SOCHI -- After two days as the friendly hosts and main attraction at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, the Russia men's ice hockey team has turned its focus to why they're actually here and the enormous task they have in front of them.
Russia opens the tournament Thursday against Slovenia (7:30 a.m. ET, MSNBC, CBC), starting what they hope and expect to be an 11-day journey to the top of the medal stand.
The time for advertisements and all-inclusive, unifying press conferences in front of hundreds of media members, some acting as fans, is over.
"I think we have to put everything behind us and just focus on the little details of the game, just play your game you know," Montreal Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov said. "If we're going to play like a team everything is going to be OK."