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Nolan regains love for coaching with Latvia

Tuesday, 02.11.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2014 Olympics

Joe Yerdon - NHL.com Correspondent

BUFFALO -- Ted Nolan may not be a native Latvian, but without him Latvia's hockey team might not be in the 2014 Sochi Olympics. He also may not have returned to the NHL were it not for his work with the Eastern European nation.

Three years after being removed as coach of the New York Islanders, Nolan was hired as coach of the Latvian national team on Aug. 3, 2011. At the time, Latvia was on the outside looking in for the 2014 Olympics and needed to win its way into the Sochi Games. Nolan's task was to do his best to make that happen and turn the hockey program around.

"Coaching overseas wasn't something I ever planned on doing," Nolan said. "It was just a call. I got a call on a Wednesday night, I'll never forget it. 'Ted, are you interested in going to Latvia?' I said, 'Where is it?' They called me [back] on a Friday and I think on Monday morning I was on a plane going to Latvia."


Blackhawks using patience with Johns, Hinostroza

Tuesday, 02.11.2014 / 3:00 AM / In the Pipeline

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

There used to be a time, not long ago, when the Chicago Blackhawks might have placed prospects like Stephen Johns and Vincent Hinostroza on the fast track.

The college teammates are each having a strong season for Notre Dame, their first as members of the Hockey East Association, but the Blackhawks haven't assigned a specific NHL timeline to either of them.

Chicago's core group of top NHL players, who won the Stanley Cup twice in the span of four seasons, is intact, and the Blackhawks have stocked their system with promising prospects. They now have the luxury of letting future hopefuls develop longer, if needed, and they're thrilled about it.


Group C: Sweden favorites, but don't overlook Swiss

Tuesday, 02.11.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2014 Olympics

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

Three teams with medal aspirations and a potentially plucky upstart could make Group C the deepest and most intriguing of the three at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Sweden will be favored to top the group but there could be an adjustment period while the players find roles with Henrik Sedin and Johan Franzen missing because of injury. The Czech Republic also is short a few key players, including a couple of curious self-imposed omissions.

Switzerland will be everyone's upset pick after finishing second at the 2013 World Championship. Latvia finished last in group play four years ago but also gave the Czechs a scare in the qualification round and has Buffalo Sabres interim coach Ted Nolan behind the bench.

Here's a breakdown of the four teams from Group C, which has the distinction of getting the tournament underway with two games (Czech Republic vs. Sweden, Switzerland vs. Latvia) Wednesday.


Canada's depth at forward unmatched at Sochi

Tuesday, 02.11.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2014 Olympics

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

The 2014 Sochi Olympics could be the deepest collection of talent for a hockey tournament in the sport's history.

Some of this generation's top players like Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin are at the peak of their powers in the NHL. And some of the previous generation's greats like Jaromir Jagr and Teemu Selanne are getting one last chance at Olympic glory.

For years, international hockey has been led by a group of medal contenders known as the "big seven." But Switzerland continues to progress and could make it a "big eight" sooner rather than later.

So how does each of these eight medal contenders stack up against each other at each position? NHL.com breaks down the top eight sides at forward, on defense and in goal. We began Sunday with the goaltenders and continued Monday with the defense corps. Now we close out with a look at the forwards, with projected lines thrown in for good measure.


Avalanche's Johnson to have phone hearing

Monday, 02.10.2014 / 11:48 PM / Department of Player Safety News


Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson will have a phone hearing Tuesday with the NHL Department of Player Safety for a third-period slash on New York Islanders forward Frans Nielsen on Saturday night.

Nielsen was skating for a loose puck in the Avalanche's zone when Johnson slashed him on the wrists with 7:54 left in the third period. Johnson was given a two-minute penalty on the play.


Boston College wins Beanpot tournament

Monday, 02.10.2014 / 10:55 PM / News


Patrick Brown tipped in a shot from the point with less than six minutes remaining for the tiebreaking goal and added another in the final minute, lifting Boston College to its school-record fifth straight Beanpot championship with a 4-1 win against Northeastern on Monday.

Boston College (22-4-3) extended its unbeaten streak to 15 games (14-0-1) on the same day it took over the No. 1 spot in the national rankings.


Bylsma gets first chance to see U.S. lineup in action

Monday, 02.10.2014 / 3:30 PM / 2014 Olympics

Shawn P. Roarke - NHL.com Senior Managing Editor

SOCHI -- After setting up the chess board for months, Dan Bylsma, the coach of the United States Olympic team, has started putting the pieces in motion.

A late-night practice at the Bolshoy Ice Dome allowed the Pittsburgh Penguins coach to see line combinations and defensive pairings operate on the ice, something which up to that point he only could envision in his head using the empirical data at his disposal.

As the Americans took the ice at 9 p.m. local time, the last practice in a seven-hour window following the arrival this morning of North American-based players, Bylsma and the United States management staff got a first taste of what the team will look like when it opens the 2014 Sochi Olympic hockey tournament on Thursday against Slovakia (7:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN).


Carter's journey takes him to Canada's top line

Monday, 02.10.2014 / 3:30 PM / 2014 Olympics

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

SOCHI -- If practice Monday was any indication, Jeff Carter has come a long way in four years.

Carter spent Canada's first practice at Bolshoy Ice Dome skating next to Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz. That trio is expected to be the No. 1 line when the Canadians' quest to repeat as gold medalists begins Thursday at the 2014 Sochi Olympics with a preliminary-round matchup against Norway.

"It was fun. It was the first day and we don't really know what's going to happen come the first game but I think it was a good skate," Carter said. "I didn't really know. [A coach] put up the sheet before practice. We've got a few days here. It would be great to play with them, but we'll see what happens."


Canada shows first hints of Olympic lineup in Sochi

Monday, 02.10.2014 / 3:09 PM / 2014 Olympics

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

SOCHI -- After avoiding any sorts of specifics about how he plans to line up the Canadian men's hockey team at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, coach Mike Babcock finally had to show his cards Monday.

No, Babcock did not announce his No. 1 goalie. Nor did he roll out his forward lines consistently. But Canada's first practice Monday did provide some hints as to what Babcock and his coaching staff have in mind for the tournament.

Of course, Babcock wasn't willing to admit that.


Historic scoring surge leads U.S. women past Swiss

Monday, 02.10.2014 / 12:51 PM / 2014 Olympics


Kendall Coyne and Amanda Kessel had two goals and two assists each as the United States women's hockey team rolled to a 9-0 victory against Switzerland in its second preliminary-round game at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Monique Lamoureux scored two goals, both on assists from twin sister Jocelyne, and Hilary Knight, Alex Carpenter and Brianna Decker also scored for the United States. Molly Schaus stopped all 10 shots for the shutout.

"I'm very happy with our game [Monday] starting from the goaltender on out," U.S. coach Katey Stone said. "We moved the puck well, controlled the pace and had a great overall effort."

Switzerland goalie Florence Schelling stopped 44 of 53 shots.

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Quote of the Day

It's really exciting. I'm pretty sure that when I play my first game I'm going to be emotional. To be back on the ice playing a game, being in game situations, with all the routines and rituals I do before games and during the game, I feel like I'm going to be emotional. I'm going to be really happy.

— Montreal Canadiens forward Tim Bozon on playing for the first time since his life-threaning illness