Babcock on Price after shutout: ‘He gives the team confidence’

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Team Canada goalie Carey Price more than did his job against Team USA stopping 31 shots in a 1-0 shutout victory.

While there was debate heading into the Olympics whether it would be Price or Roberto Luongo to start in goal, Price has proven to be the man.

As Canada coach Mike Babcock told Olympic News Service, Price’s work is what carries the team.

“He was great. Hockey’s just like everything else, you build a resume over time and it gives you confidence,” Babcock said. “He’s big and square and soft and he gives the team confidence. It’s not like there wasn’t chances tonight, there were chances both ways, but the goalies were just so good it was hard to get any pucks past them.”

Price’s efforts in the Olympics have Canada in position to win a second straight gold medal in men’s hockey. While it was Luongo who took care of business in 2010, Price’s work has been outstanding in Sochi and has them feeling good about taking gold again.

With how well Price has played, it’s hard to imagine there was even a debate in the first place, but that’s what having a wealth of talent on the roster will do.

Toews on Canada-U.S. rivalry: ‘There’s a lot of animosity’

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The semifinal matchup between Canada and the United States is one that will grab the attention of the hockey world, but all eyes might be on Chicago Blackhawks teammates who will square off against each other.

Team Canada center Jonathan Toews says Canada-U.S. is now the preeminent rivalry and as Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune shares, he says it’s not exactly a peaceful battle between the two.

“It has become even a bigger rivalry than Canada-Russia. There’s a lot of animosity, a lot of feelings like there’s something to prove between both teams,” said Toews. “It’s for the chance to go and play for a gold medal. It doesn’t get any better than that, playing for your country and going against the United States. There are millions of kids that grow up dreaming of this.”

Toews’ comments come after there was a very minor dust-up of opinions from Team USA’s Patrick Kane who gushed about the play of Phil Kessel.

As Tim Wharnsby at CBC Sports shares, Toews had a bit of fun with that statement himself.

Toews added with a smile, “He’s all right, [but] that Kessel guy is even better.”

All the talk goes away at Noon ET on NBCSN when the two sides square off for a spot in the gold medal game.

Backes, Callahan, and Brown are Team USA’s “Meat Line”

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It wouldn’t be an Olympics without a story about a line developing so much chemistry they’ve developed a nickname. Such is the case with Team USA’s trio of David Backes, Dustin Brown, and Ryan Callahan.

As Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy shares, the team captains of the Blues, Kings, and Rangers have earned a name for themselves and it’s… Delicious. They are “The Meat Line.”

“I’m the beef. Dustin Brown’s the pork. Callahan’s the chicken. So that’s our meat line,” said Backes.

Beef, pork, and chicken – just like your burrito choices at your favorite place.

Backes tells Wyshynski it was Derek Stepan who came up with the name for the three and Stepan wanted to make sure his Rangers teammate was the chicken out of the group. Figuring out the rest of the charcuterie plate was easy enough.

That trio played very well against the Czechs as Brown and Backes each had a goal. Coach Dan Bylsma is hoping the three of them can make life miserable (and hungry?) for Canada on Friday.

Putin forgives referees, thought Russia would beat U.S. ‘by a big margin’

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In case you didn’t know, Russian president Vladimir Putin is a big time hockey fan. He’s also all-in on seeing his country come away with the gold medal and beating anyone and everyone along the way to do it.

That’s what made the United States’ 3-2 shootout win against Russia all the more difficult to handle for Putin. From the disallowed goal in the third period to seeing T.J. Oshie score on four out of six shootout attempts to seal the victory, he’d have a lot to gripe about if he wanted to.

But he won’t do that as RSport out of Russia shares.

“Even referees sometimes makes mistakes, here I wouldn’t tar anybody with any brush, but I thought that we would win by a big margin,” Putin said. “You and I shouldn’t forget that sport isn’t only about skill but also about the athletes’ courage, and even a good slice of luck.”

 The only thing better than a good slice of luck is a good slice of pie.

It’s likely a relief for referee Brad Meier that Putin said he wouldn’t “tar anybody” because of a bad call. Meier was the official who caught Jonathan Quick’s net being off the moorings thus disallowing what would’ve been Fedor Tyutin’s go-ahead goal.

Of course, as Puck Daddy shares, Russian fans aren’t as forgiving to Meier as their president is.

Slovakia’s Meszaros regrets effort against USA and Slovenia

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Heading into their game Sunday against Russia, Slovakia looked like one of the most disappointing teams in the Olympic tournament.

After a 1-0 shootout loss to the Russians, defenseman Andrej Meszaros had some regrets about how they opened play in the Olympics as Slava Malamud at IIHF.com shared.

“We talked about playing a full 60 minutes and putting up strong defense,” said Meszaros. “We should have done that two games ago but we didn’t. Our goalie was unbelievable and so was theirs. I wish we could have played that way against USA and Slovenia.”

The Slovaks were punished 7-1 by Team USA and shocked 5-3 by Slovenia. Slovakia lost in the bronze medal game during the 2010 Vancouver Games and appeared to be a country set to bounce back.

Instead, they’ve looked a step or two slow and the play of Jaroslav Halak and Peter Budaj hasn’t been exceptional. It was Jan Laco who stood on his head against Russia on Sunday to force the game to a shootout.

Slovakia can erase the memories of a poor opening round by beating their rivals from the Czech Republic on Tuesday. The only question they might have regards who to start in goal, but Laco’s play against Russia may have locked that up.