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Round 2
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Stanley Cup Final
(Page 106 of 241)
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Potential U.S. top line poised to produce in Sochi

Tuesday, 02.11.2014 / 1:39 PM / 2014 Olympics

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

SOCHI -- For the second straight day, San Jose Sharks center Joe Pavelski skated between two Toronto Maple Leafs teammates, James van Riemsdyk and Phil Kessel, during United States practice at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Coach Dan Bylsma switched players on the other three lines, but that trio remained the same. Should they play together Thursday in the team's opening game against Slovakia, van Riemsdyk, Pavelski and Kessel could be the line with the most NHL goals this season of any in the tournament.

"Well, we better score then," Pavelski said when informed of his trio's scoring prowess. "We've better find ways to score. There's a lot of hard work that has been put in during the year and they're both great players."

Kessel is second in the League this season with 31 goals. Pavelski is tied for fourth with 29, and van Riemsdyk checks in tied for 13th with 24. That's 84 goals, and it is more than any other trio that has practiced together in Sochi leading up to the start of the tournament Wednesday.

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Sweden's hopes lifted with Lundqvist's resurgence

Tuesday, 02.11.2014 / 1:06 PM / 2014 Olympics

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

SOCHI -- The Swedes might have been wondering if their gold-medal expectations were too high had the opening of the men's hockey tournament at the 2014 Sochi Olympics been scheduled for early last month instead of Wednesday.

Henrik Lundqvist was scuffling in net and struggling to help the New York Rangers stay above water in the improving Metropolitan Division. He was having a poor season not only by his standards, but even by the standards typically set for an average NHL goalie, certainly one who hasn't been a Vezina Trophy winner and a repeat finalist.

He was never seriously in jeopardy of losing his job as Sweden's No. 1 goalie, but the thought of playing in the Olympics was so hard for Lundqvist to fathom at the time because of how engrossed he was in trying to solve the riddle that had become his surprisingly erratic play in a season that appeared close to going off the rails.

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Bylsma, Americans face vexing decision in goal

Tuesday, 02.11.2014 / 12:21 PM / 2014 Olympics

Shawn P. Roarke - NHL.com Senior Managing Editor

SOCHI -- United States coach Dan Bylsma knows of all the decisions he makes, none will be dissected as much as the one which determines who plays goal in the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

In fact, the decision could define his legacy as coach of the U.S. team.

That, simply, is the lot of a coach. Bylsma understands that and accepts it. But he doesn't have to love it.

Coaches make hundreds of decisions about their teams on an almost daily basis, but outsiders fixate on the goalie decisions because, in the game today, no player has a bigger impact than a goalie on the top of his profession.

The Americans may know this better than anyone.

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Pressure on, but support also intense for host Russia

Tuesday, 02.11.2014 / 11:52 AM / 2014 Olympics

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

SOCHI -- They entered the room, single file, to applause. They listened as their boss earned cheers for answering a question about the country's most surprising defeat with a response about a triumph four years later. When they left, it was another, louder round of applause, which included some of the people assembled standing up to cheer and acknowledge them.

The entire Russian hockey team held a press conference Tuesday, only this wasn't like a normal meeting with the media. A total of 463 people attended in an auditorium-style room inside the Main Press Center, many who aren't likely to cover a hockey game at the 2014 Sochi Olympics but just wanted a glimpse of this event's rock stars.

If figure skater Evgeni Plushenko is Russia's version of Michael Phelps, this collection of hockey players is the country's Dream Team.

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Daniel Sedin adjusting as he goes solo in Sochi

Tuesday, 02.11.2014 / 11:50 AM / 2014 Olympics

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

SOCHI -- Swedish left wing Daniel Sedin is getting ready to play in a major international hockey tournament without his center and best friend.

Strange? Yeah, just a bit.

The last time Daniel and Henrik Sedin did not play together in an international tournament was at the 1998 World Junior Championship. That was Henrik's lone tournament without Daniel, just as the 2014 Sochi Olympics will be Daniel's lone tournament without Henrik, who had to remove himself from the Swedish roster because of bruised ribs that had been keeping him out of the Vancouver Canucks lineup.

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Crosby's leadership manifesting itself in subtle ways

Tuesday, 02.11.2014 / 10:32 AM / 2014 Olympics

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

SOCHI -- Sidney Crosby stepped on the ice for Canada's practice at the Bolshoy Ice Dome on Tuesday and made a beeline for Mike Babcock.

The coach immediately put his arm around his captain and the two began skating around the rink together, discussing the defensive systems work Babcock had just gone over with the team on video. Babcock pointed to areas on the ice where Crosby had to be in certain situations and Crosby asked more questions. By the time they separated as Babcock prepared to start practice, about 10 minutes had passed, or about 15 laps around the ice.

It was a sign the Pittsburgh Penguins star center is 100 percent dialed in on his second Olympic tournament, but it was also a subtle hint Crosby is ready to thrive in his new role as Captain Canada.

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Selanne soaking in final Olympics with Finland

Tuesday, 02.11.2014 / 9:09 AM / 2014 Olympics

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

SOCHI -- As the perspiration poured off his face, requiring him to repeatedly wipe his brow and his nose with his sweaty blue glove, Teemu Selanne couldn't stop his eyes from wandering and his mouth from moving.

The Finnish legend is playing in his sixth and final Olympics, his emotions are running wild, and he's genuinely excited to talk about it.

"I think anything you do for the last time, it's going to be emotional because a lot of times you don't know it's your last and there's still a lot of things you wonder about such as what could happen after," Selanne said after his first practice Tuesday. "But when you know it's your last you try to take everything in. You see things differently. It's just been an unbelievable journey in my national career and ending it here, it's a perfect way."

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Five Questions: Parise on Olympic hopes

Tuesday, 02.11.2014 / 3:00 AM / Five Questions With…

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NHL.com's weekly Q&A feature called "Five Questions With ..." runs every Tuesday. We talk to key figures in the game today and ask them questions to gain insight into their lives, careers and the latest news.

The latest edition features Minnesota Wild left wing and United States captain Zach Parise:

SOCHI -- Zach Parise has been answering questions about elation and deflation for four years. It's been long enough.

Parise, the captain of the United States men's hockey team in the 2014 Sochi Olympics, got on the Olympic ice Monday night local time for the first time since Feb. 28, 2010, when he and the rest of his American teammates dejectedly skated off the ice in Vancouver with silver medals around their necks and the realization that what once was considered a far-fetched dream had come within one shot from becoming a reality.

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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."

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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.

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We're certainly happy we got the win, but we feel we have a long way to go obviously. We're going take another step in San Jose and it is going to be a tough one.

— Los Angeles Kings forward Justin Williams said after his team's Game 4 win vs. the San Jose Sharks