The men's hockey tournament got underway today, and with it comes a feature that we'll be running throughout the tournament here at On the Forecheck. We'll be concisely recapping each men's game and providing Preds-related Olympic news. Tip o' the virtual hat to Aditya in the comments for directing me to some better statistical sources.
The young Americans put together a decent performance against Jonas Hiller and the Swiss, but will need an extra gear in order to compete with Russia and Canada. Near the end of the first, Anaheim Duck beat Anaheim Duck as Bobby Ryan went top shelf on Hiller. In the second, David Backes scored on a beautiful coast-to-coast goal that left Yannick Weber looking like a road cone. Finally, Ryan Suter provided the point shot on the power play that led to Ryan Malone's goal, and recorded the primary assist. Suter had the second highest TOI for the USA with 19:03, and had one shot on goal. Next up for the US is Norway.
In a game that took a while to get going (no goals in the first frame), the gold-medal favorites eventually waxed the poor Norwegians. Canada received goals from Dany Heatley (2), Jarome Iginla (2), Ryan Getzlaf, Mike Richards, Corey Perry, and Rick Nash. Shea Weber picked up a secondary assist on Mike Richards' goal, which was essentially shorthanded. You really couldn't tell he was in the play, though, as Richards scored on a rush off of a Patrice Bergeron rebound. Weber had the Canadians' second highest ice time, as well, with 19:40, to go along with 4 shots on goal. Canada's next game is against Switzerland on Thursday.
The Russians got off to a good start as well, getting 2 goals from Alex Ovechkin and Denis Zaripov, and one from Evgeni Malkin, Ilya Kovalchuk, Alexei Morozov, and yes, Alexander Radulov. Evgeni Nabokov let in two, so it will be interesting to see if Ilya Bryzgalov gets the call on Thursday. Sergei Federov had 2 assists in just 11:05 TOI. Truly shocking, though, was that Russia was 1 for 8 on the power play. I was anticipating a monumental special teams showing against Latvia considering the personnel that they can ice. Russia plays Slovakia on Thursday.
- The Swedish lines were released today, and Patric Hornqvist will be on a line with Henrik Zetterberg and Peter Forsberg. Quite an honor for our young Swede.
- Sweden opens play tomorrow night (6:30 CST, CNBC) against Marcel Goc, Alexander Sulzer, and Team Germany.
Martin Erat and the Czech Republic play Slovakia at 10:55 CST on CNBC.