After last night's qualification round, there were zero upsets and all the top-seeded teams moved on. This means that the United States will face Switzerland today and Canada will play in another momentous game tonight at 6:30 p.m. CST. It's Alex Ovechkin versus Sidney Crosby, all over again. Here is the full schedule:
QF1 - USA vs Switzerland - Feb. 24 - 3:00 p.m.
QF2 - Finland vs Czech Republic - Feb. 24 - 10:00 p.m.
QF3 - Sweden vs. Slovakia - Feb. 24/25 - 12:00 a.m.
QF4 - Russia vs. Canada - Feb. 24 - 7:30 p.m.
Here's the rest of the tournament:
QF1 vs QF2 - Feb. 26 - 3:00 p.m.
QF3 vs QF4 - Feb. 26 - 9:30 p.m.
Here's the medal games. Of course, the bronze medal game is between the losers of the two semifinals game.
Bronze Medal Game - Feb. 27 - 10:00 p.m.
Gold Medal Game - Feb. 28 - 3:15 p.m.
In other news, Loui Eriksson is heating up for Team Sweden and Karlis Skrastins is on his way home. More info after the jump.
Loui Eriksson is grabbing the spot light for team Sweden, and NHL.com has taken note:
Eriksson, Nicklas Backstrom and Daniel Alfredsson have been Sweden's best line in the tournament so far. They have combined for 6 goals and Backstrom has 4 assists.
"You don't see him a whole lot when he's out there, but then you look at the score sheet after the game, he always seems to have a goal or an assist," Albelin told NHL.com. "It's the same in Jersey when we play them in Dallas. He is very hard to find, very slippery around the net. He's got a long reach, he's slippery and he finds rebounds."
"He's really a skilled guy with a sneaky long reach and really fast," Sweden forward Henrik Zetterberg told NHL.com. "When he gets his chances he usually puts them away. That's a good player to have in this kind of tournament."
Hopefully his "slippery" nature will keep him healthy until we can get him back in Dallas.
Karlis Skrastins and his Latvian team took the Czechs to OT, but were sent home by Krejci of the Bruins. Karlis had some kind words for his squad after the game:
The immediate on-ice euphoria that the Czechs displayed when Krejci scored quickly dissipated amid the reality that they had melted down and nearly been upset by a team with all of two NHLers. A team almost entirely comprised of players from one city – 20 of Latvia's 23 players were born in Riga.
Having failed to build on an early 2-0 lead and then playing to kill the clock in the third period, the Czechs were stunned by a hard-work goal by Martins Cipulis with 7:58 left and the tying score off a backboards rebound by Mikelis Redlihs with 3:41 remaining in regulation.
"I'm really happy that we finally played the game that we were looking for, that our coach and the fans were waiting for from us," said Latvian captain Karlis Skrastins of the Dallas Stars. "We came back against one of the best teams in the world, the Czech national team, from 2-0. So I'm proud about my team."
Come back to Dallas, Karlis. Rest. We need your help.
After Canada's shame game, Razor had some words for the Germans:
After watching you in fits of capitulation for an hours’ worth of nauseating elimination "hockey" against Canada – a game that was lost 8-2 but might as well have been 80-2, I have a question: What happens to you Germans when you slip that national jersey on?
I mean - you play like frightened little frauleins right from the opening face-off.
Why? Why do you cower so?
You’re GERMANY for crying in the beerstein!
You make cars that attack the Autobahn, challenging every curve and testing the engineering from Audi, BMW, Porsche and Mercedes Benz. Yet when you grab a hockey stick you become Yugos with only two gears – neutral and reverse.
Your ancestors were the feared and mighty Saxons. In the 5th century you invaded Britania. Invaded - as in, forechecked the Brits. And you bashed them into submission.
Right now you’re making the Swiss look like the Huns.
And he's been having some fun on his blog all week long. Check it out.
One caveat: The penalty kill has been much better the last two weeks. It’s not a coincidence that the numbers are better during the same time frame that the most important penalty killer – the goalie – has played well.
But these are ratings based on the entire season. And for most of this season, the penalty kill has not been good. The Stars are 26th in the NHL in penalty-kill percentage at 77.3. That number is improved thanks to what they’ve done the last six games. The Stars have allowed two goals in their last 22 penalty-kill chances. And against Columbus, they never took a penalty.
Maybe it’s a sign that unit is getting better.
Brandon added that the Stars haven't been taking many penalties lately either, which has certainly helped in addition to Marty playing like the real Marty.
Mark Stepneski at Andrew's Stars Page turned us on to this little nugget about Brenden Morrow concerning local communities in Canada supporting their Olympic athletes:
Following a recent visit to the local elementary school by his mother, the students have become enthralled with the captain of the Dallas Stars quest for Olympic glory.
More than 70 students have signed and sent an Olympic banner to Morrow to show their support for his first Olympic games.
"There is definitely an excitement in the air," said Brenda Voutour, a close friend of the Morrow family, who is currently in Vancouver to watch their son play for Canada. "There is a lot of support for him. It should be appreciated all they have done to get there and not just be on the podium."
- Mike Heika has an excellent round up of all the days Olympic news.
- And in case you missed it, I took a lengthy look at the Steve Ott situation yesterday here on DefendingBigD