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Olympic Hockey Preview and LIVE thread: Men's Qualifiers

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The top 4 have the day off as the rest of the field fight for their right TO PAAAAAAAARTAY or something like that.

Martin Rose

All times US Eastern, as always.

8. Slovenia v. 9. Austria

In the preliminaries: Slovenia fell to the Russians 5-2 before shocking the world, and Slovakia, with their first Olympic victory, 3-1. They lost to the USA 5-1. Austria features your #2 scorer in the prelims, Michael Grabner, and beat Norway 3-1, but lost to Finland 8-4 and Canada 6-0.

The winner faces the #1 seed in Sweden. Neither team faced Sweden in the round robin.

TV: 3:00 am, NBC Sports, Sportsnet

5. Russia v. 12. Norway

In the preliminaries: Russia defeated Slovenia 5-2 and Slovakia 1-0 in the shootout. They lost an instant classic to USA, 3-2 in the shootout. Norway were ungood. They won no standings points, come in with the tournament's worst goal differential (tied with Slovakia), and never really challenged to do any better than that.

The winner takes on #4 Finland. Norway was crushed by Finland 6-1 and Russia did not play them.

No word yet on whether Varlamov or Bobrovsky gets the go but Russian staff and the man himself have assured us that Ilya Kovulchuk is fine.

TV: 7:00 am, NBC Sports, CBC

7. Czech Republic v. 10. Slovakia

In the preliminaries: Slovakia only pulled in the 10th seed by taking Russia to a shootout to earn a standings point. They were brutalized by the US, 7-1, and lost 3-1 to Slovenia. The Czechs lost to both Sweden 4-2 and Switzerland 1-0, but beat Latvia 4-2.

The winner gets the honor to share the ice with American Heroes T.J. Oshie and Phil Kessel against the #2 seed USA. As mentioned above, they beat Slovakia. Czech Republic has yet to see their star-spangled spectacularity.

TV: 12:00 noon, NBC Sports (sharing time with women's bobsleigh), CBC

6. Switzerland v. 11. Latvia

In the preliminaries both teams lost to Sweden, and Switzerland defeated Latvia. All of the Swiss' games were decided by a 1-0 score, including their victory over these Latvians, spoiling a shutout with 8 seconds to go.

The winner becomes the next talking point in the Great Canadian National Crisis of Not Winning By Enough Goals. Canada are the #3 seed and did not play either team.

TV: 12:00 noon, MSNBC

Tape delay

Neither national provider is telling us who they are planning to show. You can find a replay of a game in Canada on Sportsnet at 7:00 pm, though it may be curling, or TSN at 7:30 pm. Americans will have games on NBS Sports at 3:00 and 5:00 pm.