The ice hockey tournament of the 2014 Winter Olympics comes to an end today, as Canada (Rick Nash) takes on Sweden (Henrik Lundqvist, Carl Hagelin) in the gold medal game at 7am. Yesterday, Team USA (Ryan McDonagh, Ryan Callahan, Derek Stepan) failed to show up against Finland, getting shut out 5-0 in the bronze medal game. With the loss, Team USA will not medal, closing out a disappointing Olympics.
Use this as your open thread for the Sweden/Canada game. Discuss whatever you want, just keep it civil.
Even though they lost to Canada in unimpressive fashion yesterday, Team USA can still win a medal today by beating the Finns and capturing the bronze. The Finns boast ex-Rangers Olli Jokinen, Lauri Kospikoski, and Jarkko Immonen, in addition to the a few stars (Tuukka Rask, Teemu Selanne, Kimmo Timmonen). The Finns don’t have much offensive punch, but they are probably the best defensive team in the Olympics this year. That stifling defense helped them beat Russia in the quarterfinals, and put up a good fight against Sweden in the semis.
Use this as your open thread for the game. Talk about anything you want, but keep it civil.
Better luck this year?
This afternoon, at 12pm Eastern time, the United States will take on their bitter rivals to the north* for the chance at Olympic Gold on Sunday. After losing to the Canadians in the Gold Medal game in Vancouver (for the record, one of the best international hockey games ever played), I can only imagine the Americans are chomping at the bit for another chance at the Red, White and Black.
Since the Americans didn’t bother to show up to Nagano, Japan, where the NHL marked its Olympic debut, this modern rivalry really got started in Salt Lake City in 2002. Prior to his tragic passing, Herb Brooks lead an improbable US squad to what should have been a Gold medal (because destiny), but came up Silver to the Canadians.
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The six remaining Rangers all advanced to the semi-finals of the ice hockey tournament of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Mats Zuccarello (Norway) is the only Ranger that is no longer competing in Olympics, with Norway losing to Russia yesterday.
Sweden (Carl Hagelin, Henrik Lundqvist) shut out Slovenia 5-0 this morning. Hank stopped 19 shots while Hagelin contributed a pair of goals in the win.
Team USA (Ryan Callahan, Ryan McDonagh, Derek Stepan) eliminated the Czech Republic this afternoon by a score of 5-2. McDonagh notched an assist in the contest, while Callahan was held off the scoreboard in a primarily defensive role. Stepan did not play.
Canada (Rick Nash) needed all 60 minutes to barely squeak by Latvia, winning by a score of 2-1. Nash collected an assist in the contest.
Sweden will face Finland on Friday at 7am. Canada and Team USA will drop the puck at noon.
Yesterday afternoon, the Czech Republic defeated one-time country-mates Slovakia by a score of 5-3 in the qualification round. That win set up today’s game in the quarterfinals against Team USA for a spot to face Canada (probably) in the semi-finals. The Czechs actually came into pool play as the third ranked team in the world. The US was ranked #7 by the IIHF. Entering the quarterfinals, Team USA is ranked third and the Czechs seventh. My how times have changed.
Use this to discuss the game. Team USA is the better team, but the Czechs are still a solid squad. If Latvia can beat the Swiss, then anything can happen.
Mats Zuccarello sat out this morning’s game against Russia, in which Norway lost 4-0 and thus was eliminated from Olympic competition. Zuccarello sat out with a hand injury that was reportedly from either a blocked shot or a slash.
In three games, Zuccarello averaged roughly 20 minutes per game. He finished without registering a point, 10 SOG, 2 PIMs, and a -2 rating.
Last week in my NHL fan guide to Olympic hockey, I briefly spoke about how systems on international ice can be a bit different than what we are used to seeing in North American rinks. After watching much of group play, we’re starting to get a sense of how teams are tactically approaching their opponents with the extra 15 feet of ice.
If there’s one common denominator in many of these games, it is that there’s still not a hell of a lot of room out there, especially in the neutral zone. I expected a lot of trapping from the Latvia’s and Slovenia’s, as overmatched teams generally employ such systems. However, even top teams like Canada, Sweden, and Finland are using these same conservative structures.
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First, my apologies for this morning. I definitely wrote an open thread post for the morning’s game against Slovenia. I definitely scheduled it to post. But it is not in the database at all. Probably just a glitch, but my bad on that. I just noticed this now because it’s been a bit of a busy weekend.
Anyway, the US dominated Slovenia this morning, taking the game 5-1 and clinching first place in Group A. Ryan Callahan notched an assist and 14:57 TOI, Ryan McDonagh scored a goal in 19:38 TOI, and Derek Stepan –dressing in his first Olympics game– was held scoreless in 4:59 TOI.
With the win, Team USA is guaranteed at least the #3 seed in the medal round and a bye to the Quarterfinals on Wednesday. If they finish with the third seed, they will play the winner of the Switzerland/Latvia game. If the Canada/Finland game goes to overtime, they will claim the #2 seed and the winner of the Czech Republic/Slovakia game.
T.J. Oshie of the St. Louis Blues was the hero for Team USA this morning, scoring four times in six shootout chances (James van Riemsdyk and Joe Pavelski missed their chances) to propel the USA to a 3-2 shootout win over Russia. The win gives the US a big edge over Russia, and would clinch first place in Group A with a win over Slovenia tomorrow morning at 7:30am. Rangers Ryan Callahan (13:51 TOI) and Ryan McDonagh (23:39 TOI) were held off the scoreboard, but played huge defensive roles in a very strong effort.
At noon, Sweden clinched first place in Group C with a 5-3 win over Latvia. Carl Hagelin played just 3:46 in the contest. Henrik Lundqvist made 20 saves.
This morning at 7:30, Team USA (with Rangers Ryan Callahan, Ryan McDonagh, and Derek Stepan) will take on Russia in a game that will likely determine the Group A winner. Since the winner of each pool is guaranteed a spot in the quaterfinals (along with the best record among the second place teams), this is clearly the most important game for both teams. Use this thread to talk about the game, the Olympics, or anything else you want to discuss at 7:30 on a Saturday morning.