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2014 Olympics

Karlsson, Ekman-Larsson shine in Olympic debuts

Wednesday, 02.12.2014 / 4:34 PM / 2014 Olympics

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

SOCHI -- A nation watched Wednesday as Sweden embarked on its first Olympic tournament including NHL players without likely Hall of Fame defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom on the team.

What they saw was the future of their country's elite talent on the blue line making its Olympic debut.

Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators and the Phoenix Coyotes' Oliver Ekman-Larsson make up Sweden's top pair on defense, but it is their offensive abilities that make them such a dangerous combination.

They proved it Wednesday, with Karlsson scoring twice and Ekman-Larsson getting two assists to help lead Sweden to a 4-2 win against the Czech Republic in the opening game of the 2014 Sochi Olympics for both teams.

Latvia sees potential defining moment slip away

Wednesday, 02.12.2014 / 4:03 PM / 2014 Olympics

Shawn P. Roarke - NHL.com Senior Managing Editor

SOCHI -- For 59 minutes and 52 seconds, Latvia fought Switzerland evenly in its Group C preliminary round opener Wednesday at Shayba Arena.

Then disaster struck.

Latvia forward Lauris Darzins was injured behind the Swiss net, slow to get up after a hit into the boards appeared to hurt his right arm. Then another forward on the half wall made a high-risk play to keep possession and was not rewarded for his initiative as Switzerland gained possession and moved up the ice.

Still, with 10 seconds left it appeared Latvia would weather one final storm and force the 2013 IIHF World Championship silver medalist into overtime. Only it wasn't meant to be. Simon Moser found the puck on his stick behind the Latvian net, tried to pass it to Nino Niederreiter in the slot but instead watched as it rolled up the stick of goalie Edgars Masalskis, bounced off the body of Latvian defenseman Georgijs Pujacs and trickled into the net with 7.9 seconds remaining.

Just like that the Swiss escaped, taking a 1-0 victory in the game's last gasp.

U.S. bringing more offense to Sochi than many believe

Wednesday, 02.12.2014 / 12:26 PM / 2014 Olympics

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

SOCHI -- Go back and read about the potential United States team for the 2014 Sochi Olympics when rosters were being projected in the summer.

There was a lot written about the incredible depth the Americans possess in goal, but there also were a lot of reservations about the team's ability to stack up with the other superpowers up front. The general line of thinking was the United States possessed a lot of skilled players but few truly dynamic goal scorers.

Flash forward to Thursday, when the Americans face Slovakia in their opening game of the Olympic tournament at Shayba Arena (7:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN). Several forwards on the U.S. roster are having breakout offensive campaigns in the 2013-14 NHL season.

Concerns about whether or not the United States had enough offensive talent to compete with Canada, Russia and Sweden may have been oversold.

Canada women still control rivalry with U.S.

Wednesday, 02.12.2014 / 11:44 AM / 2014 Olympics

Shawn P. Roarke - NHL.com Senior Managing Editor

SOCHI -- Canada entered the third period of its final preliminary round game of the women's hockey tournament at the 2014 Sochi Olympics facing a ton of questions about itself.

After a dominating showing in the period it was the Canadians' opponent, the United States, doing the soul searching. Canada scored three goals in the final 20 minutes for a come-from-behind 3-2 victory Wednesday at Shayba Arena in the latest edition of this white-hot rivalry.

Before Wednesday Canada had lost four consecutive pre-Olympic games to the Americans, who seemed to be taking charge of a rivalry which has been dominated by Canada. Hayley Wickenheiser had been unceremoniously replaced as captain of the team in the months leading up to this competition. The original coach, Dan Church, resigned in the days leading up to Sochi, replaced at the last minute by Kevin Dineen, the former Florida Panthers coach taking his first stab at the women's game.

U.S., Canada men's teams support women's teams

Wednesday, 02.12.2014 / 11:00 AM / 2014 Olympics


On Wednesday, their final day of rest before playing their first games at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, members of the United States and Canada men's Olympic teams showed support for their female counterparts.

Forwards James van Riemsdyk and T.J. Oshie were among those cheering on the American women, while Canadian forward Matt Duchene was there for the Canadian women, and had one of the better seats in the Shayba Arena -- next to the father of star Canadian forward Meghan Acosta.

Canada beat the United States 3-2.

Canada women score three in third to beat U.S.

Wednesday, 02.12.2014 / 10:37 AM / 2014 Olympics


Meghan Agosta had two goals and an assist in the third period to rally Canada to a 3-2 victory against the United States in preliminary-round action of the 2014 Sochi Olympics women's hockey tournament Wednesday at Shayba Arena.

Hayley Wickenheiser had a goal and an assist for Canada and goaltender Charline Labonte stopped 25 shots.

Anne Schleper had a goal and an assist and Hillary Knight had a goal for the U.S. Jessie Vetter made 28 saves.

The victory gives Canada a 3-0 record in Group A; the United States is 2-1. Each team advanced to the semifinals of the medal round in opposite brackets, set to begin next week.

Price to start Olympic opener for Canada

Wednesday, 02.12.2014 / 9:45 AM / 2014 Olympics

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

SOCHI -- Carey Price can add Olympic starting goalie to his resume.

The Montreal Canadiens goaltender will start for Canada when it opens the 2014 Sochi Olympics on Thursday against Norway and Vancouver Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo will start the second game against Austria on Friday.

Canadian coach Mike Babcock had already stated that Price and Luongo would each start one of Canada's first two games, but he informed the goalies Wednesday morning in what order that would happen.

"I'm just excited," Price said. "It's been a lingering thought, but this whole season I've been preparing one game at a time. That doesn't change once I get here. I've been preparing these last two days for this game [Thursday] and I'll just continue to do the same."

Quick to start for United States in Olympic opener

Wednesday, 02.12.2014 / 6:38 AM / 2014 Olympics

Shawn P. Roarke - NHL.com Senior Managing Editor

Jonathan Quick
Goalie - LAK
RECORD: 16-13-2
GAA: 2.18 | SVP: 0.911
SOCHI --Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings has been named as the starter for the United States for the first game of the 2014 Sochi Olympics, coach Dan Bylsma announced Wednesday.

The Americans play Slovakia on Thursday at Shayba Arena (7:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC).

Perhaps the most important decision Bylsma will make during his time in Russia was delivered in the most casual of ways before the third and final practice for the team, which took place at the Bolshoy Ice Dome.

"It was pretty casual," Quick said. "We were on the ice stretching and he just came over and said it.

"We have three great goalies on this team and everyone wants to start. I'm just fortunate for the opportunity and want to make the best of it."

Russia all business preparing to play Slovenia

Wednesday, 02.12.2014 / 4:50 AM / 2014 Olympics

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

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."

Non-Olympians balance rest, conditioning

Wednesday, 02.12.2014 / 3:18 AM / 2014 Olympics

While 140 or so NHL players skate for their countries at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, the rest are enjoying a chance to rest, relax and gear up for the sprint to the end of the regular season and the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"It comes at a perfect time of the season. It's been a busy schedule," Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Matt Niskanen told the team website. "It feels like last season with the frequency of the games. It takes a toll. It comes at a perfect time of the year when you're starting to bog down a little bit. Recharge mentally and physically and preparing for that big push in the spring."

The break in the schedule began Sunday, and teams can't begin practicing again until Feb. 19. Play resumes on Feb. 25 when the Carolina Hurricanes visit the Buffalo Sabres in a game that had to be rescheduled from last month due to a snowstorm. Eight teams resume the following night, but most don't return to action until Feb. 27, meaning that teams can hold as many as seven practices before resuming play.

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