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The Colorado Avalanche: News from around the NHL - February 13th, 2014

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Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Semyon Varlamov will start the game today.

Russia had quite the debate over who to start in goal for their opening game of the Olympics and they’ve made their choice.

Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov will get the call to start against Slovenia on Thursday (7:30 a.m. ET on MSNBC). Varlamov gets the nod over Columbus Blue Jackets goalie and 2013 Vezina Trophy winner Sergei  Bobrovsky who will back him up.

Matt Duchene, however will be eating nachos today - but he'll play in the next game.

P.K. Subban and Matt Duchene are Team Canada’s scratches for its Olympic opener today against Norway.

Coach Mike Babcock said Subban and Duchene will both play against Austria in Canada’s second game on Friday.

Team Canada ran the same lines during a noon skate at Bolshoy Ice Dome’s training rink nine hours before the puck drops for its portion of this tournament. Marty St. Louis rotated in as the 13th forward, while Dan Hamhuis took his spot on penalty-killing units as the seventh defenceman.

USA built for speed and toughness.

Canada has an unequaled group of centers. Sweden, though depleted up front by injuries, has fine goaltending. Finland boasts an unshakable team ethic that clicks in whenever its players reunite. And Russia, blessed with enormous skill, bears the equally large burden of living up to a glorious history that may never be duplicated.

What Team USA will bring to the Olympic hockey tournament when it faces Slovakia at Shayba Arena on Thursday is more difficult to summarize.

Outstanding goaltending? No question, with the Kings' Jonathan Quick designated to start the opener, an exclamation point on his return from a groin strain that sidelined him from Nov. 12 until Jan. 4. Explosive scoring? The prospect of watching Patrick Kane and Phil Kessel zip around the wider international rink is tantalizing. Solid defense? Ryan Suter has few equals under fire.