Austria and Slovenia, 3:00 AM EST (NBCSN)
Norway and Russia, 7:30 (NBCSN)
Latvia and Switzerland, 12:00 (MSNBC)
Slovakia and Czech Republic 12:00 (NBCSN)
Well, well it looks like we have a full serving of hockey to get through today. After watching the US women and the Canadian women advance to the finals yesterday we begin the knockout stage for men's hockey today. USA, Canada, Finland, and Sweden have all earned byes and will not be playing until tomorrow:
USA will play whoever wins between Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
Sweden will play whoever wins between Austria and Slovenia.
Canada will play whoever wins between Switzerland and Latvia.
Finland will play whoever wins between Russia and Norway.
But for now our focus is on today's knockout games and no game is more intriguing than Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Not only do these two countries have a history on and off the ice but the winner of the game will go on to face Team USA. I'm sure most of us will be watching that particular game with great interest. Both the Czechs and the Slovaks thought they'd have a better tournament then they've had so far and both will be looking to advance to the quarterfinals.
Mike's Player to Watch: Jaromir Jagr
Jagr is playing in what is almost certainly his last Olympics (he's 42) and international competition has always been important to Jags. The Czech team is an aging one and they likely see this as a last chance to make some noise in the Olympics with players like Jagr, Elias, Rozsival, Kaberle, Nedved, and Zidlicky playing in what could be their last Olympic games. Look for Jagr to lead the charge and do everything he can to get the Czech Republic into tomorrow's game against the United States. I'd also keep a sharp eye on the goaltending matchup in this game. Slovakia has had to turn to its third string goalie (over Jaroslav Halak and Peter Budaj from the NHL) Jan Laco who gave them a very strong performance against Russia in a 1-0 shootout loss. He'll be up against Ondrej Pavelec for the Czechs who is also coming off of a strong game in a 1-0 loss to Switzerland this past Saturday.
Please use this as your open thread for today and for all of today's Olympic hockey action.
Let's go Hockey!
Today's Question of the Day: Who will win today's games and where will see the biggest upset (if there is one)?