The Americans are looking to bring home gold in the first Olympic tournament without NHL players since 1994.
Over 200 players from countries around the world will have a chance to make history when men’s hockey at the 2018 Winter Olympics opens Wednesday. The tournament doesn’t have NHL players for the first time since 1994, which opens the door to a competition where seemingly anything could happen.
The decision by the NHL not to take a break during its season to participate in the Olympics sent shockwaves through the hockey world last year. The discord between the league and the International Olympic Committee forced national teams to turn elsewhere to fill their rosters for Pyeongchang, which gives this event a decidedly different feel from the past two decades.
Gone is the star power that the NHL could bring to the festivities, and in its place is an opportunity for players who probably never dreamed of being here.
That’s disappointing given what a stacked team the U.S. could’ve brought to South Korea, but it also sets the stage for what could be a really special tournament. These players have never played under such high stakes. The intensity, passion, and pride that have always defined Olympic hockey will still be there, even if the talent level isn’t quite the same.
The Russian team, which is officially being called Olympic Athletes from Russia as part of the IOC’s punishment for doping violations, is considered the favorite. The team will be led by former NHL stars Pavel Datsyuk and Ilya Kovalchuk, so it’ll be interesting to see whether any ragtag group can keep up with that.
Team USA is led by former Sabres captain Brian Gionta and a trio of young forwards in Troy Terry (University of Denver), Jordan Greenway (Boston University), and Ryan Donato (Harvard). We’ll see if they can come out of Pyeongchang with a medal.
The gold medal game is set for Sunday, Feb. 25 local time in Pyeongchang, but it’ll actually be Saturday, Feb. 24 in the United States. The schedule below is adjusted for Eastern time and reflects that time difference.
How the tournament works
The tournament starts with the 12 teams divided into three groups of four for the preliminary stage. Canada, Switzerland, South Korea, and the Czech Republic are in Group A. Team USA, Olympic Athletes from Russia, Slovakia, and Slovenia are in Group B. Sweden, Finland, Norway, and Germany are in Group C.
Following the group stage, the teams are seeded from one to 12 for the playoff bracket based on the results. The top four teams automatically advance to the quarterfinals, with the other eight teams playing to fill the other four spots. From there, it’s a standard single-elimination tournament
All times ET
Wednesday, Feb. 14
Group B: Slovenia 3, United States 2 (OT)
Group B: Slovakia 3, Olympic Athletes from Russia 2
Group C: Finland 5, Germany 2
Thursday, Feb. 15
Group C: Sweden 4, Norway 0
Group A: Czech Republic 2, South Korea 1
Group A: Canada 5, Switzerland 1
Group B: United States 2, Slovakia 1
Friday, Feb. 16
Group B: Olympic Athletes from Russia 8, Slovenia 2
Group C: Finland 5, Norway 1
Group C: Sweden 1, Germany 0
Group A: Czech Republic 3, Canada 2 (SO)
Saturday, Feb. 17
Group A: Switzerland 8, South Korea 0
Group B: Olympic Athletes from Russia 4, United States 0
Group B: Slovenia 3, Slovakia 2 (SO)
Group C: Germany 2, Norway 1 (SO)
Sunday, Feb. 18
Group A: Czech Republic 4, Switzerland 1
Group A: Canada 4, South Korea 0
Group C: Sweden 3, Finland 1
Monday, Feb. 19
Playoffs: Switzerland vs. Germany, 10:10 p.m. (NBCSN)
Tuesday, Feb. 20
Playoffs: Finland vs. South Korea, 2:40 a.m. (NBCSN)
Playoffs: Slovenia vs. Norway, 7:10 a.m. (USA Network)
Playoffs: United States vs. Slovakia, 7:10 a.m. (NBCSN)
Quarterfinals, 10:10 p.m. (CNBC)
Wednesday, Feb. 21
Quarterfinals, 2:40 a.m. (NBCSN)
Quarterfinals, 7:10 a.m. (NBCSN)
Quarterfinals, 7:10 a.m. (USA Network)
Friday, Feb. 23
Semifinals, 2:40 a.m. (NBCSN)
Semifinals, 7:10 a.m. (NBCSN)
Saturday, Feb. 24
Bronze medal game, 7:10 a.m. (NBCSN)
Gold medal game, 11:10 p.m. (NBCSN)
Canada DESTROYED everyone in hockey at the first Winter Olympics
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