Kukla's Korner Hockey
Puck will drop on Thursday at 12:00pm ET on NBC and CBC.
from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,
One of the keys to the USA's unbeaten record heading into Wednesday's quarterfinal game against the Czech Republic has been its devilish playing style. The players are playing like the fire down below.
RUSSIA: Radulov leads victory against Norway
Centers David Backes and Ryan Kesler have been monstrous forces. U.S. coach Dan Bylsma wanted this team to be hard to play against, and Backes and Kesler have stormed around the ice like human tornadoes.
On one shift against Russia, Backes rubbed out Evgeni Malkin and Ovechkin with clean legal hits.
Bear wrestling seems easier than facing Kesler in this tournament. He has hit, bumped or growled at every opponent he has faced in the USA's first three games.
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
from Mike Imrem of the Chicago Daily-Herald,
The league always is looking for a way to make January and February relevant, a series of outdoor games being the latest concoction.
Here’s the solution: Bah-bah, Olympics, bye-bye.
Then set aside six weeks in the dead of winter and make the break more useful by annually or every couple of years playing an Olympic-style tournament in cities around North America.
The first week would be to gather players for practice. The final week would give them an opportunity to unwind.
The middle four weeks would feature a compelling international tournament at home.
Players who want to represent their native lands — though not enough to enlist in the military, by the way — still would be able to wave their flags.
Fans in places like Chicago who are addicted to attending hockey games would get rivalries like U.S.-Canada instead of Blackhawks-Blues.
NHL owners would lose revenue from maybe a dozen fewer regular-season games but get it back in more lucrative TV contracts and bloated ticket prices for the tournament.
Carey Price once again gets the start in net for Canada after stopping 14 of 15 shots against the Finns. His .943 save percentage is seventh among goalies that have made more than one start at the Olympics.
Latvian netminder Edgars Masalskis has posted a .946 mark through three starts and has made more saves than any other Olympic goalie.
Coach Mike Babcock once again rearranged his forward lines at practice on Tuesday hoping to ignite his forwards ahead of the playoff round. Pittsburgh Penguins teammates Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz have once again been reunited with Patrice Bergeron on the right side. Meanwhile, Dallas Stars forward Jamie Benn has been placed alongside Anaheim Ducks duo Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry to form a menacing power forward trio.
Martin St. Louis will dress for today's game after being a healthy scratch against Finland. He replaces Matt Duchene in the lineup and has been held off the score-sheet thus far in the tournament.
"The reality is we dress 13 forwards each game," Babcock said. "One guy hardly gets on the ice. It's a hard, hard situation for people that play 22 minutes. That's the way it is. You've got to find a way to help out when you get a chance."
P.K. Subban is also the odd men out. Dan Hamhuis will be the seventh defenceman, leaving Subban out of the lineup for the third time in four games. He played 11:41 minutes in Canada's 6-0 rout of Austria.
The puck drops at 7:30am ET and can be viewed on NBCSN in the US and CBC in Canads.
The winner of this game will move on to the semifinals to meet Sweden on Friday.
Enjoy the game and feel free to comment on it if you wish.
The game is on NBCSN in the US and TSN in Canada.
The winner moves on to the semifinals on Friday against the winner of Finland/Russia which is later today (7:30am ET).
Feel free to discuss the game or any Olympic hockey topic.
Slovenia 4, Austria 0
Russia 4, Norway 0
Czech Republic 5, Slovakia 3
Latvia 3, Switzerland 1
SLOVENIA SHUTS OUT AUSTRIA TO MOVE ON TO THE QUARTERS
Anze Kopitar (Los Angeles Kings) opened the scoring with a first period power play goal and that proved to be the game winner as Slovenia shutout Austria 4-0. Slovenia, playing in their first-ever men’s Olympic hockey tournament, earned a berth in the quarter-finals.
BOBROVSKY BACKSTOPS RUSSIA PAST NORWAY
Sergei Bobrovsky (Columbus Blue Jackets) made 22 saves to lead Russia to a 4-0 win over Norway. This marked the second straight shutout for the home country. Pavel Datsyuk (Detroit Red Wings) assisted on the first three Russian goals. Russia is trying to medal in men’s hockey for the first time since 2002.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
There won't be any miracles in Buffalo this season, but Ted Nolan sure has pulled one off here in Sochi, coaching Latvia into its first Olympic quarterfinal after a 3-1 upset of Switzerland on Tuesday night.
And it's clear that Nolan's impact on his players is as much heartfelt as it is X's and O's.
"He's been a huge part of us," former Bruins and Senators winger Kaspars Daugavins said of Nolan. "We never had a coach that actually believes in the players. It's always been like army-style where everybody just has to work hard and you never get a tap on your shoulders, saying 'Good job, buddy.' He brings a different spirit on the team. He actually makes us believe that we're actually a good team. I've been to a lot of world championships and an Olympics before and we never had a feeling that we can actually win something. We just went out there and played."
Now Latvia needs another upset. A mother of one: Team Canada in the quarterfinals Wednesday night.
from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,
While their neighbors to the north are focused on figuring out line combinations and how and where they should attack heading into the quarterfinals, the United States simply is focused on playing faster than it has been in the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
Speed kills, even on the big ice, but U.S. coach Dan Bylsma doesn't think his team has been killing it with enough speed in the tournament despite winning all three preliminary-round games and scoring 14 goals in regulation.
"I would say there are opportunities that we have missed that we can play quickly, play north, push the pace up the ice," Bylsma said. "That's something we did well at times; I just think we can be better at realizing that."
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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