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Friday follies: Canada flirts with an upset, while Russia stumbles

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Now the Olympic hockey tournament is truly rolling, thanks to a big scare put into Canada by Switzerland, and a late-night upset by Slovakia over Russia. In today's action...

Belarus vs. Sweden (2:00 p.m. Central, MSNBC): Just as Canada exorcised the demon of a previous upset last night by beating Switzerland (even if it required a shootout), the Swedes still remember 2002 and the Salt Lake City Winter Games, when a 4-3 loss to Belarus made Tommy Salo the laughing stock of that tournament.

Czech Republic vs. Latvia (6:30 p.m., CNBC joins at 7:00): Russia's loss opens an opportunity for the Czechs to take the lead in a very tough Group B.

Finland vs. Germany (11:00 p.m., MSNBC): The Germans are the only team in the tournament without a goal yet, and could face a tough task against a gritty Finnish squad.

And now... on to your morning hockey news!

First off, take another look at the series of SWOT articles to chime in with what you see as the Nashville Predators' Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. I'm going to pool all of the information for what should be a comprehensive discussion on the state of the team early next week.

Secondly, I'm in the process of reviving the Facebook page for this site, so head on over and Become a Fan...

Predators News

Predators top defensive duo logging big minutes in Olympics - Nashville Predators Examiner
Is Mike Babcock playing Shea Weber a ton in order to wear him down and help lift Detroit past Nashville into the playoffs? Jim Diamond ponders that question.

Paul McCann - Friday Olympic Update
Paul's morning post includes a look ahead to what should be an AWESOME day of hockey on Sunday.

Preds On The Glass: Patric Hornqvist: From Last Pick to Olympian and Friday Round-Up
Buddy's morning roundup includes a tribute to the Horn Dog...

Around the NHL

A typical Canadian team — and that’s bad news for Canada | Truth & Rumours
Let the second-guessing of Team Canada commence!

Story behind Sid's shootout winner; Brodeur to face USA - Puck Daddy
For one night, Sidney Crosby and Martin Brodeur saved Canada's bacon.

How often do you outshoot your opponent by 23 shots...and not win? - Behind The Net
Surprising numbers from Hawerchuk that related to last night's Canada/Switzerland game.

Lack of goals doesn't concern Ovechkin -
After last night's upset loss to Slovakia, Alex Ovechkin and the Russians sound calm, but have to be concerned ahead of Sunday's match with the Czech Republic.

Seven Olympic hockey thoughts -
Might Dan Hamhuis be on his way to Boston (hat tip to Kukla's Korner)? Spector speculates that the possible return would include Michael Ryder, which sounds like a lousy option to me.

NHL Mid-Season Statistical Leaders: Volume 2 - Behind The Net
Hawerchuk's latest includes an update on what he calls Penalty Differential, a version of what I used to publish as Penalty Plus/Minus (since he publishes his data on a daily basis I haven't bothered with that this season).

Lowetide: Reasonable Expectations Review: 09-10 Goalies
Comparing pre-season projections to what Edmonton's goalies have done so far; Lowetide appears to have been as accurate as one could ever expect. In other words, he knew that if Khabibulin got hurt, the Oilers would be screwed.

Canes Country Q&A: Interview With Charlotte Checkers Owner Michael Kahn, Part 2 - Canes Country
It interesting to see how the Carolina Hurricanes are moving their AHL affiliate closer to their NHL market. Might the Predators benefit from having the Admirals somewhere closer like Louisville, Memphis, Cincinnati, or Indianapolis?

The Decline and Fall of Todd White and Slava Kozlov - Bird Watchers Anonymous
As we look around for potential acquisitions up front, it doesn't look like these two Atlanta forwards would be very attractive.

Paul Henderson admits cancer battle - The Globe and Mail
One of Canada's greatest hockey heroes faces his biggest battle yet.