Yes, we’re still talking about the U.S. shootout classic against Russia on Saturday. It’s worth all the hype, having just become the most watched hockey game in the NBC Sports Network’s history.
And some players, even though they might not be taking part in the Sochi Olympics, still can’t help but marvel at the competitive juices that were flowing between the two hockey powers in a game decided by T.J. Oshie’s superb shootout performance, giving the U.S. a victory in the highly anticipated preliminary game.
“What a game,” Brian Boyle of the New York Rangers wrote for The Record.
“You listen to the game and you can hear the noise and the physicality the guys playing had and the hate they had for each other. Obviously, they respect each other but they don’t like each other out there.”
For the U.S., it will move right into the quarter-final round. It will wait to play the winner of the qualification match-up between Slovakia and the Czech Republic. The winner of that quarter-final game will advance to the semifinal to play the winner of the other quarter-final between Canada, the third seed, and Switzerland or Latvia.
Now, if the U.S. and Canada meet in the semifinal – remember, they met back in the gold-medal game at the Vancouver Olympics four years ago with Canada coming away victorious – then you’ll see two hockey nations that respect each other but also really don’t like each other, either.
No, the Nashville Predators did not forget how to score goals … or at least they were lifted from that amnesia on Wednesday.
Mike Fisher lifted the curse 13:52 into the first period of tonight’s game against the Buffalo Sabres. You can watch that rare beast in the video above.
They had been shut out for three straight games and pretty close to four in pure game time.
On this subject, PHT’s Jason Brough asked Predators GM David Poile if he was considering moving a defenseman to improve in another area earlier today.
Tyler Ennis can probably relate with the Buffalo Sabres’ opponent on Wednesday, as he’s struggling almost as much as the Nashville Predators.
Perhaps some of that has to do with health?
Whether that’s the case or not, Ennis is out for the Sabres tonight, as the team announced that he’s dealing with an upper-body injury.
The Buffalo News discussed Ennis’ struggles in this article.
“I’d say he’s pressing too much. You can’t make those plays in every situation and in every point you touch the puck,” Dan Bylsma said to the Buffalo News. “ … He’s just got to simplify his game. He is a special player who can make those plays, but he can’t be trying to do it every time he touches the puck.”
He’ll need to wait a while to start getting things together, anyway.
You can check out tonight’s Wednesday Night Rivalry doubleheader on NBCSN, and you can also stream them online.
Here are the handy links for the two contests.
First, the New York Islanders host the Philadelphia Flyers.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
After that, the Chicago Blackhawks visit the San Jose Sharks.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
The San Jose Sharks will be missing a top-4 defenseman tonight when they host the defending champs from Chicago.
Justin Braun has an upper-body injury. His status is considered day-to-day.
“Brauny has been one of our unsung heroes here through the first quarter of the season,” coach Peter DeBoer told CSN Bay Area. “He’s played some outstanding hockey. So, we’re going to miss him, but it’s a great opportunity for Mueller and Tennyson and one of these guys to establish themselves. It’s a great opportunity for us to reward Dillon for how well he’s played.”
Against the Blackhawks, Brenden Dillon will take Braun’s spot on the top pairing alongside Marc-Edouard Vlasic; Paul Martin and Brent Burns will stay together on the second pairing; and 20-year-old Mirco Mueller will skate with Matt Tennyson.
Mueller has played just four games for the Sharks this season. In his last game, Thursday in Philadelphia, he received only 9:13 of ice time.
Also tonight, new Shark forward Dainius Zubrus is expected to debut on the fourth line.
Related: Sharks sign Zubrus, because DeBoer