Men's Semifinal Games
Finland vs Sweden, 7:00 AM (NBCSN) | NHL.com's Keys to the Game
Canada vs United States, 12:00 noon (NBCSN) | NHL.com's Keys to the Game
Well here we are; the semifinals of the 2014 Winter Olympics. This morning the banged up but undefeated Swedish National Team takes on Russia's least favorite team; Finland. Henrik Lundqvist is coming off of a shutout and Carl Hagelin is coming off of a two goal game against Slovenia. Sweden may have some big names missing from their lineup (Henrik Sedin, Henrik Zetterberg, and Johan Franzen) but their star power still outshines Finland's. The big storyline surrounding this game is the goaltending matchup. Arguably the two most impressive goalies of the tournament (and perhaps the world), Hank and Tuukka Rask, are facing off in this morning's game. It's hard to pick against Hank and Sweden's power play but the Finns managed to topple the host nation Russia and feel very comfortable in the underdog role. In my opinion this game is an absolute toss up but I give a slight edge to the terribly handsome Swedes.
The game that everyone is talking about is the United States Men's Hockey Team taking on the Canadian Men's Hockey Team. The fact that the Canadian women bested the American women yesterday only adds to the already ridiculous amount of buzz and attention going into this afternoon's game. The US is looking to improve on the silver medal finish they had in Vancouver and it's only fitting that they have to get through the team that took the gold from them to get there. I don't know what you have planned today... work, watching your child's first steps, or perhaps a wedding. You should put all of it aside to catch today's game. It simply doesn't get any better than this so I'm just going to stop talking about it and leave it to you guys to get hyped for it in the comments section.
Please use this as your open thread for both of today's semifinal games and for general hockey talk. No matter what happens please try to keep it classy and treat each other with courtesy and respect.
Mike's Player to Watch: Ryan McDonagh
McDiesel has had a very strong tournament and was excellent against Russia, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic but trying to shut down the firepower of the Canadians will be a different beast altogether. The amount of depth and talent in the Canadian lineup is downright crazy and it will be up to McDonagh, Jonathan Quick, and the rest of the American blue line to try and contain the Canadian offense. Watching McDonagh in the Olympics against the world's greatest collection of players makes me appreciate what we have in him all the more. I couldn't be more excited about where his game is now and where it could be a few seasons from now. This will obviously be one of the most important games, if not the most important, of his young career. Let's hope he steps up and plays the way we all know he can play. Go get 'em McD.
Let's go USA!