Olympic Hockey Preview and LIVE Thread: Feb 16

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The men's preliminaries already come to a close!?

WARNING: This is the LIVE thread for today's games. If you're waiting to watch, reading the comments is strongly discouraged because spoilers.

First, here's your standings, as promised.

Group A

Team W OTW OTL L GD Points
USA 1 1 0 0 +7 5
Russia 1 0 1 0 +2 4
Slovenia 1 0 0 1 -1 3
Slovakia 0 0 0 2 -8 0

Group B

Team W OTW OTL L GD Points
Finland 2 0 0 0 +9 6
Canada 2 0 0 0 +8 6
Norway 0 0 0 2 -7 0
Austria 0 0 0 2 -10 0

Group C

Team W OTW OTL L GD Points
Sweden 3 0 0 0 +5 9
Switzerland
2 0 0 1 +1 6
Czech Republic
1 0 0 2 -1 3
Latvia 0 0 0 3 -5 0

Byes:

1. Sweden
2. Finland
3. USA
4. Canada

5. Switzerland v. 12. Austria
6. Russia v. 11. Slovakia
7. Slovenia v. 10. Latvia
8. Czech Republic v. 9. Norway

Now. Team Russia will not finish 6th, they just haven't played as many games as the Swiss. Today Groups A and B finish up their preliminary schedule. That's the US and Canada both going at it again today. For all the possible scenarios you can think of, and some you couldn't, have a look to the NHL's primer for the day. (The best thing that can happen is victories for both the US and Canada, because then you probably see 1. Canada 2. Sweden 3. USA 4. Russia, which means the US and Canada could meet for a gold medal rerun.)

All times are listed in US Eastern.

REPLAY: USA v. Russia, men's prelims - Group A

This is yesterday's absolute corker that you should totally watch. It's being rebroadcasted today at 4:30pm on NBC Sports. I have no explanation for this; it's just what they decided to do. Take advantage. Just make sure to brush up on your IIHF rules regarding net dislodgement if you haven't seen the game yet, uh, because why not? It might be different from the NHL's and you want to be prepared in case there is a quiz.

Austria (0-0-0-2) v. Norway (0-0-0-2), men's prelims - Group B

LIVE: 3:00 am, TSN 2, USA Network
no tape delay

Battle of the Group B Bads to start the day. Boy is this ever an opening act. The winner of this one likely will be your 9 seed, the loser, 11th-12th depending on goal differentials.

United States (1-1-0-0) v. Slovenia (1-0-0-1), men's prelims - Group A

LIVE: 7:30 am, NBC Sports, TSN
TAPE DELAY: 3:00 pm, NBC Sports

Slovenia surprised Slovakia yesterday with a big win that nobody in North America watched because it happened in the middle of the night. I was up because reasons, and what I saw was a team effort from a bunch of excellent, quick skaters, slowly frustrating and eventually dismantling a Slovakian side that has fallen into disarray. That matches up with America's quickness for some fun action to watch but it's hard to predict the upset unless you're counting on some serious post-thriller hangover on the part of Team USA.

Meanwhile the Americans beat Russia yesterday in a game that I really want to find a sarcastic joke about but I just can't. It was too great to watch. Haven't seen any news either way, but with this being a back to back you have to think Ryan Miller gets the nod in goal. The US will have a day or two off before they play again, depending, but Miller is solid and Jonathan Quick could do with the rest.

Russia (1-0-1-0) v. Slovakia (0-0-0-2), men's prelims - Group A

LIVE: 7:30 am, USA Network, Sportsnet
no tape delay

The Slovaks have looked pretty bad in their first two outings. The Russians will be angry following last night's game, needing a victory and some goal differential as well on the off chance Canada/Finland also goes into overtime. Not so sure I want to be Jaroslav Halak in this game. It might get ugly. Or it might go the other way, you never know. Hockey's weird.

Dmitri Chesnokov is reporting that Semyon Varlamov is back in goal for the Russians, by the way.

Game of the Day: Canada (2-0-0-0) v. Finland (2-0-0-0), men's prelims - Group B

LIVE: 12:00 noon, USA Network, CBC
TAPE DELAY: 7:30pm, TSN 2

The last game of the prelims will finally decide who gets the byes into the quarter final. Winner of this game gets one. The loser probably needs to take the game into overtime to get one for themselves, and even then needs some help from Slovakia to keep Russia's goal differential down.

Both teams have used two great goaltenders, and neither have announced who will start today. Either way it should be a good battle between Robarey Priongo and Tuukri Lehtonask. We probably shouldn't expect to see Mike Smith or Antti Niemi. Canada have the wonderful problem of too many forwards and will have to answer the question of who gets scratched. Finland are wondering which forwards are still healthy as Aleksander Barkov was the latest to go down to injury.

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