Olympic Report: 2/21
Big day for Olympic hockey, as the preliminary round raps up with three games featuring the six teams that have won every gold medal, except for 1936, when Britain won.
- Russia vs. Czech Republic – 3:00 pm EST on NBC, TSN, V
- Canada vs. USA – 7:45 pm EST on MSNBC, CTV, V
- Sweden vs. Finland – 11:55 pm EST on MSNBC, CTV
Switzerland defeated Norway 5-4
- Switzerland Goals: J. Sprunger, R. Wick, R. Sannitz, S. Blindenbacher (PPG), R. Lemm
- Norway Goals: T. Vikingstad 3, M. Hansen (PPG)
Slovakia defeats Latvia 6-0
- Slovakia Goals: L. Visnovsky (PPG), R. Zednik, J. Stumpel, Marian Hossa (PPG), M. Handzus, I. Baranka
- Latvia Goals: N/A
Belarus defeats Germany 5-3
- Belarus Goals: A. Ugarov, A. Kaliuzhny, S. Kostitsyn, R. Salei (PP), A. Kaliuzhny
- Germany Goals: T. Seidenberg (PP), J. Tripp, M. Goc
- Dejan Kovacevic: At The Olympics. Kovacevic does a liveblog for each game, then seeks out Penguins and ex-Penguins for post-game interviews. I highly recommend following his first-hand blog.
Make no mistake about it, centers Sidney Crosby and Mike Richards don’t like each other, but as the rivals take the ice this evening, they’ll be on the same line, working together.
“It’s easier to play with him than against him,” Richards said to NHL.com.
Richards will shift to left wing and Crosby will remain at center. Their third linemate, Rick Nash, will shift from his natural left wing position to right wing.
The move comes after Canada narrowly defeated Switzerland Thursday in a shootout, and Richards understands a similar performance against today against Team USA will be unacceptable.
Which is exactly why he plans to put the Pittsburgh-Philadelphis rivalry behind him — for now.
“I’m not worried about that, I’m worried about the present now,” Richards said. “We’re both competitive people and we play hard against each other when we play each other, but we’re all pulling in the right direction now for Team Canada.”
For Russia, a similar scenario is playing out.
Center Evgeni Malkin has been promoted to left winger Alex Ovechkin’s line, aligning the team’s two most dynamic players — who happen to be rivals.
For the most part, Ovechkin avoided the topic in an interview with NHL.com, but he did have the following to say in response to a direct question regarding his new center:
“I think for me right now and for this team it doesn’t matter who is going to play with who. The most important thing is the result at the end of the game and right now we give everything for the results. Everybody wants to be on top.”
Team USA Gives Canada Bulletin Board Material
“I hate them,” Team USA forward Ryan Kesler said of the Canadian hockey team.
“Do we dislike them? Absolutely,” added Jack Johnson.
Strong words for a team that has won just twice in 15 Olympic matchups against Canada — the last win coming in 1960.
For their part, Canada’s stars weren’t talking.
“What are you getting at,” Canadian defenceman Chris Pronger said, when asked about Johnson’s statement. “Stirring the pot again? Next question. I’m not into the `he said, she said’ thing.”