain Henrik Zetterberg did not take part in practice Thursday and missed the team picture due to a herniated disk.

Zetterberg is day-to-day and could still play against Switzerland on Friday (7:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN), according to Sweden team doctor Bjorn Waldeback.

"We will [make the] decision [Friday] and see how he feels and how he adjusts to anti-inflammatory treatment and rest," Waldeback said.

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Posted On Thursday, 02.13.2014 / 3:54 AM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

St. Louis, Hamhuis in lineup for Canada's opener

SOCHI -- Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban and Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene will have to wait another day to make their Olympic debuts.

Canada coach Mike Babcock said Subban and Duchene will sit out its opening game of the 2014 Sochi Olympics against Norway on Thursday (12 p.m. ET, USA, CBC), but will play Friday against Austria (12 p.m. ET, USA, CBC).

Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Martin St. Louis, who was a late addition to the team when Steven Stamkos was ruled out due to injury, and Vancouver Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis will play Thursday, with Hamhuis making his Olympic debut.

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Posted On Thursday, 02.13.2014 / 2:09 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Varlamov in goal for Russia against Slovenia

Semyon Varlamov of the Colorado Avalanche will start in goal for Russia in its first game of the 2014 Sochi Olympics against Slovenia on Thursday (7:30 a.m. ET, MSNBC, CBC), according to a tweet from the IIHF.

Sergei Bobrovsky of the Columbus Blue Jackets will serve as his backup.

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Posted On Thursday, 02.13.2014 / 1:24 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 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:


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Posted On Wednesday, 02.12.2014 / 11:28 AM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - 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.

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.11.2014 / 2:58 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - 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.

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.11.2014 / 1:18 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 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."

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.11.2014 / 3:21 AM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 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."

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Posted On Monday, 02.10.2014 / 2:24 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 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.

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Posted On Monday, 02.10.2014 / 2:01 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 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.

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Posted On Monday, 02.10.2014 / 11:58 AM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 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.

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Posted On Monday, 02.10.2014 / 10:53 AM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - 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.

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Posted On Monday, 02.10.2014 / 8:45 AM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 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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Posted On Saturday, 02.08.2014 / 9:31 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Pacioretty: I'm going to Sochi

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty said he's going to the Sochi Olympics despite leaving the game Saturday against the Carolina Hurricanes with 7:30 remaining in the first period after being checked into the goal post.

"I'm OK. I'm going to Sochi," the U.S. Olympian said in the dressing room after Montreal's 4-1 victory. NHL players taking part in the Games are scheduled to fly to Russia on Sunday.

Pacioretty drove hard to the net and was hit by Hurricanes defenseman Brett Bellemore. He appeared to be favoring his left forearm as he skated slowly to the dressing room. He didn't return, and the Canadiens announced during the second period that Pacioretty had sustained a lower-body injury.

The 25-year-old has a team-leading 26 goals and 11 assists for Montreal this season.

"It's a play I make often," Pacioretty said. "I went in a little bit awkwardly. I banged up my arm and my hip. I was very worried at first. It was tough to breath and I was having (back) spasms. Once that went away, I was feeling a lot better. I got a lot of treatment during the game and I'm feeling a lot better."

Pacioretty didn't hesitate when asked if he was certain to be ready for the Olympics. He expected some lingering bruising, but otherwise felt he avoided a more serious injury.

"I think I got lucky," he said. "It could have been a lot worse."

Pacioretty is one of seven Canadiens who will compete in Sochi.

"If he was to miss that, it would be a terrible loss," said Montreal goalie Carey Price, who will play for Canada. "It's a very cool life experience to take part in."

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Posted On Saturday, 02.08.2014 / 11:04 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

U.S., Canadian women open Olympics with victories

Hilary Knight scored the opening goal 53 seconds into the game and assisted on Kelli Stack's game-winner in the United States' tournament-opening 3-1 win against Finland at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Alex Carpenter also scored for the United States and Jessie Vetter made 14 saves. Susanna Tapani scored for Finland, while Noora Raty stopped 40 of 43 shots.

Knight opened the scoring early in a first period, one in which the Americans outshot Finland 15-3, before she set up Stack's goal 7:42 into the second to give the American women a 2-0 lead. The 19-year-old Carpenter, the daughter of longtime NHL player Bobby Carpenter, scored her first Olympic goal on the power play to extend the U.S. lead to 3-0 with 4:01 remaining in the second.

Tapani scored Finland's lone goal 15:22 into the third with Brianna Decker off for hooking. But the standout player for the Finns was Raty, who won back-to-back NCAA national championships with the University of Minnesota in 2012 and 2013. The Finnish goaltender kept the score respectable as the United States outshot the Finns 33-7 in the opening two periods.

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Posted On Friday, 02.07.2014 / 10:21 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

'Miracle on Ice' team members salute 2014 Olympians

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The 15 members of the Chicago Blackhawks and Phoenix Coyotes who will take part in the 2014 Sochi Olympics were given a rousing sendoff at Jobing.com Arena on Friday, with 10 members of the 1980 United States "Miracle on Ice" team leading the way.

Beginning with Kurt Russell's recreation of coach Herb Brooks' famous USA-Soviet Union pregame speech from the movie "Miracle" and continuing with Aerosmith's iconic "Dream On," 10 members of the gold medal winning team were introduced to a sellout crowd that recreated the "U-S-A!, U-S-A!" chant that echoed through the mountains of Lake Placid 34 years ago.

The 10 team members, Beginning with sniper Neal Broten and ending with captain Mike Eruzione, donned their red, white and blue jerseys again and lined up at center ice before the five Phoenix and 10 Chicago Olympians were introduced to the crowd. Broten and Eruzione were joined by Steve Janaszak, Rob McClanahan, Ken Morrow, Buzz Schneider, Dave Silk, Bob Suter, Phil Verchota and Mark Wells.


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Posted On Friday, 02.07.2014 / 9:03 PM

NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

NHL Live: Group A Olympic Breakdown

NHL Live breaks down and targets key players from Group A at the Olympics. The teams include United States, Russia, Slovenia and Slovakia.

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Posted On Friday, 02.07.2014 / 9:02 PM

NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

NHL Live: Barry Melrose on Olympic Coaching

NHL Network analyst Barry Melrose joins NHL Live to discuss coaching strategies and how to create a successful winning hockey team at the 2014 Winter Olympics.

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Posted On Friday, 02.07.2014 / 8:58 PM

NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

NHL Live: Pacioretty on playing in Olympics

Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty joins NHL Live to discuss the Olympics, and his odd night against Vancouver, recording a hat trick and missing 2 penalty shots.

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Posted On Friday, 02.07.2014 / 4:18 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Poile remains in hospital, delays trip to Sochi

Nashville Predators general manager David Poile is recovering from surgical procedures in his nose and eye areas Friday in a Minnesota hospital and his travel to Sochi, Russia for the 2014 Olympics has been delayed.

Poile was hit in the face Thursday by a deflected puck during the Predators' morning skate at Xcel Energy Center and was taken to an area hospital.

Poile also is the general manager for the United States Olympic team and was scheduled to travel with other NHL Olympians to Russia on Sunday. In a statement released by the Predators, Poile still hopes to join the team in Sochi.

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Posted On Friday, 02.07.2014 / 2:21 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Finland's Koivu, Filppula out of Olympics

Finland will be without top forwards Mikko Koivu of the Minnesota Wild and Valtteri Filppula of the Tampa Bay Lightning for the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Koivu announced Friday that he was ending his attempts to play in the Olympics. He has been out since sustaining a broken ankle during a game Jan. 4.

"I'm not going to the Olympics games this year," Koivu said in a statement released on the Wild's official Twitter feed. "I just don't feel healthy enough to feel that I can play at the level that I want."

He said he will take a few days off and then resume skating prior to the Wild getting back together Feb. 19.

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Posted On Friday, 02.07.2014 / 12:30 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Capitals' Johansson named to Sweden's Olympic team

Washington Capitals left wing Marcus Johansson will represent Sweden at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, it was announced Friday.

Johansson takes the place of Vancouver Canucks center Henrik Sedin, who announced Thursday he will not participate in Sochi because of a lingering rib injury.

Johansson, 23, will be making his first Olympic appearance and will join Capitals teammate Nicklas Backstrom on the Swedish team.

"It's a great feeling. It's awesome. It's a dream coming true," Johansson said. "Playing in the Olympics for your country, it's pretty awesome. ... You feel proud and really excited to be able to experience an Olympics and get a chance to win a gold medal."

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Posted On Friday, 02.07.2014 / 12:35 AM

By James Murphy -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Canucks' Henrik Sedin out for Sochi Olympics

Henrik Sedin
Center - VAN
GOALS: 9 | ASST: 31 | PTS: 40
SOG: 80 | +/-: 6
MONTREAL -- Vancouver Canucks center Henrik Sedin won't play for Sweden in the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

"I'm going to stay at home," Sedin said Thursday night after the Canucks' 5-2 loss to the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre, though he added that he was "very confident" he'll be ready to return when the Canucks resume play on Feb. 26 against the St. Louis Blues. "I need rest; I need rehab and I'm going to get a few days of recovery. It's right where they thought it was at first. It wasn't a whole lot worse but it's just a matter of feeling it confident-wise and feeling 100 percent.

"I don't think I'm there so that's why I made this decision."

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Posted On Thursday, 02.06.2014 / 9:25 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Fowler, Weekes talk Olympics on NHL Live

There was plenty of talk about the 2014 Sochi Olympics on NHL Live on NHL Network on Thursday night.

Anaheim Ducks and U.S. defenseman Cam Fowler joined Ken Daneyko and Steve Mears by phone to discuss the upcoming Olympics, as well as the Ducks' recent struggles and the recent 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series game at Dodger Stadium.

"I'm obviously just very honored and humbled to be a part of that team and a part of that experience. I'm really just looking forward to getting over there and getting to know the guys and getting to know the systems and the coaching staff," the first-time Olympian said. "I'm sure when that first game's there will definitely be some butterflies, but I think those will go away after the first few shifts."

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Posted On Thursday, 02.06.2014 / 3:33 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Blue Jackets forward Gaborik to miss Olympics

Columbus Blue Jackets forward Marian Gaborik will miss the 2014 Sochi Olympics, the team announced Thursday.

Gaborik, who sustained a broken collarbone Dec. 21 against the Philadelphia Flyers, had hoped to return in time to play for his native Slovakia.

"I'm extremely disappointed that I won't be able to play for Slovakia at the Olympic Games but understand the decision is the right one for my recovery and for the national team," Gaborik said. "I have been lucky and proud to represent my country at two Olympic Games and other international tournaments and look forward to doing so again in the future."

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Posted On Thursday, 02.06.2014 / 2:28 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Islanders' Tavares gained familiarity with St. Louis

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- New York Islanders captain John Tavares spent Thursday morning preparing for a game against the Calgary Flames later that night at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, so he had no idea that Tampa Bay Lightning forward Martin St. Louis had been selected to replace Steven Stamkos on Canada's roster at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Stamkos, who sustained a broken tibia in a game against the Boston Bruins on Nov. 11, did everything he could to work his way back into Tampa Bay's lineup before the Olympics so he could represent Canada at the Olympics. But it was announced Wednesday that Stamkos has not been medically cleared to play.

St. Louis, who leads the Lightning with 54 points (25 goals, 29 assists) in 56 games, was originally left off the roster when it was announced by Hockey Canada last month. The 38-year-old and Tavares, 23, were roommates at Canada's orientation camp last summer.

"It's great for Marty and well deserved," Tavares said after being informed of the news by a reporter. "He's a tremendous person and I think he's proven throughout his career what he's accomplished and the impact he can make on a team like that and a tournament like this.

"[He's] just a great guy. I think he doesn't take anything for granted. He's worked for everything he's got. I think he's always had that kind of mindset. He's a lot of fun to be around too. He's not this old guy, grumpy guy. He's fun and energetic and extremely hard-working."

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Posted On Thursday, 02.06.2014 / 2:18 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Healthy Timonen relieved to play in Olympics

PHILADELPHIA -- Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen isn't the sort of person who shows his emotions publicly.

But in speaking with the 38-year-old, it's obvious how important is for him to play for his native Finland in the 2014 Sochi Olympics. And after missing two games with a foot injury, Timonen said two days of skating has him feeling healthy enough to get back in the lineup for the Flyers for their game Thursday against the Colorado Avalanche.

"The last five, six days have been tough," said Timonen, who was injured blocking a shot during a game Jan. 31 against the Anaheim Ducks. "I want to play. The Olympics is coming. I want to get a couple games in, at least one. It [the foot] is going the right way and I feel pretty good. It's a good feeling."

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Posted On Thursday, 02.06.2014 / 1:38 PM

By Alain Poupart -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Canada coach Babcock thrilled to have St. Louis

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard, who will play for the United States team at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, summed up pretty well the news that Martin St. Louis would replace Steven Stamkos on the Canadian squad.

"They replace a great player with another great player," Howard said after the Red Wings' morning skate in preparation for their game against the Florida Panthers on Thursday night. "It's as simple as that."

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock was more directly affected by the change because he'll be the head coach for the Canadian team.

"I feel bad for [Stamkos]," Babcock said. "He's one of the best players in the NHL. I love watching him play. High-powered kid. He's really learning how to play the game 200 feet. He would have been a real asset.

"In saying that, St. Louis has had a great year. He's had four great years since the last Olympics. It was really hard decisions when we were picking the team. He goes in as a group of one of 14 and then he's got to carve out whatever he can carve for himself, just like the rest of the guys. We're thrilled to have him. He's a great person. He competes hard. He's ultra-competitive and we want him to bring that."


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Posted On Thursday, 02.06.2014 / 12:40 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

St. Louis to take Stamkos' place on Canadian roster

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Martin St. Louis has been selected to replace Steven Stamkos on Canada's roster for the 2014 Sochi Olympics, Hockey Canada announced Thursday morning.

St. Louis, 38, will be going to his second Olympics, having played for Canada in 2006. It'll be his first international tournament since the 2009 IIHF World Championship, when he had 15 points in nine games.

"They called me yesterday," St. Louis said. "Great opportunity for me. I think if you asked Stamkos who he wants to replace him it would be me. So I'll do the best I can."

"It's great for Marty," Stamkos said. "If there is anyone in our locker room that deserves it from day one it is Marty."

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.04.2014 / 8:15 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Oilers' Smyth talks Olympics on NHL Live

Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Smyth joined NHL Live in studio to talk about his season and competing in the Olympic games.

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.04.2014 / 12:56 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Rangers' Olympians to appear on NBC's 'Today Show'

New York Rangers captain Ryan Callahan will join teammates Derek Stepan and Ryan McDonagh as guests on NBC's "Today Show" on Wednesday in the 8:30 a.m. (ET) half-hour live from Rockefeller Center in New York City.

The trio, who will play for the United States at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, will be interviewed by Savannah Guthrie to discuss the anticipation of competing for a gold medal.

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.04.2014 / 9:50 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Capitals' Erat named to Czech Republic team

Washington Capitals forward Martin Erat has been named to the Czech Republic roster for the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

He takes the place of St. Louis Blues forward Vladimir Sobotka, who went on injured reserve this past weekend with a leg injury.

"We've counted with Vladimir Sobotka as a top two-way forward, he is extraordinary on defense," Czech Republic coach Alois Hadamczik said. "After he got injured, we had to find similar kind of a player and Martin Erat is best in defense among all candidates."

Erat has 21 points, all assists, in 48 games for the Washington Capitals this season.

"It's always nice to play for your national team, especially as a big tournament as Olympics are," said Erat, who will make his third Olympic appearance. "It's going to be nice to change scenarios for a while and hope [we] get something done there."

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Posted On Monday, 02.03.2014 / 7:40 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Capitals' Carlson talks representing USA on NHL Live

Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson joined NHL Live via telephone to discuss his upcoming trip to Russia for the 2014 Sochi Olympics as a member of the United States team.

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Posted On Monday, 02.03.2014 / 6:31 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Lightning coach 'cheering' for Stamkos to play

Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper is rooting for Steven Stamkos to make it to the 2014 Sochi Olympics, even though he knows the additional time off during the upcoming break would give the center's broken right leg the appropriate amount of time to heal.

Stamkos hasn't played since he crashed into the goal and broke his right tibia in a game against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden on Nov. 11. He is targeting the game Saturday against the Detroit Red Wings as his return date and is hopeful of it going well so he'll feel confident about playing in the Olympic tournament, which for Canada begins Feb. 13.

"I'm legitimately cheering for him to play, but you just sit here and say, 'If he was going to get hurt, why couldn't he have gotten hurt like a week-and-a-half or two weeks earlier?'" Cooper said Monday afternoon. "Or, 'Why couldn't the Olympics be a week later?' It's going to come right down to the wire on this one, but if anything [Monday], he looked pretty good in practice. It was his best day. I talked to him after and he said it was his best day yet. He was pretty encouraged."

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Posted On Monday, 02.03.2014 / 3:58 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Stamkos eyeing Saturday for return

Tampa Bay Lightning star Steven Stamkos has set Saturday against the Detroit Red Wings as his target date to return from a broken leg sustained less than three months earlier, according to a report by Damian Cristodero of the Tampa Bay Times.

The Lightning will host the Red Wings at Tampa Bay Times Forum in their final game prior to the NHL's two-week break for the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Stamkos, who was named to Canada's roster for the tournament, hopes to use the game Saturday as a measuring stick as to whether he will be able to participate in the Olympics.

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Posted On Monday, 02.03.2014 / 2:36 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Nyquist added to Sweden Olympic team

Detroit Red Wings forward Gustav Nyquist has been added to Sweden's team for the 2014 Sochi Olympics, it was announced Monday.

Nyquist will replace Red Wings teammate Johan Franzen, who is on injured reserve with concussion issues.

The 24-year-old had his first NHL hat trick Sunday against the Washington Capitals and in his past eight games he has eight goals and four assists. In 30 games this season he has 13 goals and 22 points.
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Posted On Saturday, 02.01.2014 / 5:17 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Blues' Sobotka to miss Olympics with leg injury

The St. Louis Blues have placed forward Vladimir Sobotka on injured reserve with a left leg injury. Sobotka will be re-evaluated in four weeks and the injury will keep him from participating for the Czech Republic at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

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Posted On Thursday, 01.30.2014 / 2:43 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Red Wings' Franzen to miss Olympics

Sweden Olympic hockey coach Par Marts said Thursday that Detroit Red Wings forward Johan Franzen will not play for the team at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Franzen currently is on injured reserve due to concussion issues. He originally sustained a concussion during a game Dec. 15 against the Tampa Bay Lightning. He returned Sunday against the Florida Panthers after missing 16 games, but on Monday was returned to IR due to a recurrence of the concussion issues.

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Posted On Thursday, 01.30.2014 / 10:36 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Quintal, Whitmore to serve on Olympic panel

Stephane Quintal of the NHL Department of Player Safety and Kay Whitmore of NHL Hockey Operations will be part of the four-man panel overseeing discipline for the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Quintal, who serves as Director of Player Safety, has been with the NHL since 2011. He spent 16 seasons in the NHL, playing 1,037 games with the Boston Bruins, St. Louis Blues, Winnipeg Jets, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers and Chicago Blackhawks.

Whitmore serves as the League's director of hockey operations and goaltender equipment and has worked for the NHL since 2004. He played 14 seasons professionally, including 155 games in nine seasons with the Hartford Whalers, Vancouver Canucks, Bruins and Calgary Flames.


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Posted On Tuesday, 01.28.2014 / 10:06 PM

By Jon Lane -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Vanek embraces leadership role with Austria

NEW YORK -- New York Islanders forward Thomas Vanek will not only make his Olympic debut next month at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, he will serve as the captain of the Austrian team. The announcement was made Tuesday by national team coach Manny Viveiros.

"Just being part of it is big for our country," Vanek said. "To be named captain is something special, but we have a lot of good guys who will help me out. We have a good leadership group."

Vanek is one of three NHL players who will compete for Austria. He joins Islanders teammate Michael Grabner and Philadelphia Flyers forward Michael Raffl.

"He's obviously been around the block a few times," Grabner said of Vanek. "He's always one of the biggest icons for hockey in Austria, so it's a big honor for him. It's nice to have him as my captain. I think he's going to have a big influence on the younger players on our team and, obviously, a lot of people, including myself, can learn a lot from him.

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.28.2014 / 3:50 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Stamkos skates, still hoping for pre-Olympic return

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos often has said he'd like to play at least one game with the team prior to playing for Canada at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

However, on Tuesday he said that was the best-case scenario, and he would still consider playing in the Olympics even without an NHL warmup.

"The objective is to play a game," Stamkos said after skating with his teammates Tuesday in Toronto. "That's something I would really love to do. But if that's not the case there's going to be another discussion about whether I'm still going to be on that [Olympic] team. We haven't had that. It's more like we'll cross that bridge when we need to."

Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman, who also serves as executive director of Canada's Olympic team, said much the same.

"If he gets a chance to play in a game, if he's cleared to play, great," Yzerman said. "If not, then depending on what the doctor says and how he feels, is he good to go for the first game of the tournament? He's the only one who really knows that once the doctors give him the green light to play."

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.28.2014 / 10:14 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Islanders' Vanek to captain Austria Olympic team

Thomas Vanek will be the captain for Austria's team at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

The announcement was made Tuesday by Austria coach Manny Viveiros.

"Vanek is a star player for us and also in the NHL," Viveiros said. "That's enough to make him captain. He is a role model for all young players in Austria."

The 30-year-old New York Islanders forward became the highest-drafted Austrian-born player in NHL history when the Buffalo Sabres selected him with the fifth pick of the 2003 NHL Draft.


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Posted On Thursday, 01.23.2014 / 2:13 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Stamkos says leg 'best it's felt' since injury

Another day on the ice and more good news for Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos.

Stamkos joined his teammates on the ice Thursday at Tampa Bay Times Forum for the morning skate and said his right leg feels as good as it has since he broke it in November.

"I thought [Thursday] was the best it's felt," Stamkos told reporters. "That's a positive. Every day I've gotten on the ice trying to get a little better each time. A lot of it is physical but a lot of it is mental as well, trying different things that you can trust the healing process is taking place. … I have never had an injury like this, but I'd like to think that I'm ahead [of pace in recovery]. I'm feeling good. I know I'm not 100 percent, but it's getting there."

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.21.2014 / 10:44 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Hurricanes' Semin added to Russia's Olympic team

Carolina Hurricanes forward Alexander Semin was added to Russia's team for the 2014 Sochi Olympics on Tuesday.

Semin also played for Russia at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics when he had two assists in four games. He has nine goals and 12 assists in 36 games for the Hurricanes.

According to Russian sports website Rsport.ru, Semin will replace forward Sergei Soin, who plays for Dynamo Moscow in the Kontinental Hockey League but sustained a knee injury last week.

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Posted On Monday, 01.20.2014 / 11:00 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Ovechkin excited for Sochi Olympics

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin was a guest on NBC's Today Show live from Rockefeller Center in New York City on Monday to discuss his selection to represent Russia at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

"I'm very excited," Ovechkin told NBC's Carson Daly."It's a big honor for me, for my country."

Ovechkin will be making his third Olympic appearance and was the first Russian to carry the Olympic Torch in a ceremony at Olympia, Greece on Sept. 29, 2013. In the 2006 Turin Olympics, Russia lost the bronze medal game to the Czech Republic. Four years later in Vancouver, Russia fell in the quarterfinals to Canada, the eventual gold-medal winner

This year, the games will be played in Ovechkin's home country, where there will be extra incentive to win gold.

"Everybody wants to win a gold medal, especially when playing at home," Ovechkin said. "I'm sure every hockey player, every fan in Russia, wants us to win. But it's going to be hard because every team has a strong team. It's going to be a battle."

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Posted On Thursday, 01.16.2014 / 6:18 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Tavares OK with playing wing for Canada

Though John Tavares has spent his entire NHL career as a center, the New York Islanders captain knows there's no guarantee he'll be in the middle when he takes the ice for Canada at the 2014 Sochi Olympics next month.

And he's OK with that.

Canada is loaded with talent down the middle, including Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews and Ryan Getzlaf. That could result in Tavares spending his time in Sochi on left wing, though he said this week he "hasn't heard anything" about his ultimate position.

"Really, the only thing I know is from the camp in the summertime, they had me at center," he said. "They talked to me about playing the wing and being versatile. I know there’s a possibility being in a different spot than I’m accustomed to.”

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Posted On Thursday, 01.16.2014 / 1:34 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Bruins' Chara to carry Slovakian flag at Olympics

Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara will be Slovakia's flag bearer during the opening ceremonies of the 2014 Sochi Olympics in February.

Chara, also captain of Slovakia's Olympic hockey team, will be the fourth Slovak athlete to carry his country's flag, joining Peter Stastny (1994), Robert Petrovicky (2002) and Ziggy Palffy (2010).

The Olympic opening ceremony will be held Feb. 7, six days before Slovakia plays its first game against the United States. Bruins coach Claude Julien confirmed Thursday that Chara has been granted permission to leave the team and miss Boston's final game before the Olympic break, Feb. 8 against the Ottawa Senators.

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.15.2014 / 12:07 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Datsyuk named captain of Russian Olympic team

Zinetula Bilyaletdinov, coach of Russia's team for the 2014 Sochi Olympics, announced Wednesday that Detroit Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk has been named team captain.

"When I discussed this issue with coaching staff and the team's general manager, Alexei Kasatonov, it felt like Datsyuk was the most suitable candidate for the role," Bilyaletdinov said at a press conference in Moscow. "It was important that the players supported the choice as well."

Datsyuk seems to be excited to lead the team at the Olympics, which will take place in his home country.

"I am honored to be named a captain," Datsyuk wrote on his verified Twitter account, @Datsyuk13. "Our team embraces the opportunity and responsibility of representing our country on the home ice."

This will be the fourth Olympics for Datsyuk, who represented Russia in 2002, 2006 and 2010. In 18 Olympic games Datsyuk has three goals and 14 points.

In 35 games with the Red Wings this season he has 15 goals and 32 points.

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Posted On Sunday, 01.12.2014 / 11:53 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Rangers' Zuccarello excited to lead Norway in Sochi

NEW YORK -- New York Rangers forward Mats Zuccarello admits it has been some time since he represented his country on the international stage. But it was an eye-opening experience for Zuccarello when he skated for his native Norway in 2010.

Zuccarello's international experience that year started with the Vancouver Olympics, where he led an overmatched Norwegian team that lost all four games by a combined score of 23-8. But things got better for Zuccarello and the Norwegians when they competed at the IIHF World Championship that spring in Germany. The wing led a vastly-improved Norwegian squad, scoring the winner in a 3-2 win against Switzerland, as well as a big goal in a major 3-2 upset of the Czech Republic.

Now being called upon to represent his country at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, Zuccarello is hoping to continue that steady improvement for his national team.

"It's going to be cool. A good experience. We're a small country. I guess we have as many hockey players as Toronto has ice rinks," said Zuccarello, who met with Norwegian hockey officials last week to discuss logistics for the upcoming games. "It's going to be tough but at the same time we made it to the Olympics, we'll do our best and work hard. We're equally as proud to represent our country as the Canadians and the Swedes and everybody else."


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Posted On Wednesday, 01.08.2014 / 9:00 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Coyotes' Smith 'excited' to play for Canada

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.08.2014 / 8:55 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Vanek talks Islanders' surge, Sochi Games

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.08.2014 / 12:57 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Canadiens' draft class represented at Sochi Games

PHILADELPHIA -- The Montreal Canadiens had eight players named to their respective countries' rosters for the 2014 Sochi Olympics, the second-most of any team in the Eastern Conference and tied for the fourth-most of any NHL team.

Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin sees that as a point of pride, but he won't take a lot of credit for it. Instead, he points to Trevor Timmins, the team's director of amateur scouting.

Timmins and his staff were responsible for drafting four of the eight players picked -- forward Max Pacioretty (United States); defensemen Alexei Emelin (Russia) and P.K. Subban (Canada); and goaltender Carey Price (Canada). Forward Tomas Plekanec (Czech Republic) and defenseman Andrei Markov (Russia) were picked by the Canadiens prior to Timmins joining the organization in 2002. The only players not drafted by the Canadiens to make an Olympic team were backup goalie Peter Budaj (Slovakia), signed as a free agent in 2011, and defenseman Raphael Diaz (Switzerland), a free-agent signee who never was drafted and made his NHL debut with the Canadiens in the 2011-12 season.

"[Six] of those guys were Montreal draft picks and most of them were drafted by Trevor's staff," Bergevin said. "Our drafting, from Day 1 when I got here, was the way to build a team. This shows we are on the right track."

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.08.2014 / 12:48 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Stars' Dillon envisions Benn on line with Perry, Getzlaf

NEW YORK -- Dallas Stars defenseman Brenden Dillon predicts Canada will use a line of Jamie Benn, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. He feels for any defensemen who would have to match up against a trio like that.

"I think that line would be pretty deadly," said Dillon, who visited the NHL offices Tuesday shortly after Canada announced its Olympic roster that included Benn, the Stars captain. "Just from playing against those two [Perry and Getzlaf] on their own and adding a third guy in there who can skate just as well, make plays just as well and is just as hard to handle down low … they should be OK."

As a defenseman, how would Dillon try to handle a line as big and skilled as one that features Benn on the left, Getzlaf in the middle and Perry on the right?

"Try to keep the puck away from them as much as you can, stay on offense," he said. "Even then those guys are up there in takeaways. Those guys, they're so good and they're two right-handers and a left-handed shot tossing it in there. Perry and Getzlaf, their chemistry says something already, and then Benn, playing with him for two years now, I mean he deserves all the accolades he's starting to get. One thing in Dallas is he's flying under the radar, but I think this is so good for him."


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Posted On Tuesday, 01.07.2014 / 7:32 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Canucks' Hamhuis excited to make Canadian roster

VANCOUVER -- First-year Vancouver Canucks coach John Tortorella didn't mince words when describing Dan Hamhuis earlier this season, saying the defenseman's "game was a dog's breakfast."

A few months later Hamhuis is an Olympian.

Hamhuis was among the surprises when Canada named its team for the 2014 Sochi Olympics on Tuesday morning, earning a spot ahead of Dan Boyle and Brent Seabrook, who both won gold at the 2010 Vancouver Games, among others.

Despite representing Canada seven times internationally -- twice at the World Junior Championship and five times at the World Championship -- and being a part of the Olympic orientation camp in the fall, it was hard to picture Hamhuis at the Sochi Games as he was struggling to adjust to the new system installed by Tortorella.

"I didn't get off to the start I wanted but just tried to stay patient with myself and patiently get better, and I think my game's come around," said Hamhuis, who has four goals, 13 points and a plus-12 rating in 44 games while often being matched up against opponents' best lines.


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Posted On Tuesday, 01.07.2014 / 7:03 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Yzerman laments leaving St. Louis off Canada's roster

TORONTO – Team Canada executive director Steve Yzerman knows his job is not likely to make him many friends. In fact, the tough decisions he and his management were forced to make in forming the team that will compete in the 2014 Sochi Olympics could very well wind up making him a few enemies.

"These players are all proud and confident in themselves and all believe they should be there," Yzerman said Tuesday after the 25-man Canadian roster was announced. "I understand that … it's hard. All these players that are left off are disappointed today and probably aren't real thrilled with me."

However, there is one player in particular that falls under that category that Yzerman would like to ensure remains on good terms: his captain with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Martin St. Louis.

For the second straight Olympics, Yzerman chose not to select St. Louis on the Canadian team. The first time in 2010, Yzerman was not yet the Lightning general manager.

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.07.2014 / 6:39 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Neal among key Penguins left off Canadian team

VANCOUVER – As the media gathered five and six deep around the lockers of Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby and linemate Chris Kunitz to talk about making Canada's team for the 2014 Sochi Olympics, James Neal sat quietly a couple of stalls away.

As happy as Neal was for his teammates, it was hard to match their smiles after being left off the Canadian roster.

"You have to keep your head up, and try to keep a smile on your face but it is tough," Neal said. "It's disappointing, you wanted to be part of that team so bad and you only get so many chances. It's the chance of a lifetime to play for Team Canada at the Olympics."

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.07.2014 / 5:42 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Canada returns 11 players from 2010 gold-medal team

Eleven players from Canada's Olympic gold-medal winning team in Vancouver four years ago have been selected to play in the 2014 Sochi Olympics next month.

Hockey Canada released its highly anticipated 25-man Olympic team roster Tuesday in Toronto, naming goalie Roberto Luongo (Vancouver Canucks); defensemen Duncan Keith (Chicago Blackhawks), Shea Weber (Nashville Predators) and Drew Doughty (Los Angeles Kings); and forwards Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh Penguins), Patrice Bergeron (Boston Bruins), Rick Nash (New York Rangers), Jonathan Toews (Blackhawks), Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim Ducks), Corey Perry (Ducks) and Patrick Marleau (San Jose Sharks) as the returning players from the 2010 team, which defeated the United States in the gold-medal game.

The first-time Olympians picked to play for Canada in Sochi are goalies Carey Price (Montreal Canadiens) and Mike Smith (Phoenix Coyotes); forwards John Tavares (New York Islanders), Matt Duchene (Colorado Avalanche), Steven Stamkos (Tampa Bay Lightning), Chris Kunitz (Penguins), Jeff Carter (Los Angeles Kings), Patrick Sharp (Blackhawks) and Jamie Benn (Dallas Stars); and defensemen Alex Pietrangelo (St. Louis Blues), Dan Hamhuis (Vancouver Canucks), P.K. Subban (Montreal Canadiens) and Marc-Edouard Vlasic (San Jose Sharks).


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Posted On Tuesday, 01.07.2014 / 5:28 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Stars forward Benn played way onto Canada roster

NEW YORK -- When the roster for Canada Olympic orientation camp was announced before the 2013-14 NHL season, Dallas Stars forward Jamie Benn found out where he was in his country's pecking order. There were 25 forwards invited to the camp in Calgary, and Benn was not one of them.

When the roster for the 2014 Sochi Olympics was announced Tuesday in Toronto, Benn found out how far he's come. There were 14 forwards named to the team tasked with defending the gold medal, and Benn was among them.

"It was a little bit of disappointment. I felt like I deserved at least to get an invite, but Team Canada is not an easy team to make," Benn said of not getting a camp invite. "There was a lot of great players who got invited to that camp. It was a tough decision for Hockey Canada to make and it just gave me a little more motivation for this year."

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.07.2014 / 5:04 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Reality of Olympics in homeland sinks in for Ovechkin

With the long-awaited unveiling of the Russian team that will look to defend home soil at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin said the reality of what will come next month is starting to set in.

"Every day it's getting closer," Ovechkin said during a conference call Tuesday. "All my friends are calling and asking what's happening, who's going to be on the team. I'm very excited. I'm very happy to be on the roster, very excited to represent my country in my country at the Olympic Games."

Ovechkin will be a central figure not just on the Russian hockey team, but the entire Russian Olympic delegation. He was the first Russian to carry the Olympic torch when it left Greece in August.

Russia will be expected to contend for the gold medal and the pressure on the team will be extreme. However, Ovechkin said he's trying to ignore that pressure as best he can.

"I don't think about it," he said. "I don't want to take the pressure right now on me. Soon I'm going to feel all kinds of pressure on myself, on the team and on the coaching staff. Right now I don't think about it. But it's hard to do because every time I get the news on the Internet it's all about the Olympic Games and all that kind of stuff. The fans and media, everybody wants more information, wants more news about the team and about the rosters."


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Posted On Tuesday, 01.07.2014 / 4:50 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Relieved Sharp one of 10 Blackhawks going to Sochi

CHICAGO -- Patrick Sharp tried not to think about the 2014 Sochi Olympics much, but even he couldn't help it as Canada's scheduled roster revealing neared Tuesday morning.

The 32-year old Sharp, from Thunder Bay, Ontario, started mulling his chances to make the Canadian roster last week, after recording his second hat trick in a seven-day span. It was on his mind ever since, even as he stepped into the shower Tuesday morning before heading to practice.

That's when the phone rang.

"I just got out of the shower and had a voice mail," Sharp said. "I had my phone with me the whole time. I was surprised I didn't have it in the shower with me. I got a call from Doug Armstrong, the GM of St. Louis, and I called him back as soon as I could and he didn't answer. I listed to the voice mail a couple more times and confirmed that I was going. He called me right back and we had a good talk. It was a special moment."

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.07.2014 / 4:42 PM

By Derek Van Diest -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Calls bring different news for Bouwmeester, Hall

EDMONTON -- St. Louis Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester and Edmonton Oilers left wing Taylor Hall each received a phone call from Hockey Canada on Tuesday morning.

One brought good news, the other bad as the Canadian Olympic team selections were announced in Toronto.

Bouwmeester, who was left off the Olympic team four years ago in Vancouver, will be on the squad heading to Sochi, Russia in February. Hall will not.

"It's pretty exciting stuff," Bouwmeester said. "It wasn't something I was thinking about or worried about, there are a lot of real good players. I've been on the other side, looking in and it's not a lot of fun.

"It's a great opportunity and it's something that if you have the chance to be a part of, it's something special and it's something you want to take advantage of."


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Posted On Tuesday, 01.07.2014 / 4:20 PM

By Sean Farrell -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Canadiens' Subban grateful for chance to go to Sochi

BROSSARD, Que. -- For months, P.K. Subban has been the subject of much discussion and debate by Canadian hockey pundits and fans about whether he would be invited to take part in the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

On Tuesday, the Montreal Canadiens defenseman got the call he and his boosters were hoping for.

Subban was named to Canada's Olympic team along with Montreal teammate Carey Price, bolstering to eight the number of Canadiens who will represent their respective countries in Sochi.

Montreal defensemen Andrei Markov and Alexei Emelin were named Tuesday to represent Russia, which will host its first Olympic Winter Games. Canadiens backup goalie Peter Budaj was named to Slovakia's Olympic team.


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Posted On Tuesday, 01.07.2014 / 4:16 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Canada had tough choices with a few Bruins players

ANAHEIM -- Milan Lucic and Brad Marchand were invited to Canada's Olympic orientation camp in the summer but the Boston Bruins forwards were not among those who made the final cut when the team was announced Tuesday.

Boston general manager Peter Chiarelli helped consult executive director Steve Yzerman, and Bruins coach Claude Julien is an assistant coach on the team and had input on the selections.

Speaking generally, Julien said, "All I can say is that there were some real tough decisions that had to be made. We all know there are some good players that are left off the roster right now. But at the same time we feel pretty confident with the group that we have that we're going to go out there and compete well."

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.07.2014 / 4:12 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Selection by Canada overwhelming for Coyotes' Smith

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- When Mike Smith woke up Tuesday morning, there were already two Canadian Olympians in his house.

It took less than 10 minutes for that number to increase.

With his wife and 2010 Canadian Olympic skier Brigitte (Acton) Smith and mother-in-law, 1972 Olympian Diane Pratte looking on, Smith took a phone call from Team Canada Associate Director of Player Personnel Doug Armstrong. When the tears on his face converged with the ear-to-ear smile, everyone knew he had been selected to join Carey Price and Roberto Luongo as the goaltenders for Canada for the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

"I was trying to hold back the tears," said Smith, whose eyes told all that he failed in that attempt. "Brigette's family was there today. Her mother skied in the Olympics and Brigette skied in the Olympics. The grandparents were there and were saying in their cute little French voices, 'Now there are three Olympians in the house.'

"The whole thing is pretty surreal to me."


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Posted On Tuesday, 01.07.2014 / 3:36 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Jagr: Nedved could be Czech Republic's best player

NEWARK, N.J. -- Jaromir Jagr won't be the oldest player skating for the Czech Republic when his country opens the 2014 Sochi Olympics next month against Sweden.

That distinction will belong to 42-year-old Petr Nedved, who won a silver medal at the 1994 Lillehammer Games playing for Canada. This year's Olympic Games will mark the first time the former Pittsburgh Penguins teammates' will join forces for the Czechs and play for their country at the highest level of international hockey.

Jagr, 41, and Nedved skated two seasons together in Pittsburgh (1995-97). Jagr is currently in his 20th NHL season and first with the New Jersey Devils. Nedved, who spent 15 seasons in the NHL, serves as captain for the provincial team White Tigers Liberec in the Czech league. He has 13 goals and 33 points in 35 games this season.

"I'm happy for Petr; good for him," Jagr said. "On a big ice surface, he can be a big factor. He might be the best player on our team. The main reason the coaching staff chose him was because he played at the [2012] World Championship for Czech and he was better than a lot of the players at that tournament."


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Posted On Tuesday, 01.07.2014 / 3:20 PM

By Patrick Williams -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Lightning's Stamkos keeps sights set on Olympics

WINNIPEG -- Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos faces one final obstacle in his bid to represent Canada at the Sochi Olympics in February.

The 23-year-old center broke his right tibia after crashing into the net in a road game against the Boston Bruins on Nov. 11, and the injury has cost him 25 games. Despite the injury, Hockey Canada named Stamkos to their Olympic team for the first time. Stamkos has scored 14 goals in his 17 games with the Lightning this season and would be a first-time Olympian.

"You're on the team right now," Stamkos said after participating in the Lightning's optional morning skate before their game against the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday. "That really doesn't mean anything if I can't get back and play. This is a dream come true to be named to the team, but I still have a hard work ahead of me in order to make sure I can play."


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Posted On Tuesday, 01.07.2014 / 2:54 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Koivu foregoes fifth Olympics to focus on Ducks

ANAHEIM -- The decision became clearer for Saku Koivu in the days and weeks after he came back from a concussion. He missed nearly a month, and even though he rebounded strong, Koivu felt he couldn't be at his best for the 2014 Sochi Olympics and declined what would have been his fifth Olympics.

"It's one of the toughest decisions that I've had to make throughout my career," Koivu said. "Sometimes you might be injured at the time and you're just frustrated that it happens, but this one you have a choice. I thought through it many, many times over the past couple of weeks, and I felt that with the concussion and missing five weeks of playing, I felt the training at that time was fairly limited.

"Being at 39, all of these things together, I felt that, physically, I won't be where I want to be when the tournament comes in … it was a dream for me to be there, but the older you get, you have to stay honest with yourself and I felt for me, it's a better option of not going and getting a proper practice time, training time, a bit of a rest and also where we're at as a team here, hopefully we have a chance to go and do something in the [Stanley Cup] Playoffs. Like I said, it wasn't easy at all. I hope I made the right choice."


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Posted On Tuesday, 01.07.2014 / 2:04 PM

By Joe Yerdon -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Hurricanes' Eric Staal, Semin don't make Olympic cut

BUFFALO -- The announcement of the Olympic rosters proved to be an unkind one for a pair of Carolina Hurricanes players. Team captain Eric Staal was not named to Canada's roster and forward Alexander Semin did not make the cut for Russia.

Staal was a member of Canada's 2010 gold-medal winning team at the Vancouver Olympics, but was hampered this season by a knee injury he suffered at the 2013 IIHF World Championship after a knee-on-knee collision with Vancouver Canucks defenseman Alexander Edler of Sweden. He's currently injured with a separate lower-body injury.

"It [stinks] with that tough injury and for Eric not having the summer he wanted, probably, to get his body right," said Jordan Staal, Eric's brother. "Obviously he was ready for the season, but it's unfortunate that is the way it is."

In the Vancouver Olympics, Staal had one goal and five assists in seven games for Canada.

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.07.2014 / 1:30 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Flyers' Giroux disappointed in Canada's decision

NEWARK, N.J. -- Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux received the news he wouldn't be headed to the 2014 Sochi Olympics for Canada while preparing for his team's morning skate at Prudential Center on Tuesday.

It wasn't easy.

"[Canada general manager] Steve Yzerman called me [Tuesday] morning; it was a quick talk," Giroux said. "It's obviously disappointing. It was one of my dreams to play for Canada but there's a lot of good players from Canada and the names announced are talented, good players. It's disappointing, but it happens."

Giroux acknowledged the best medicine was the fact he'll lead his club in a Metropolitan Division game with the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday.

"Some believe everything happens for a reason, and if I didn't make this team, there's a reason behind it," he said. "But I'm not upset or mad. It's a tough day, but it's a good thing I have a game so I can just put this behind me and keep moving forward."


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Posted On Tuesday, 01.07.2014 / 12:26 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Ovechkin, Malkin, Datsyuk top Russia roster

Russia will be able match high-end skill with anyone at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, but questions will continue to linger about the team's depth after the host country's 25-man roster was announced Tuesday.

Evgeni Malkin, Alex Ovechkin, Pavel Datsyuk and Ilya Kovalchuk lead a roster that will be trying to win despite the pressure of being on home ice. The Russians also will be trying to make up for a disappointing performance four years ago in Vancouver when they were blitzed by Canada in the quarterfinals.

Those four superstars will be expected to provide a lot of offense, along with former Nashville Predators forward Alexander Radulov. Andrei Markov of the Montreal Canadiens and Fedor Tyutin of the Columbus Blue Jackets are the two veteran NHL players on the defense corps. Semyon Varlamov (Colorado Avalanche) and Sergei Bobrovsky (Columbus Blue Jackets) are among the three goaltenders, while 2010 starter Evgeni Nabokov (New York Islanders) and backup Ilya Bryzgalov (Edmonton Oilers) did not make the team this time around.


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Posted On Tuesday, 01.07.2014 / 10:48 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Alfredsson return leads NHL-heavy roster for Sweden

Sweden announced its roster for the 2014 Sochi Olympics on Tuesday, naming a team heavy on NHL players, including veteran Detroit Red Wings forward Daniel Alfredsson, who gets a last shot at Olympic glory.

Sweden will have 12 players back from the team that lost in the quarterfinals four years ago in Vancouver.

Among that group is Alfredsson, who will be playing in his fifth Olympic Games. He had three goals in four games in 2010 in Vancouver. The 41-year-old forward has 11 goals and 30 points in 37 games this season with the Red Wings.

He'll be joined in Sochi by five Red Wings teammates, including four who were on the team in Vancouver: Goaltender Jonas Gustavsson, defenseman Niklas Kronwall and forwards Johan Franzen and Henrik Zetterberg. Also named to the team was defenseman Jonathan Ericsson.

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.07.2014 / 9:50 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Sabres coach Nolan, rookie Girgensons lead Latvia

Buffalo Sabres rookie Zemgus Girgensons is the only current NHL player on Latvia's 25-man roster for the 2014 Sochi Olympics, which was announced Tuesday, but there are others with recent NHL experience.

Girgensons will be coached in Sochi by Sabres interim coach Ted Nolan. This will be Latvia's fourth straight Olympic tournament and fifth in the country's history. The Latvians never have finished higher than ninth.

Eight of the players on the roster are teammates with Dinamo Riga, a Latvian-based team currently fourth in the Western Conference of the Kontinental Hockey League. Among them is former NHL defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh, who played for Latvia in the 2002 and 2006 Olympics but not four years ago in Vancouver.

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.07.2014 / 9:26 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Chara, Hossa, Halak highlight Slovakia Olympic roster

Slovakia again will not be short on star power at the 2014 Sochi Olympics as the country's 25-man roster announced Tuesday includes Zdeno Chara, Marian Hossa and Jaroslav Halak.

The Slovaks were the surprise team four years ago in Vancouver, qualifying for the semifinals and pushing Canada in that round before losing to Finland in the bronze-medal game. Chara, the Boston Bruins captain, will anchor a defense corps that includes NHL veterans Andrej Sekera (Carolina Hurricanes), Andrej Meszaros (Philadelphia Flyers), Lubomir Visnovsky (New York Islanders) and Edmonton Oilers rookie Martin Marincin.

Hossa, a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Chicago Blackhawks, has 12 goals and 25 points in 15 games at the Olympics (three tournaments). He leads a group of forwards that includes Marian Gaborik (Columbus Blue Jackets) and a trio of intriguing young NHL players in Tomas Jurco and Tomas Tatar from the Detroit Red Wings and Richard Panik from the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Halak, who beat Russia in the preliminary round and Sweden in the quarterfinals four years ago, will be the No. 1 guy in net again if healthy. He has missed a couple of games recently for the St. Louis Blues because of an illness.

Here is the 25-man roster for Slovakia:

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.07.2014 / 9:08 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Zuccarello lone NHL player on Norway Olympic roster

Norway is returning 13 members of the 2010 Olympic team to the roster for the 2014 edition in Sochi, the Norwegian hockey federation announced Tuesday.

Mats Zuccarello is among the returnees and is the only NHL player on the roster.

Zuccarello, who is playing a prominent role for the New York Rangers this season, is on pace for a 60-point season, which would be the best of an NHL career that took flight because of a strong showing for the Norwegians four years ago in Vancouver.

Former NHL player Patrick Thoresen, who now plays for SKA St. Petersburg of the Kontinental Hockey League, also should be among the top offensive weapons for Norway, which finished 10th in Vancouver but provided a stern challenge for several teams.

On defense, Ole-Kristian Tollefson, who had a stint in the NHL, headlines the seven defensemen named.

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.07.2014 / 9:00 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

No Saku Koivu on Finland roster; sixth go for Selanne

A pair of teenagers and the absence of a national icon on Finland's 25-man roster for the 2014 Sochi Olympics named Tuesday have signaled the start of a transition for the country.

Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov and Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta will provide a measure of youthful enthusiasm for the Finns, but Anaheim Ducks center Saku Koivu reportedly has declined an invitation to participate in his fifth Olympics and was not on the announced roster.

Finland is the only country to medal in three of the four tournaments since the NHL began taking a break from its schedule to allow players to participate in 1998.

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.07.2014 / 8:52 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Vanek, Grabner highlight Austrian Olympic roster

Three NHL players are on the roster for Austria named Tuesday to compete in the 2014 Sochi Olympics, including New York Islanders teammates Thomas Vanek and Michael Grabner, as well as Philadelphia Flyers rookie Michael Raffl.

Vanek is the unquestioned star for the Austrians. He has 36 points this season in 41 games split between the Islanders and Buffalo Sabres. For his career he has 265 goals in 626 NHL games. He will be playing in the Olympics for the first time.

Raffl has 11 points in 29 games this season, his first with the Flyers after spending the past two seasons playing for Leksand in Sweden

Grabner, meanwhile, has five goals and 12 points in 40 games this season. He has 259 NHL games under his belt.

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Posted On Monday, 01.06.2014 / 6:35 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Ducks' Hiller talks Olympics, contract on NHL Live

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Posted On Monday, 01.06.2014 / 3:46 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Mikko Koivu surgery sobering news for Finland

While hockey fans in Finland were still celebrating a landmark victory in the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships, the country received a bit of sobering news barely more than a month away from the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Mikko Koivu, captain of the Minnesota Wild and possibly captain for Suomi in Russia next month, will miss "approximately" a month of NHL action after surgery to repair a broken ankle, the Wild announced Monday. Koivu sustained a broken ankle during a game Saturday against the Washington Capitals, though he did finish the game.

Koivu leads the Wild with 35 points (eight goals) in 44 games this season. He is projected to be Finland's top center in Sochi, and was likely going to be named captain for his country. Minnesota's final game before the Olympic break is Feb. 6, or exactly one month from this announcement.

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Posted On Monday, 01.06.2014 / 2:48 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Czech Republic's Jagr named to fifth Olympics

New Jersey Devils forward Jaromir Jagr earned a fifth trip to the Olympics, named to the official Czech Republic 25-player roster announced Monday in Prague.

Jagr made his debut for the Czech Republic in 1998, helping his country win gold in Nagano, the first tournament in which the NHL stopped play and allowed its players to compete. He also played in the 2002 tournament in Salt Lake, 2006 in Turin, winning a bronze medal, and the 2010 edition in Vancouver. Jagr, who leads the Devils in points (34) and is tied for the team lead in goals (13), will be 42 when the tournament begins in Sochi on Feb. 12.

Seventeen of the 25 players named to the Czech roster play in the NHL. Winnipeg Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec, though, is the only goalie on the roster in the NHL currently.


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Posted On Monday, 01.06.2014 / 2:18 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Kings' Kopitar only NHL player on Slovenian roster

As expected, Los Angeles Kings forward Anze Kopitar headlines the 25-man Olympic roster, which was announced Monday.

Kopitar is the only Slovenian playing in the NHL. The national team is coached by his father, Matjaz. Anze Kopitar's brother, Gasper, did not make the Olympic team.

The rest of the team is comprised of players that play throughout Europe and the majority of the roster named to the Olympics is identical to the one that helped the country qualify for the Olympics for the first time.


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Posted On Monday, 01.06.2014 / 10:53 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Eight NHL players highlight Swiss Olympic roster

Switzerland named its roster Monday afternoon for the 2014 Sochi Olympics during a press conference in Zurich. The 25-man roster features eight players from the NHL.

Anaheim Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller and Calgary Flames netminder Reto Berra headline the selections, and they are joined by defensemen Raphael Diaz (Montreal Canadiens), Roman Josi (Nashville Presdators). Mark Streit (Philadelphia Flyers) and Yannick Weber (Vancouver Canucks), as well as forwards Damien Brunner (New Jersey Devils) and Nino Niederreiter (Minnesota Wild).

The majority of the rest of the roster comes from the Swiss domestic league, including defenseman Mathias Seger, who was named the team's captain.

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Posted On Thursday, 01.02.2014 / 2:58 PM

By Sean Farrell -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Ryan to use Olympic comments as motivation

OTTAWA -- Bobby Ryan's television viewing on New Year's Day got his 2014 off to a disappointing start.

The high-scoring Ottawa Senators right wing was watching Wednesday when the United States Olympic men's hockey team was unveiled at the end of the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.

Unlike four years earlier, when a young hockey player sported a 2010 U.S. Olympic jersey with his name on the back at the end of the 2010 Winter Classic at Fenway Park in Boston, Ryan did not make the final cut for the American team that will compete at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. The team was introduced following the Toronto Maple Leafs' 3-2 shootout win against the Detroit Red Wings at Michigan Stadium.

"Ultimately they decided to go a different direction so I guess as a player you have to respect that, but at the same time I thought I played well enough to earn a spot. But I can't change it now," Ryan said Thursday after Ottawa's morning skate at Canadian Tire Centre prior to the Senators' game against the Winnipeg Jets.

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Posted On Thursday, 01.02.2014 / 2:53 PM

By Sean Farrell -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Olympic spot 'surreal' for Jets' Wheeler

Blake Wheeler had more than a safe landing in Ottawa to celebrate Wednesday.

When the Winnipeg Jets arrived at their hotel in Canada's capital, Wheeler got a text message from his wife that he had made the United States Olympic team for the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

"It's kind of surreal, to be honest," Wheeler said Thursday. "Just playing in the NHL was kind of above and beyond dreams that I had growing up. It was pretty special for myself and for my wife and my family, so it was a pretty big day."

Wheeler has 15 goals and 16 assists in 42 games.

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Posted On Sunday, 12.29.2013 / 6:51 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Islanders' Okposo in mix for U.S. Olympic roster spot

As a team, the New York Islanders have not been able to build off what they accomplished last season, when they qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2007.

But right wing Kyle Okposo continues to make strides, so much so that the Minnesota native is meriting serious consideration to be named later this week to the United States roster for the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Skating on the top line alongside Thomas Vanek and John Tavares, the 25-year-old ranks second on the Islanders with 34 points (12 goals, 22 assists) in 39 games. He had 24 points (four goals) in 48 games last season.

Okposo's 34 points have him in the top five among American skaters this season.

"It's in the back of your mind, obviously," Okposo said of making the Olympic team, which will be named immediately following the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Wednesday. "World Junior tournament is going on right now, so I've been following that a little bit. You think about the international competition a little bit, but I'm here with the Islanders, and I'm still going to keep playing well."


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Posted On Thursday, 12.12.2013 / 5:35 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Blue Jackets GM has eye on Finnish players

NEW YORK -- Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen is quietly doing extra work away from his day job scouting players who are on the bubble for Finland's Olympic team.

Kekalainen was named Finland's assistant general manager in late October. The Finns have won the silver medal (2006) and two bronze medals (1998 and 2010) since NHL players started participating in the Olympics in 1998.

"I've gone to see the players we need to see," Kekalainen told NHL.com. "We obviously don't have the deep depth chart of Canada or Team USA. We only have four defensemen that play in the NHL now. It's not like we have to scout 50 NHL players to make a decision on who is going to play. There are going to be a certain number of guys that we're pretty sure that they're going to be on the team and then there are a handful of guys that we have to make decisions on. We're concentrating on those guys, watching those guys more. I watch a lot of video, but I've seen everybody live too."

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Posted On Thursday, 12.12.2013 / 2:34 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Canadiens' Galchenyuk remains on USA Hockey radar

PHILADELPHIA -- About this time a year ago, Montreal Canadiens forward Alex Galchenyuk was preparing for a big international tournament in Russia.

Back then he was a forward with the Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League getting ready for the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship.

A lot has changed for Galchenyuk in the past year, but one thing remains the same -- he's still thinking about a big international tournament in Russia. Only this time, it's the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

"You think about it because it's coming up," Galchenyuk told NHL.com. "But you have no ideas. It's in the air."


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Posted On Thursday, 12.05.2013 / 10:12 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Giroux performs well with Olympic audience

Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux picked the right night to have a strong game.

Giroux, hoping for a spot on Canada's roster for the 2014 Sochi Olympics, had a goal and an assist, four shots on goal and won 16 of 25 faceoffs -- including eight of 11 in the defensive zone -- in the Flyers' 6-3 defeat of the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday.

Watching in person was Canada executive director Steve Yzerman, as well as Detroit coach Mike Babcock, who will reprise his role as Canada's Olympic coach.

Giroux was invited to Hockey Canada's summer evaluation camp but had to skip it while recovering from surgery to repair severed tendons in his index finger sustained in a summer golf outing. However, Yzerman told the Philadelphia Daily News on Wednesday that Giroux's absence from the summer camp wasn't being held against him.

"We would have liked him to come," Yzerman said. "But he was busy rehabbing. That's fine. That doesn't make a difference."


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Posted On Tuesday, 12.03.2013 / 3:06 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Past U.S. stars know no miracles necessary in 2014

As young hockey players, Bill Guerin and Doug Weight were drawn to hockey in part to the success of the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" United States Olympic hockey team.

Today, though, both know that no miracle would be needed for the U.S. to win the gold medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

"I think where we are now with USA Hockey, I don't think it would be a miracle anymore and I don't think it would shock the world," Guerin said Monday, prior to his induction into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame. "That's the position USA Hockey has put itself in. We go not only to compete but to win. We expect to win."


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Posted On Monday, 12.02.2013 / 10:34 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Seven NHL referees, six linesmen going to Sochi

The officiating crews for the 2014 Sochi Olympics were announced by the International Ice Hockey Federation on Monday.

The men's tournament will have a mix of officials from the National Hockey League and international levels. The international officials were selected by the IIHF officiating committee from a pool of 32 candidates for the men's tournament and 22 for the women's.

"All of these candidates are considered to be top officials in their respective club leagues," IIHF officiating manager Konstantin Komissarov said in a statement. "We made our decisions on three main criteria: physical conditioning, performance in their respective national championships, and their ability to work in a team."

The NHL is well represented with seven referees and six linesmen of the 28 total officials (14 referees and linesmen each). Among the referees are NHL veterans Dave Jackson, Mike Leggo, Brad Meier, Tim Peel, Kevin Pollock, Kelly Sutherland and Ian Walsh. Sweden's Marcus Vinnerborg, a one-time NHL referee, will appear in his second Olympic tournament.


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Posted On Wednesday, 11.27.2013 / 12:24 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Injury to Penguins' Martin could impact U.S. team

The Pittsburgh Penguins' loss of Paul Martin for the next 4-6 weeks with a fractured tibia will have a severe impact on the Penguins' blue line -- and perhaps the United States Olympic team.

Martin, injured during the Penguins' game against the Boston Bruins on Monday, has two goals and nine assists with a team-high 25:16 minutes per game. The lockdown defenseman formed the Penguins' top pairing with Brooks Orpik and had a role on the top power-play unit. In fact, both are under consideration to compete for the U.S. in the 2014 Sochi Olympics. NHL.com's U.S. roster projection has Martin paired with John Carlson of the Washington Capitals.

Martin will be out until Christmas and perhaps after New Year's Day, and that puts his potential spot in jeopardy. The U.S. team will be announced Jan. 1 as part of the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic. When it comes to the Olympics, Martin has had some tough luck. He's twice been named to Olympic teams, but didn't see any action in the 2006 Turin Games and missed the 2012 Vancouver Games due to a broken arm.

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Posted On Saturday, 11.23.2013 / 7:57 PM

By James Murphy -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Bylsma impressed with Canadiens' Galchenyuk

MONTREAL -- After a 27-point rookie season, Montreal Canadiens forward Alex Galchenyuk is showing he's the real deal again with 16 points in his first 23 games of 2013-14.

With Montreal hosting the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night at Bell Centre, Galchenyuk had a chance to get noticed in person for Olympic consideration with USA Olympic coach Dan Bylsma behind the Penguins bench.

But according to Bylsma, Galchenyuk has been on his radar for the past three years. If he had it his way, Bylsma would've been coaching Galchenyuk for the Penguins. He first met the Canadiens rising young star at the 2012 NHL Research and Development Camp in Toronto and was instantly impressed.

"I met Alex a couple summers ago at the NHL Development camp when he was a prospect and 17," Bylsma said. "Two-and-a-half days there in Toronto and I was fortunate to coach him there. We kind of had our eyes on those players when they were going into their draft year."


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Posted On Tuesday, 11.19.2013 / 6:58 PM

NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

'Miracle' captain Eruzione sees Sochi success for US

NEW YORK -- Mike Eruzione, in New York City to discuss the upcoming rivalry game at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 30 between Cornell University and his alma mater, Boston University, couldn't help but talk about the upcoming 2014 Sochi Olympics.

After all, Eruzione was the captain of the last United States team to win Olympic gold, at the 1980 Lake Placid Games. Almost 34 years later, he's impressed by the depth and variety of hockey talent that has developed in the U.S. He believes that deep talent pool could help the U.S. capture gold in Sochi.

"I wouldn't want to have to pick the team because there are so many good players," Eruzione told NHL.com. "It's been incredible growth in hockey. When I was playing, it was Minnesota, Massachusetts and Michigan. Now it's Florida, Texas, Arizona, California. Nowhere would we have thought some of these picks are coming out of the places they're coming from. The growth is good, and we're a country now that goes into these tournaments as a favorite."


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Posted On Tuesday, 11.19.2013 / 4:48 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Jones, Galchenyuk still under Olympic consideration

Nashville Predators general manager David Poile, who holds the same role for the United States for the 2014 Sochi Olympics, said he and his staff have trimmed their targeted group of defensemen to 12, and that Predators' 2013 first-round pick Seth Jones is among that group.

"He absolutely does," Poile said in an interview Tuesday with Sportsnet's Fan 590 radio when asked if Jones had a chance of making the team. "We're going to take eight defensemen and we're down to approximately 12 and [Jones] is one of them."

Jones, the fourth pick of the 2013 NHL Draft, has two goals and six assists in 20 games and leads all rookie defenseman with an average ice time of 24:04 per game. He has spent most of the season on the Predators' top pair with Shea Weber, although he recently was pushed back to second pair with Kevin Klein.

Jones also was one of 18 defensemen invited to USA Hockey's National Team Orientation Camp in August.


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Posted On Tuesday, 11.19.2013 / 9:40 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Koivu to captain Finland's Olympic team -- but which?

A Koivu will captain Finland at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Which Koivu, however, is unknown.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported Tuesday that Anaheim Ducks forward Saku Koivu or his younger brother, Minnesota Wild captain Mikko Koivu, will be named captain of the Finnish Olympic team.

"It's a question between the Koivu brothers as to who will be the captain," Finland Olympic coach Erkka Westerlund told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "I've known Mikko since he was this high [holding his left hand four feet off the ground]. … He's a strong leader on our team. He knows what he wants. He can help the teammates play better."

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