This afternoon, the final four teams in the 2010 Olympic mens hockey tournament put it all on the line for a spot in the Gold Medal Game on Sunday, and two Nashville Predators will play key roles for their teams:
Team USA vs. Finland (2:00 p.m. Central, NBC)
Ryan Suter has been an absolute rock for the American defense, and in this tournament has stepped out from his more heralded defense partner's shadow. The Finns are getting superb goaltending from Miikka Kiprusoff, and boast a determined, experienced lineup. This battle comes just two days after the 30th anniversary of the US men's team beating Finland (featuring future NHL star Jari Kurri) for the gold medal at the 1980 games in Lake Placid, the followup to the "Miracle On Ice".
Slovakia vs. Canada (8:30 p.m. Central, CNBC)
Has the Canadian juggernaut been awakened, or did they peak in their emotionally-charged rout of the Russians? One thing's for sure, the Slovakians are a dangerous bunch, having knocked off the defending Olympic champions, Sweden, on Wednesday.
After the jump, we've got your morning news; the Canadian women won hockey gold (and partied like rock stars afterwards), an interesting new wrinkle has been introduced into the Dan Hamhuis situation, and we've got regime change here in the NHL section of SB Nation...
Preds On The Glass: Olympic Final Four and TGIF Notes
Buddy points you to a contest where you can win a Team Canada jersey. Well, as long as you live in Canada, that is. And not Quebec...
Steve Sullivan on board with automatic icing - Nashville Predators Examiner
Jim Diamond talks about one Olympic rule that many would like to see brought over to the NHL.
Semi-Final Friday - Paul McCann
Besides breaking down today's Olympic action, Paul is organizing a Predators Fan Road Trip to St. Louis coming up in 3 weeks. Check it out!
The Olympic Performances of Weber and Suter Bring Up Some Tough Questions About Nashville | The Hockey Writers
Jas wants to Shea rip through a few nets here on home ice in Nashville, too, rather than just on the Olympic stage.
2009-2010 Top 50 NHL Prospects - Western College Hockey Blog
Two Nashville Predators prospects fare well on this list of top college players.
After healing their wounds, Preds get back on the ice - Nashville City Paper
Might the Olympic break, and the time afforded to players to heal up from injury, make for better hockey down the stretch?
Predators defenseman Dan Hamhuis hears the trade rumors - The Tennessean
An interesting notion is tossed into the Dan Hamhuis discussion; that perhaps the profits from a playoff run might provide the funds that would allow the Predators to re-sign Hamhuis to a new contract.
Around the NHL
A bit of an announcement - Broad Street Hockey
Congratulations go out to Travis Hughes, the new Imperial Overlord of NHL blogs here at SB Nation, as Brandon Worley (of Defending Big D) has been hired by NBC Sports to manage a new hockey blog for them, ProHockeyTalk.com. I wonder if Brandon has to start wearing pants now...
Canada's Szabados shuts out U.S. for women's gold; men next? - Puck Daddy- NHL Blog - Yahoo! Sports
Congratulations go out to Canada's women's hockey team for winning the gold medal over Team USA, 2-0.
Canadian Women Capture Gold, Drink and Smoke On Ice | NHL Digest
And what did those fair damsels do upon winning gold? Break out the stogies and beer! I love hockey...
Olympic Thoughts - Western College Hockey Blog
A series of observations, the first of which holds an ill portent for this afternoon...
U.S. teammates weren't friends when Olympics started - USATODAY.com
The way he's been playing, Ryan Kesler's made a lot of friends lately!
james mirtle: 2010 Olympics: Players in the hunt for medals
James has a breakdown by NHL team of who's left in the Olympic tournament. Anaheim has 7 guys remaining!
Trade Deadline Cheat Sheet: Central Division - View From My Seats
Matt Reitz sees the Preds as sellers at the deadline.
Five Hole Fanatics: On Corsi
Kent provides a thorough explanation of the "Corsi" stat, which you'll see in the game summaries here on most nights.