Men's Olympic hockey finally begins!
Today will see the start of the men's Olympic hockey games, however no Dallas Star players will be in action.
Stars' veteran netminder Kari Lehtonen's Team Finland will take on Austria at 3:00 am (all times eastern), on NBCSN (US only). Per MTV3 in Finland, Tuukka Rask will start in net, with Kari Lehtonen on the bench, and Antti Niemi in the stands. Finland head coach Erkka Westerlund was previously the coach of the Finnish national team from 2005-2007, and habitually played each goaltender at least once during round robin play, allowing them to compete with each other for the starting position in a potential medal game. Whether he continues this practice will remain to be seen. Lehtonen, likely still riding the mental high of being named an NHL Star of the Week for the second time in three weeks, has an excellent chance to play his way to the starting position.
Home team Russia's opening game is on Wednesday, however rookie sensation Valeri Nichushkin will not be playing. Head coach Zinetula "Bill" Bilyaletdinov announced Nichuskin to be a healthy scratch in Wednesday's game v Slovenia, at 7:30 am (all times eastern), shown live on MSNBC. It has been said that all of Russia has its eye on the gold medal, that no other medals matter, should they not capture gold in Men's Hockey - which should make for many very intense games.
Stars' head coach Lindy Ruff is helping Canada defend their gold medal as an assistant coach. Jamie Benn has been practicing on Canada's fourth line with Patrice Bergeron (BOS) and John Tavares (NYI). No word yet on which of the three will actually play centre. Canada's first game of the preliminary round is also on Wednesday, at 12 noon on USA Network.
Game times and television networks listed below for the full preliminary round. Games involving Stars italicized.
|Wed Feb 12||Czech Republic v Sweden||12 pm||USA|
|Wed Feb 12||Latvia v Switzerland||12 pm||MSNBC|
|Thu Feb 13||* Finland v Austria||3 am||NBCSN|
|Thu Feb 13||* Russia v Slovenia||7:30 am||MSNBC|
|Thu Feb 13||Slovakia v United States||7:30 am||NBCSN|
|Thu Feb 13||* Canada v Norway||12 pm||USA|
|Fri Feb 14||Czech Republic v Latvia||3 am||MSNBC|
|Fri Feb 14||Sweden v Switzerland||7:30 am||NBCSN|
|Fri Feb 14||* Canada v Austria||12 pm||USA|
|Fri Feb 14||* Norway v Finland||12 pm||MSNBC|
|Sat Feb 15||Slovakia v Slovenia||3 am||MSNBC|
|Sat Feb 15||* United States v Russia||7:30 am||NBCSN|
|Sat Feb 15||Switzerland v Czech Republic||12 pm||NBCSN|
|Sat Feb 15||Sweden v Latvia||12 pm||USA|
|Sun Feb 16||Austria v Norway||3 am||USA|
|Sun Feb 16||Russia v Slovakia||7:30 am||USA|
|Sun Feb 16||Slovenia v United States||7:30 am||USA|