The United States and Finland are just coming off losses to big rivals, missing out on a chance at the gold-medal game in men’s ice hockey. They won’t have much time to lick their wounds, as they face each other for a spot on the podium on Saturday.
MEN’S HOCKEY – Bronze medal game
United States vs. Finland: 10 a.m. ET (NBCSN) – CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
Both teams enjoyed their moments of offensive explosiveness in this tournament, yet when they met elite goalies in Sweden’s Henrik Lundqvist and Canada’s Carey Price, they hit a brick wall. Canada blanked the United States 1-0 while the Swedes locked down the Finns 2-1 in Friday semifinal games.
Whether it’s Kari Lehtonen or Tuukka Rask, Finland’s expected to have a strong goalie in net. In the case of Saturday, Rask appears healthy enough to play. The U.S. enjoyed some fantastic goaltending from Jonathan Quick in this tournament, so it’s quite possible that this could be another tight game.
Again, though, these two teams have also shown the ability to break things wide open … so we’ll just have to see. Phil Kessel has been a standout for the U.S. while Teemu Selanne is likely entering his final international game to wrap up his sixth Olympics.
The U.S. is going for its second bronze medal and 12th Olympic men’s hockey medal overall. Finland is shooting for a fourth bronze, which would give them six.
You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.
We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.
“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.
These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.
Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.
It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.
With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.
It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.
Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:
It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).
As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.
Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:
This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.
Update: All that’s been announced about Silfverberg is that he’s under evaluation and will not return.