|02.15.14 at 2:43 pm ET|
Loui Eriksson and Sweden finished group play undefeated after beating Latvia, 5-3, on Saturday. Eriksson did not record a point, but he did rank third among Swedish forwards with 18:20 time on ice. The Swedes had already clinched a bye into the quarterfinals before Saturday, and they’re now locked into one of the top two seeds, as the winner of Sunday’s Canada-Finland game is the only other team that could match their nine points (the United States got two points rather than three for its shootout win over Russia on Saturday, so its ceiling is eight points).
In other Group C action, David Krejci and the Czech Republic got shut out, 1-0, by Switzerland. Krejci was a minus-1 and was third among Czech forwards with 19:23 time on ice. He made a nice play to set up Marek Zidlicky for a potential game-tying goal in the final minute, but Zidlicky sent the shot wide. The Czechs finished third in the group with one win and two losses.
In the first game of the day, Zdeno Chara and Slovakia suffered a major upset at the hands of Slovenia, which picked up its first-ever Olympic victory. Chara assisted on Slovakia’s lone goal in the 3-1 defeat and finished with a minus-1 rating while playing 24:06. The Slovaks will try to avoid going winless in group play when they face Russia at 7:30 a.m. ET on Sunday. Even if they lose, they’ll have at least one more game, as all 12 teams in Sochi advance to the qualification round.
Patrice Bergeron and Canada close out group play against Finland on Sunday at noon ET, with the winner taking Group B and earning a bye to the quarterfinals. Finland has not yet announced who it will start in goal. Tuukka Rask picked up the win in the Finns’ first game, but he also allowed four goals on 20 shots. Kari Lehtonen started the second game and stopped 20 of the 21 shots he faced.
|02.14.14 at 9:26 pm ET|
Tuukka Rask sat out Finland’s 6-1 win over Norway Friday as Kari Lehtonen got the start and Antti Niemi served as the backup. Lehtonen put forth a pretty strong case to remain Finland’s starter a day after Rask allowed four goals to Austria, as Lehtonen made 20 saves on 21 shots and even had a pair of assists.
That isn’t to say a Bruin didn’t play goal in that game, as Bruins 2011 sixth-round pick Lars Volden played in relief of Lars Haugen for Norway. Volden made 23 saves on 26 shots faced. With the victory, Finland is now 2-0 and leading Group B thanks to a plus-9 goal differential.
Sitting just behind Finland is Canada, which shut out Austria with a 6-0 victory Friday. Patrice Bergeron, who had two points in Canada’s opening game against Norway, went without a point against Austria.
The Czech Republic evened its record to 1-1 with a 4-2 win over Latvia. David Krejci contributed an assist in the win, while former Bruin Jaromir Jagr contributed his second goal of the tournament.
Loui Eriksson and Sweden enjoyed a 1-0 win over Switzerland and now lead Group C with a 2-0 record.
|02.14.14 at 12:41 pm ET|
NBC Sports hockey analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Friday to discuss the refereeing in the Olympics and the U.S. men’s and women’s hockey teams. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
During the U.S. men’s hockey team’s game on Thursday, referees missed on offsides call that led to a goal by Slovakia. Officials also missed calls during the women’s game against Canada.
“I think it will start to get better,” McGuire said. ‘I’m not that concerned. … I think the biggest thing is the caliber of play. The caliber of play in this tournament, to date anyways, both on the women’s side and the men’s side, it has been phenomenal. It’s just been awesome and I do think the officiating will sort itself out.”
The play on the women’s side may be part of the reason why the teams have had trouble with officiating.
“I mean this with all due respect to all the officials in the world, men or women — I really think when Canada and the United States women play, it’s so fast, it’s so frenetic, it’s so physical,” McGuire said. “There are not a lot of women in the world that are prepared to referee at that level, because I’m telling you the referee that worked the other day, she was more in the play than away from the play, and it became pretty hazardous.”
|02.13.14 at 2:59 pm ET|
Team Canada struggled to get on the board against a far inferior Norway team Thursday, but Patrice Bergeron helped lead his country to victory with a pair of assists in a 3-1 Canada win in its first game of the 2014 Olympics.
Bergeron had the secondary helper on a Shea Weber goal 6:20 into the second period to break the scoreless tie, and he fed Jamie Benn with a beauty of a pass to help make it 2-0. He finished with two shots on goal and a plus-2 rating.
Two other Bruins were in action Thursday, and they had mixed results. Tuukka Rask allowed two goals in the first 10 minutes of Finland’s game against Austria, but hung in there to make 16 saves on 20 shots in an 8-4 Finland victory.
It wasn’t as positive for Zdeno Chara, whose Slovakia team suffered a 7-1 loss to Team USA. Amazingly enough, Chara had an even rating in the game.
David Krejci and the Czech Republic will take on Latvia Friday after suffering a 4-2 loss to Sweden Wednesday. Loui Eriksson and Sweden will play Switzerland, while Canada will face Austria and Norway will take on Finland.
|02.13.14 at 12:35 pm ET|
Let’s take a trip to the land of hypotheticals for this poll question. Assume players can be duplicated, so the Bruins and Finland would both have Tuukka Rask, for example.
|02.12.14 at 3:56 pm ET|
Wednesday marked the start of men’s hockey in the Sochi Olympics, and Loui Eriksson kicked things off by celebrating a win over Bruins teammate David Krejci as Sweden jumped out to a 4-0 lead and held on to beat the Czech Republic, 4-2, Wednesday in the preliminary round.
Eriksson didn’t have a point and finished with a minus-1 rating, though he provided a screen on a second period goal by Erik Karlsson. The Senators blueliner had a pair of goals for Sweden.
Krejci went without a point or a shot on goal with an even rating, though former Bruin Jaromir Jagr had a goal for the Czech Republic.
In the other men’s game Wednesday, Switzerland topped Latvia, 1-0, thanks to a goal from Simon Moser with 7.9 seconds remaining in regulation. Former Bruins forward Kaspars Daugavins tied for the Latvia team lead with four shots on goal.
Thursday will be a bit more action-packed for local fans, as Tuukka Rask will be between the pipes for Finland vs. Austria, according to the Bruins. Team USA will take on Zdeno Chara and Slovakia, while Claude Julien and Patrice Bergeron‘s Canada squad will face Norway.
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|02.12.14 at 1:41 pm ET|
NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley made his weekly appearance with Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to talk about the Winter Olympics in Sochi and Bruins news. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
Brickley said he likes what the NHL has done by involving its best players in the Olympics, bringing greater recognition around the world, but he said it might be time to try a different approach.
“I was in favor of the NHL players going to the Olympics when they were trying to globalize their game and sell their game and let everybody know what a great sport this can be, especially when you have the best players in the world representing their countries and what it means to them to play for their countries,” he said. “You get great hockey and it’s high competition and the love for the game and the love for the homeland is all on that giant stage, and that’s awesome.
“But I would rather see that in the World Cup. They’ve been to the Olympics, I think that they’ve done what they set out to do when they first went to the Olympics. I’m not excited about some of the stories I’ve heard coming from Russia and the situation that Sochi is. …
“That being said, when you do get the kind of competition that is expected in this Olympics and you have the greatest players playing, there’s nothing better. I love the Stanley cup finals, but this is about your country, and it’s once every four years.”
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