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2014 NHL Draft
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Slovakia's Laco no longer an unknown

Sunday, 02.16.2014 / 1:09 PM / 2014 Olympics

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

SOCHI -- Slovakia captain Zdeno Chara seemed a little bewildered by the question.

Jan Laco had just authored possibly the greatest performance of his life Sunday, stopping all 36 shots he faced in regulation and overtime to force a shootout in a 1-0 loss to Russia. Chara was asked about his goaltender, and the idea that the 32-year-old basically is an unknown hockey player in North America.

"He's the same goalie we had a couple years ago in Finland when we finished second [at the 2012 IIHF World Championship], so I think a lot of people know about him," Chara said. "Maybe he's not familiar from the NHL, but I think especially in Slovakia people know him."


Injury-plagued Sweden sees room for improvement

Sunday, 02.16.2014 / 5:52 AM / 2014 Olympics

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

SOCHI -- Mention Sweden around Bolshoy Ice Dome or Shayba Arena and a second or two later you'll hear the word "injuries." What you won't hear is the word "undefeated," but maybe that belongs in the conversation too.

"You can't complain when you're 3-0," Sweden goalie Henrik Lundqvist said of his team's preliminary-round performance at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

It's a well-deserved and well-earned break for a team that sees itself as a gold-medal contender in spite of a back injury that knocked captain Henrik Zetterberg out of the Olympics after one game, a rib injury that kept center Henrik Sedin at home in Vancouver, and a concussion that prevented forward Johan Franzen from joining his countrymen in Sochi.

The Swedes are off until the quarterfinals Wednesday. Their opponent is still yet to be determined.


Much to be settled on last day of preliminary round

Sunday, 02.16.2014 / 5:42 AM / 2014 Olympics

Shawn P. Roarke - NHL.com Senior Managing Editor

SOCHI – The preliminary round of the 2014 Sochi Olympic hockey tournament is in its final day. Much, however, remains at stake.

The seeding for the qualification playoffs and the order of the four byes into the quarterfinal round will be decided by the results of the four games Sunday, when the schedules for Group A and Group B are completed.

In the early game, Austria beat Norway 3-1 in the battle for third place in Group B. In the afternoon games, Russia plays Slovakia and the United States plays Slovenia to close out Group A. The Americans, the Russians and even the Slovenians can finish atop the group.

In the final preliminary-round game, Canada and Finland play to determine the Group B winner and, perhaps, the No. 1 seed.


Sunday Long Read: Broten's legacy exceeds profile

Sunday, 02.16.2014 / 3:00 AM / Sunday Long Read

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

For Neal Broten, mornings in River Falls, Wis., typically start around 7 a.m. Located about 40 miles from Minneapolis, Broten owns 75 acres in the small town where he and his wife, Sally, used to tend to the needs of 44 horses. The couple began selling those horses a decade ago, so Broten now spends much of his time removing snow during the winter and working the grounds during the summer.

Since ending his hockey career in 1997, Broten has had nearly no affiliation with the game that made him a household name throughout the hockey community in the United States.

He did skate last month with his brothers, fellow former NHL players Aaron Broten and Paul Broten, in an alumni game that was part of the 2014 Hockey City Classic, where the University of Minnesota hosted Ohio State University at TCF Bank Stadium. That was Neal's first time skating in two years.


Datsyuk nearly lifts Russia with vintage performance

Saturday, 02.15.2014 / 1:53 PM / 2014 Olympics

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

SOCHI -- When Russia captain Pavel Datsyuk finished playing his first game of the 2014 Sochi Olympics against Slovenia on Thursday, he was asked how he felt.

The question was pertinent because Datsyuk had missed 14 games with the Detroit Red Wings because of a leg injury, and only returned in time to play the final two games before the NHL's break for the Olympics.

"I'm feeling good," Datsyuk said after the 5-2 win against Slovenia.

The problem was, he wasn't looking good.

He didn't look like Pavel Datsyuk.

Saturday, however, was a different story.

Datsyuk was flying all over the ice in a Group A matchup with the United States, the marquee game of the Olympic tournament's preliminary round, and scored both goals in regulation time before Russia lost in a shootout 3-2.


Sochi Olympics produce an early instant classic

Saturday, 02.15.2014 / 1:44 PM / 2014 Olympics

Shawn P. Roarke - NHL.com Senior Managing Editor

SOCHI -- Greatness can't be bequeathed. It must be taken.

On Saturday afternoon at the Bolshoy Ice Dome, Russia and the United States played in a great hockey game, an instant classic, at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

The Americans emerged victorious, 3-2 in the shootout, but it took some high drama, sublime displays of skill, a bit of controversy, eight rounds of the shootout and a career-defining performance from American forward T.J. Oshie of the St. Louis Blues before greatness was finally earned and rightfully granted.

Nobody who played in the game will ever forget it; none will be the same after it.

"It was awesome," said American forward Joe Pavelski of the San Jose Sharks. "Whatever type of game you want to explain it as, it was that."

It matters not that the Americans won nothing with the victory other than an extra point in the Group A standings and a bit of pride. The U.S. team could still lose the group with a stinker against a scrappy Slovenia team Sunday (7:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN), and the hurdles in the knockout stage are almost too difficult to navigate.


Disallowed goal saves U.S., rankles Russia

Saturday, 02.15.2014 / 1:30 PM / 2014 Olympics

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

SOCHI -- The disallowed goal heard around the world brought controversy into a game that already featured plenty of drama, intensity and emotion.

Russia thought it had taken a one-goal lead with 4:40 to play in the third period Saturday against the United States because Fedor Tyutin's deflected shot from the point sailed past American goalie Jonathan Quick and into the top right corner of the net. Referee Brad Meier immediately pointed at the net signifying that it was a goal.

However, the officials quickly got together to discuss the play. They went to video review for a closer look and, with the help of the television replays, determined the goal would not be allowed because the net was slightly dislodged on the right side.

The United States went on to win the game 3-2 in an eight-round shootout that featured four goals from T.J. Oshie.


Twitter reacts to Oshie's shootout heroics vs. Russia

Saturday, 02.15.2014 / 1:21 PM / 2014 Olympics


St. Louis Blues forward T.J. Oshie is the man of the moment for the United States men's hockey team.

He's also become a star in the Twitterverse after putting on a shootout clinic to lift the U.S. to a 3-2 win against Russia on Saturday in Group A play at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Oshie's performance, in which he took six shootout attempts and scored on four of them (IIHF rules permit teams to repeat the same player over and over after the third round), wowed everyone from U.S. teammates to fellow players on the Blues and opponents around the NHL.

Here's a sample of some of the reaction:


Blues' Oshie a one-man show in U.S. shootout win

Saturday, 02.15.2014 / 12:56 PM / 2014 Olympics

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

SOCHI -- Hockey so often embodies the essence of team sports, but the international game can provide the chance for an individual to take center stage.

T.J. Oshie is a very good hockey player, one of the best on a St. Louis Blues team among the elite in the NHL, but he faced a very personal challenge with hockey fans from around the world watching Saturday and has a larger profile in the sport than he did the day before because of it.

Oshie scored four times on six shots in a shootout for the United States to help his country defeat host Russia 3-2 at Bolshoy Ice Dome.

"It was amazing," Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane said. "The two that he did miss he had the goalie beat on both of them. It was pretty amazing to watch. He's obviously very special in that area."


Analysis: Lineup decisions big storyline for Canada

Saturday, 02.15.2014 / 8:44 AM / 2014 Olympics

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

SOCHI -- Canada’s game Sunday against Finland to close out Group B play (noon ET, USA, CBC) is really of little importance, in the grand scheme of the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Both teams will live to play again, and really the only thing on the line is which one will get a guaranteed bye into the quarterfinals. But the loser Sunday could still wind up in the quarters by being the best second-place finisher in the tournament, so even the bye is not that big of a prize.

No, the game is important for one main reason for Canada: It will provide a glimpse into what coach Mike Babcock and his staff are thinking as the team moves into the knockout phase of the tournament.

Babcock refused to announce Saturday who his starting goaltender will be against Finland and which two players will be scratched among the skaters. While he insisted the decisions made in both cases are not guaranteed to last past the game Sunday, it is fair to assume they will, especially if Canada wins handily.

So these decisions matter and people across Canada will likely spend every minute between now and the game Sunday debating the merits of every decision Babcock has on his plate.

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Quote of the Day

Obviously a lot happened in a short period of time. At the end of the day, considering everything I went through, I really felt close to my teammates and I really feel like what we accomplished, I know we didn't win it all. ... I'm really proud of how we got there and what we did once we got there.

— Rangers forward Martin St. Louis to Jim Cerny of BlueshirtsUnited.com