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Olympics take center stage on 'NHL Revealed'

by Dan Rosen

With the men's hockey tournament in the 2014 Sochi Olympics set to begin in one week, the episode of "NHL Revealed: A Season Like No Other" that aired on NBCSN Wednesday night featured Olympians from seven teams.

The episode will air in Canada on Thursday at 10 p.m. ET on CBC.

Part of the storyline was that friends and teammates will soon become rivals in Sochi. It's one of the storylines that is at the heart of every international tournament.

"There will be no friends during that tournament," New York Rangers and U.S. defenseman Ryan McDonagh said early in the show.

For example, Canadian Olympians such as Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry will have to put their friendship with fellow Anaheim Ducks teammate and Finnish forward Teemu Selanne on hold when they get to Sochi.

They had to do the same thing four years ago in Vancouver.

"We've been able to put those things aside and compete against each other, and at the end of the night we shake hands," Getzlaf said.

Getzlaf then issued a warning for Selanne.

"I'm going to try to take the puck from him," he said.

"He can't," Selanne responded. "He can't catch me."

All eyes in Sochi will be on Sidney Crosby, the captain for the Pittsburgh Penguins and for Canada.

During a scene in Pittsburgh leading up to the Penguins' game on Jan. 27 against the Buffalo Sabres, Crosby talked about his golden goal from four years ago in Vancouver and how it relates to other historic goals in Canadian hockey history such as Paul Henderson's goal in the 1972 Summit Series and the famous Wayne Gretzky to Mario Lemieux goal in the 1987 Canada Cup.

"When I think of all those goals I think the Henderson one is way up there," Crosby said, "but just to be in that conversation, I feel pretty fortunate."

This will be Crosby's second trip to the Olympics.

"To be part of the Olympics for Canada, a place that is so passionate about hockey, we all dream of being part of that," Crosby said. "We all know it'll be difficult, but that's why we're going there, you want to do it again."

New York Islanders captain John Tavares will get a chance to do it for the first time in Sochi. However, last week Sochi was the furthest thing from his mind as he got to experience some outdoor hockey at Yankee Stadium.

As special as it was to play in the Bronx, the practice day last Tuesday was perhaps even better for Tavares as he got to skate with his dad, Joe, for the first time in 10 years.

Joe Tavares laced up Matt Carkner's skates and went on the ice with his son after the Islanders' practice. It was yet another one of those special moments caught on camera and brought to the home viewer on "NHL Revealed."

"I can't believe he's skating," Tavares is heard saying, definite shock evident in his voice. "He hasn't skated in 10 years."

Across the continent in rainy Vancouver was Ryan Kesler, the Canucks' center who will soon be wearing the red, white and blue of the United States at his second Olympics.

When the cameras caught up with Kesler it was the morning of Jan. 29 and he was leaving his house for a morning skate at Rogers Arena, preparing for a game that night against the Chicago Blackhawks and a roster that features 10 Olympians: Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp and Duncan Keith of Canada; Niklas Hjalmarsson, Johnny Oduya and Marcus Kruger of Sweden; Marian Hossa and Michal Handzus of Slovakia; Patrick Kane of the United States; and Michal Rozsival of the Czech Republic.

However, Kesler's son, Ryker, who the day before went to work with his dad and was able to skate with him after practice, was sick and making it difficult for dad to leave the house.

"It's hard being away from them when they're sick," Kesler said. "All they want to do is cuddle and have their mom and dad there, and most of the time their dad is not there, so that's definitely tough."

The Canucks lost 5-2 to Chicago, then headed out on a five-game, 10-day road trip. But Kesler won't be coming home when it's over. He'll be going to Sochi instead.

He knows his wife, Andrea, has her hands full at home because of his life as a hockey player.

"She's basically a single parent," Kesler said. "I leave [Jan. 30] to go on the road for 10 days and I leave right from the road to go to the Olympics for another two, 2 1/2 weeks. There are 3 1/2 weeks of her being by herself. She really is the glue that keeps the family together."

Down the Pacific Coast in Los Angeles, Anze Kopitar is preparing for his first Olympics. Kopitar, the Kings center, will be Slovenia's only NHL player in Sochi. His dad, Matjaz, will be the Slovenian coach.

"The suspense is building up leading up to the Olympics, it's going to be a special feeling for sure," Kopitar said. "I played for my dad a couple of times before. It's going to be pretty special for me and for him."

Soon the suspense will be over and the hockey will begin in Sochi. The "NHL Revealed" cameras will be there too.

The show returns on Feb. 27, four days after the gold-medal game, with back-to-back episodes beginning at 10 p.m. ET on NBCSN and 8 p.m. ET on CBC.


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