Author: Joe Yerdon

Sochi Olympics Ice Hockey Men

Latvia eager to move ahead, give Canada all they’ve got


If you think Latvia will spend the night celebrating their 3-1 upset victory against Switzerland, think again.

Latvia won’t get time to relax as they’ll face Canada on Wednesday and as their players told Olympic News Service, they’re focused and know they’ll give it all they’ve got against the defending gold medalists.

“I won’t shout out that we will beat Canada, but we’ll try,” said goalie Edgars Masalskis. “We’ll do all that we can to give them a tough battle.

“It’s a game, hockey. The game starts at 0-0. Who knows? Maybe we’ll beat them. Of course, we’ll try. We want to battle for medals. In principle, there’s only two games left to win.”

Expectations outside of Latvia for the Latvian team were low headed into the Olympics. Seeing them in the quarterfinals and a win away from having a shot at a medal exceeds most everyone’s expectations. Don’t count on them resting their laurels on beating the Swiss, however.

“It’s tomorrow already,” said defenseman Oskars Bartulis. “We have to forget this game as soon as possible.”

That’s a good way to move ahead. While their chances against Canada may not be great, don’t tell that to the Latvians.

“Everybody has a chance. Chances, chances!” said forward Janis Sprukts. “Canadians also play hockey and we play hockey and, if we play as a team, there will be a chance.”

Anything goes in a single-elimination tournament.

Sabres part ways with Omark, terminate his contract

Linus Omark

The Linus Omark experience in Buffalo is over.

The Sabres announced they’ve terminated their contract with the 27-year-old Swedish winger. Omark was placed on $125 waivers yesterday for the express purpose of terminating his deal and after passing through that unclaimed, that’s precisely what happened.

Omark’s next stop could be in Sweden where he was rumored to be working on a deal with Lulea in the Swedish Hockey League.

In 13 games with Buffalo this season, Omark had no goals and two assists and was a healthy scratch on occasion. He was assigned to AHL Rochester last week, but didn’t report there in hopes of finding a new team to latch on to. Now he’ll have that opportunity.

Omark was acquired in a December trade from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for a conditional draft pick.

Russia tabs Bobrovsky to start against Norway

Sergei Bobrovsky

Russia has made its call in goal for the qualification playoff round.

Team Russia announced Sergei Bobrovsky will get the start against Norway instead of Semyon Varlamov.

Varlamov was thought to be the favorite to get the start after he put up a shutout against Slovakia and was outstanding in two starts during round-robin play. Bobrovsky’s lone start came against Team USA, a 3-2 shootout loss in which he stopped 31 shots. While he didn’t play poorly in that game, Varlamov appeared to play better.

Norway is the lowest seed in the tournament after the opening round at 12th overall. Russia was the top team to not get a bye after they finished the round with six standings points. The Russians head into Tuesday’s game (7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN) as heavy favorites.