• MORE OLYMPIC COVERAGE
The Olympic semifinals get under way today with four Rangers players eyeing a berth in Sunday's gold-medal game.
|Rangers forwards Ryan Callahan, Marian Gaborik and Olli Jokinen will be representing three different nations at today's Olympic hockey semifinals. |
At 3 p.m. ET this afternoon, Blueshirts captain Chris Drury and alternate captain Ryan Callahan
will skate for Team USA in a semifinal game against a Finnish team that includes Rangers forward Olli Jokinen.
In the second game, at 7:30 p.m. ET, Rangers scoring leader Marian Gaborik
and the underdog Slovak team that upset Sweden in Wednesday night's quarterfinals will take on gold-medal favorite Canada.
Should Slovakia beat the host team, it would be arguably the biggest such medal-round stunner since NHL stars began competing in the Olympics at Nagano in 1998.
Teams that lose today will return to the ice on Saturday night for the bronze medal game, while the winners will square off for gold at 3:15 p.m. ET on Sunday.
None of the four Rangers still in the hunt for an Olympic championship have ever won gold before, but two have reached the gold-medal game. In 2002, Drury was part of the U.S. team that fell to Canada 5-2. In 2006, Jokinen and the Finns lost 3-2 to a Swedish squad
featuring Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist
Today's games will be the fifth of the tournament for Callahan, Drury and Jokinen. Gaborik, whose Slovak team had to beat Norway to qualify for the quarterfinals, will be competing in his sixth game and will finish the Olympics having played in the maximum seven. Among the four Blueshirts forwards playing in Vancouver, Gaborik is the top scorer with three goals and four points.
Team USA is looking for its first Olympic gold medal since 1980, and Canada is going for its first since the 2002 Games in Salt Lake. Slovakia, which competed at the Olympics as an independent country for the first time in 1992, and Finland, which has been participating in Olympic hockey since 1952, have never won the gold medal.