Today marked the second win of round robin play for Canada and the second loss of round robin play for Norway. Canada disposed of Austria by a score of 6-0, and Norway was dropped by Finland 5-1. Both Mats Zuccarello of Norway (20:51 TOI, 4 SOG, -1) and Rick Nash of Canada (10:26 TOI, 3 SOG, +1) were held off the score sheet.
Canada’s next game is a showdown with Finland on Sunday to determine Group B’s winner. Norway takes on Austria on Sunday as well, but Norway will not make the medal round.
Through this evening, no Rangers have tallied a point in any Olympic contest.
Henrik Lundqvist backstopped Sweden to a 1-0 win over Switzerland this morning, stopping all 26 shots he faced. Hank has now stopped 53 of 55 shots faced thus far. Carl Hagelin was held off the scoreboard, but did register four shots on goal in 9:40 of ice time.
Sweden is now 2-0 with one game against Latvia coming up on Sunday. It is safe to say that they will make the medal round, winning their pool.
This year’s Olympic competition sports a pool of goaltenders amongst the strongest we have seen since the NHL began participating in the games. The United States and Finland are especially deep, each with three goaltenders that could easily start for most nations. Although the tournament has already gotten underway, and we have seen some solid (Lundqvist, Hiller) performances and some sketchy (Rask, Halak) ones, let’s take a look at what each county’s best stopper has to offer. I realize there are going to be some changes made between the pipes as the tournament goes along and most teams have several starting caliber tendys, but I’m going to break down the ones who should be starting based on ability level and previous performance.
United States- Jonathan Quick
Why not start with the Red, White and Blue? Despite this being a Rangers’ blog, I have committed a significant amount of digital ink to the King’s world class netminder. Ryan Miller was dynamite in 2010 and deserves some ice in Sochi, but this is Quick’s team. The Americans will only go as far as he can carry them, and judging from some of his playoff performances, that could include the podium to accept the gold medal. His athleticism in this tournament is rivaled only by (ironically enough) the two Russian netminders. However, his technical skills, vision and positioning are lightyears ahead of the hosts. Read more »
Both Rick Nash (Canada) and Mats Zuccarello (Norway) were held off the scoreboard this afternoon, as Canada beat Norway by a score of 3-1. Zuccarello had the most ice time (23:57) of all Norwegian forwards and registered one shot on goal. Nash played for 12:32 and had a pair of shots on net.
The Rangers have four players involved in games tomorrow. Sweden (Carl Hagelin, Henrik Lundqvist) takes on Switzerland at 7:30am EST on NBCSN. Canada is up against Austria at 12pm EST on USA. Norway takes on Finland on MSNBC, also at 12pm EST.
Team USA dominated the Slovaks this morning, riding a six goal second period en route to a 7-1 win. Ryan McDonagh (18:38 TOI) and Ryan Callahan (15:43 TOI) were held off the score sheet, and Derek Stepan did not dress for the game.
Scoring for the US team came from Paul Stastny (2), Phil Kessel, Ryan Kesler, David Backes, Phil Kessel, and John Carlson. Jonathan Quick made 22 saves. The USA faces off against Russia, who beat Slovenia this morning, on Saturday morning. The winner will likely win the group and get the guaranteed spot in the medal round.
Two Rangers are off to a good start in Sochi, as Henrik Lundqvist stopped 27 shots and Carl Hagelin had two shots on goal in Sweden’s 4-2 win over the Czech Republic. Hagelin played 12:25 in the game in a primarily defensive role. Sweden’s next game is Friday against Switzerland.
The other five Rangers participating in this year’s Olympics play tomorrow. Team USA (Ryan McDonagh, Ryan Callahan, Derek Stepan) play at 7:30am against Slovakia on NBCSN, while Mats Zuccarello and Norway take on Rick Nash and Canada at noon on USA.
The 2014 Winter Olympics Men’s Ice Hockey competition begins today, with Sweden taking on the Czech Republic at 12pm EST on USA. The Rangers have Henrik Lundqvist and Carl Hagelin playing for Sweden. Ex-Rangers Jaromir Jagr Michal Rozsival, and Pter Nedved (!!) are playing for the Czechs. Use this to discuss the game if you are watching. Should be a good one.
Per SI’s Sarah Kwak, Team USA’s lines are the following:
James van Riemsdyk-Joe Pavelski-Phil Kessel
Zach Parise-David Backes-TJ Oshie
Dustin Brown-Ryan Kesler-Patrick Kane
Ryan Callahan-Paul Stastny-Max Pacioretty
That is a very deep two-way roster, but doesn’t have the offensive punch of the Canadians. No, seriously, Matt Duchene and Martin St. Louis are the 13th and 14th forwards for Canada. That’s absurd.
Derek Stepan is currently slated as the 13th forward, who will add offense if one of the top four centers get injured.
Ryan McDonagh-John Carlson
Cam Fowler-Ryan Suter
Kevin Shattenkirk-Paul Martin
The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi are underway and soon hockey fans from around the globe will be treated to the best ice hockey tournament not named the Stanley Cup playoffs. For the 5th straight Winter games, NHL players will officially be allowed to participate. And as a result, expectations for gold are highest around Canada, Sweden, the US, and of course the host country - Mother Russia.
Tracking the quest for gold is always the main reason for following the Olympics. However, this year in particular there are quite a few other narratives that are equally compelling and definitely worth waking up early to watch.
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With no more NHL games scheduled for two and a half weeks, all of the focus will be in Sochi as our former teammates will become the opponent, playing for a handful of countries over two weeks for prestigious Olympic gold. Over the past week, there have been some injuries and replacements made which have had some implications for team relationships here in North America.
Dave and the boys did a great job here keeping the focus mainly on the Cally non-trade, as the New York metro area is most directly affected by Callahan’s agent and Glen Sather (and his cigars, I suppose). The two most important injuries to track were recent – Max Pacioretty – and a long time ago – Steven Stamkos. Seeing the correlation between the NHL and the Olympic selection is pretty eye opening in each case.
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