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Dallas Stars Daily Links: USA, Canada, and Russia All Begin Their Olympic Campaigns

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In which hockey games are played at uncivilized hours, upsets might happen, but probably won't, and why is Val not on the ice?

Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

This is it! The big day!

For real this time, as the big three of Russia, Canada, and the USA will all be in action. Not that the first day of the men's tournament was lacking in excitement. Sweden scored four early and then held off a Czech comeback, while Switzerland came within 8 seconds of the shock result of the tournament so far. Ok, so while Latvia beating Switzerland would be an upset, it wouldn't necessarily live on in folklore Still though, I'm sure that the Swiss are pleased that after playing 59 minutes and 52 seconds of scoreless hockey against Latvia they managed to eke out the win. There's also another article on the game, in which Ted Nolan talks about researching the history of Latvian hockey. Ted Nolan is the coach of the Latvian hockey team. Way to do your homework Ted.

That was all yesterday though. Today we have heaps of action. Already in the books by the time you read this is the epic matchup between Finland and Austria. I'm going to assume Finland won, because... Austria, but unfortunately for you, I'm not going to be awake at 3 in the morning Pacific time to confirm that.

The other games today are of the more 'live' variety. For you early risers anyway. And it also means I can attach previews, without them being already outdated.

Russia will be facing Slovenia at 6:30a Central. Slovenia of course is the weak link in Group A, so Russia shouldn't have too tough a time with it. Of course, Valeri Nichushkin will be sitting out, which I assume makes it an easy decision for you which game to watch, when you realize that...

USA takes on Slovakia, also at 6:30a Central. Jonathan Quick will be starting for the USA, with Ryan Miller backing him up. It's not an easy one for the USA, as Slovakia are probably the strongest 'third' team in all the groups. In fact, if there were to be an upset today, some are saying this is the one it could happen in. Not that it will, but it could.

And finally, the only one of these games being played at a civilized hour, Canada and Norway take the ice at 11a Central. Carey Price gets the nod in goal and Jamie Benn will be on the fourth line. Go Canada Jamie!

* * *

The Canadian women's team came from behind in the third period yesterday, scoring three goals in a row and winding up winners over the USA by a score of 3-2. I guess it matters, because of seeding, but they were going to be 1 and 2 anyway, and so they are! Rematch next week, with a medal at stake? []

Another one here on the USA men's team, suggesting they may be more of an offensive threat than previously thought. []

The Olympics is all about exposing lesser known sports to an international audience. Nice when the tiny sport of ice hockey is introduced to fans all across America. [The Onion]

30 Thoughts! Canada-centric of course, but also Olympic-centric, discussing the adjustments to be made by NHL players on the international ice. [CBC]

Here's something I wasn't thinking we'd see for a while. But then, of course we will. Puck Daddy's Three Stars for the night. Seriously though, Simon Moser of Switzerland, who scored the fluke goal to beat Latvia, gets a nod over the Latvian goaltender who pitched a shutout for 59:52? [Puck Daddy]

American Airlines Center, please begin doing this. Thank you. [Fourth-Place Medal]

Your source to catch up on all the non-hockey action in these Olympic games, the Sochi Roundup. [Fourth-Place Medal]

And lastly, the next cross-over sports star? [Shutdown Corner]