Zach Parise

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WATCH LIVE: 2010 Olympic men’s gold medal game – U.S. vs. Canada

NBC Sports will present three Team USA Olympic hockey matchups on NBC throughout the month of May, beginning this Sunday at 3 p.m. ET with the 2010 Olympic men’s hockey gold medal overtime game featuring Team USA and Canada.

Team USA and host-nation Canada clashed in the gold medal game at the Vancouver Olympics in 2010. In the preliminary round of the tournament, the U.S. team beat Canada 5-3. In a thrilling gold medal matchup, the U.S. trailed by a goal with under a minute remaining before Zach Parise tied the game at two goals apiece. In the overtime period, Sidney Crosby netted the winning goal, to clinch the gold medal for Canada. The 2010 gold medal game stands as the most watched hockey broadcast since the historic 1980 Olympics.

Mike Emrick, Eddie Olczyk and Pierre McGuire called the gold medal game from Canada Hockey Place in Vancouver, British Columbia.

You can watch the live stream here.

During the broadcast, Liam McHugh will interview Parise, reflecting on the 2010 Olympics gold medal game.

The three Team USA Olympic hockey matchups that will air on NBC in May can be found below:

Sunday, May 3
2010 Olympics Men’s Gold Medal game: USA vs. Canada – 3 p.m. ET on NBC (Live stream)

Sunday, May 10
2018 Olympics Women’s Gold Medal game: USA vs. Canada – 3 p.m. ET on NBC (Live stream)

Sunday, May 17
2014 Olympics Men’s preliminary round: USA vs. Russia – 3 p.m. ET on NBC (Live stream)

Programming will also stream on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.

On-the-go sports stars embrace family time during shutdown

Blake Wheeler and the Winnipeg Jets would have been on the road last week, trying to make a final push for the playoffs had the National Hockey League season not been called off because of the pandemic.

Now the seven-time All-Star forward is home for dinner each night with his family.

And for the activities, all afternoon. And the teaching, policing and entertaining every morning with his wife, Sam; 7-year-old son, Louie; 4-year-old daughter, Leni; and 2-year-old son, Mase.

”Mase, since he’s been born, he doesn’t want anything to do with me, really, until like a month ago,” Wheeler said. ”Now that I’m here all the time, he’s starting to realize that I am his dad.”

The 82-game NHL schedule, with half of those on the road, means Wheeler is absent from trick-or-treating and Thanksgiving turkey more often than not. He is normally away from home more than one-third of every night in any given year.

Thousands of athletes know that sting. For all the wealth, privilege and rewards elite sports can provide its participants, few vocations require more time away from loved ones. This is what they signed up for, but some parts of life can’t be priced out.

”I appreciate the gift of time and being able to spend it with my family,” said Maryland women’s basketball coach Brenda Frese, whose fourth-ranked Terrapins might well have been in New Orleans last week for the Final Four.

When the NCAA Tournament was canceled, Frese hunkered down with her husband, Mark, and their 12-year-old twin boys. She is a middle school tutor now, too.

For all parents, there is no denying homebound days have been draining.

”My 2-year-old gets up at about 5 in the morning,” Minnesota Wild forward Zach Parise said. ”He naps from like 1 to 3, and that’s our time to take a deep breath.”

Parise and his wife, Alisha, also have 6-year-old twins to look after. He recalled falling asleep watching television at 8:30 one night – a similar tale to that of his Central Division rival.

”We get ’em all down by about 8 on a good night, and then there’s a half hour of just numbness,” Wheeler said.

St. Louis defenseman Alex Pietrangelo and his wife, Jayne, have 20-month-old triplets. Like many of his peers, Pietrangelo has been reminded anew how much there is to handle while dad is at the rink.

”There’s not enough time in the day. I’m not even working right now, and I can’t even find enough time to do something for myself,” Pietrangelo said on a conference call as his kids were clamoring for more time outside.

Opportunity beckons, of course, in the gift that is presence.

”You don’t get these days back,” said University of Tennessee football coach Jeremy Pruitt, gratefully describing extra time with his infant daughter. He and his wife also have boys ages 4 and 2 at home.

With no Major League Baseball, Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson was home for his daughter’s first birthday last week. Washington first baseman Ryan Zimmerman has tag-teamed nightly readings of ”Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” with his 6-year-old daughter, to be followed by a viewing of the movie.

”It’s cool to see kids learn to do something and be proud of it and then really go after it,” Zimmerman said in a weekly diary he’s keeping for The Associated Press. ”Honestly, I probably wouldn’t have been able to do that with her if it wasn’t for this.”

Minnesota men’s basketball coach Richard Pitino took his 3-year-old daughter on a drive to count neighborhood dogs. He and his wife, Jill, also have an 8-year-old daughter and a 5-year-old son.

”I can’t believe how many times I’ve jumped on a trampoline at 37 years old,” Pitino said.

The suspended NBA season prompted Minnesota Timberwolves executive Gersson Rosas to try yoga for the first time with his wife and 4-year-old twins. Milwaukee Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer, energized by the return from college of his 19-year-old daughter, has upped his knowledge of movies and shows from the major streaming services.

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh has relished the laughter from conversation with his 3-year-old daughter he otherwise would have missed on the NHL circuit. Scooter rides around the block have replaced the morning skate.

”She gets so excited every day to do that with me, now that we’ve done it for a couple of weeks in a row,” McDonagh said. ”It’s fun to see the joy in their face. It really makes you love them even more.”

What is the Wild’s long-term outlook?

Minnesota Wild
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With the 2019-20 NHL season on hold we are going to review where each NHL team stands at this moment until the season resumes. Here we take a look at the long-term outlook for the Minnesota Wild.

Pending Free Agents

The Core

The Wild are kind of drifting toward that middle ground where they are not a true contender and they are not exactly awful, either. They have good players, but they also have some pretty significant flaws.

One of the biggest might be the fact they have a lot money tied up in players that are on the wrong side of 30. Mikko Koivu is a free agent after this season, and no one really knows what his future is at this point, but Zach Parise, Mats Zuccarello, Eric Staal, Ryan Suter, Jared Spurgeon, and Devan Dubnyk are some of their biggest contracts beyond this season and Spurgeon is the only one younger than 32 years old. It is not a stretch to believe that every single one of those players has already played their best hockey. Parise was also the subject of trade rumors on deadline day with the New York Islanders, something that could be revisited later.

Beyond that, the Wild do have some intriguing younger players making up a second-wave of talent.

Kevin Fiala has been an outstanding pickup and is having an outstanding year, while Luke Kunin, Jordan Greenway, and Joel Eriksson Ek are other younger players the Wild are hoping can become bigger contributors.

The most intriguing young player in the organization, though, has yet to even play a game in North America. That player is Kirili Kaprizov, the 22-year-old winger that has dominated the KHL for the past few seasons. He was a fifth-round pick by the team a few years ago and his arrival in Minnesota has been anticipated for some time now.

Long-Term Needs

Really what the Wild need is a difference-maker. A game-changing forward that can be the focal point of the offense and carry it. A franchise cornerstone to build around both in the short-and long-term.

They do not really have that player right now, and the ones that most closely resemble that player on the roster right now are older and on the downside of their careers. They are also not really well positioned to get one without a lot of luck going their way in the draft lottery. It is a tough spot to be in.

Their biggest hope for that sort of presence might be with the aforementioned Kaprizov. For as intriguing and exciting as his potential is, it is still just exactly that — potential. Even if he does eventually become that top-line standout player, it may not happen as soon as he arrives next season. There could be some growing pains and an adjustment period along the way.

Long-Term Strengths

When they are all healthy their defense has some intriguing players and can be really good with Suter, Spurgeon, Mathew Dumba, and Jonas Brodin are all signed through the end of next seaon, with the former three names all being signed to long-term deals. When it comes to scoring chances against and expected goals against the Wild have been one of the league’s top teams this season. The only thing that has held them back from being an elite defensive team has been inconsistency in net.

The addition of Cale Addison in the Jason Zucker trade also adds another intriguing blue-liner to the long-term outlook.

If Fiala can duplicate his 2019-20 performance he could also turn into a pretty big strength. He has been one of the league’s most productive 5-on-5 players on a per-minute basis this season and is still signed for another year at a very manageable salary cap hit.

The presence of him, Kaprizov, a still productive Zuccarello and hopefully improvements from players like Kunin, Greenway, and Eriksson Ek could give the Wild a formidable group of forwards.

MORE WILD:
Looking at the 2019-20 Minnesota Wild
Minnesota Wild surprises and disappointments so far

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

How the Wild played their way back into playoff contention

Just when it looked like you could close the book on the 2019-20 Minnesota Wild, they have managed to play their way back into playoff contention in the Western Conference.

Entering play on Thursday night (when the Wild visit San Jose), they sit just one point back of the Winnipeg Jets and Arizona Coyotes for the second Wild Card spot in the Western Conference while still having two games in hand on both. They are one of the hottest teams in the league over the past 20 games and have the strong underlying numbers (indicating the right process) to backup their results in the standings.

Given everything that has happened for this organization over the past year, it is a stunning turnaround.

Just consider everything that has happened since July.

Individually any one of those points is a lot for a team to deal with. Put all of them together in a span of less than a year and it is absolutely insane. Combined with how bad the team was a year ago it is remarkable they are back in a position to potentially make the playoffs.

Let’s look at a couple of key factors driving that turnaround.

Kevin Fiala has been on a roll

Chalk this one up as a win for Fenton.

One of his many in-season trades last year was to acquire Fiala from the Nashville Predators for Mikael Granlund. While Granlund has struggled to make much of an impact for the Predators (and is headed for unrestricted free agency this summer), Fiala has had a career year for the Wild and has been especially hot over the past month-and-a-half.

Over the past 20 games he has 25 points (12 goals, 13 assists) and is one of the leading scorers in the league during that stretch.

That includes nine multi-point games, including five in a row entering Thursday.

Alex Stalock has taken control of the net

This is probably the most surprising development this season.

While Devan Dubnyk has been the Wild’s rock in net for the past four years, it is the 32-year-old Stalock, a career backup, that has helped drive their climb up the standings.

He has started 14 of the past 20 games, owning a 10-3-1 record with a .926 save percentage during that stretch. It is one of the best runs of his career and has helped solidify what had been a trouble spot this season with Dubnyk struggling through the worst season of his Minnesota tenure and one of the worst seasons of his career.

They have simply found their game

One thing that probably didn’t get a lot of attention in the first part of the season is that the Wild were probably playing better than their record would indicate. During 5-on-5 play they were doing a decent job controlling the pace of the game, and most of the numbers showed that. Their share of scoring chances and expected goals were among the top-10 in the league, but it wasn’t translating into results because their goaltending wasn’t holding up its end of the bargain.

But Stalock’s play over the past two months, as well as the fact that the Wild have upped their game even more, has made them one of the hottest teams in the league.

The table below looks at their overall 5-on-5 play over the various stretches this season (league ranking in parenthesis).

If you control the share of shot attempts and scoring chances at that level, you’re going to give yourself a chance to win a lot of games. Especially if the goaltending is there. Right now, it is all clicking.

The Wild are currently on a 90-point pace which, given the current pace of every team in the Western Conference, would be enough for a Wild Card spot.

They still have a long way to go before they get there and do not have much margin for error, but they have at least put themselves back into a position where they can do it.

That is probably more than anybody expected at the start of the year. Or just a few weeks ago.

(Data in this post via Natural Stat Trick)

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

The Buzzer: Voracek leads Flyers to fifth straight win; Wild remain in wild-card race

Kevin Hayes #13, Jakub Voracek #93, and Scott Laughton #21 of the Philadelphia Flyers celebrate
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Three Stars

1) Jakub Voracek, Philadelphia Flyers

Voracek dished out four helpers in the Flyers’ 5-2 win against the New York Rangers Friday. Philadelphia picked up their NHL-leading 23rd home victory and improved its current winning streak to five games in addition. Voracek had several pretty passes throughout the evening to set up his teammates. In the opening period, he fed Sean Couturier while Rangers defenseman Brendan Smith broke his stick and was unable to break up the pass. Late in the second period and early in the third, Voracek helped Claude Giroux score twice to seal the victory in favor of Philadelphia. All of a sudden, the Flyers only trail the Washington Capitals by three points for the top spot in the Metropolitan Division.

2) Alex Stalock, Minnesota Wild

The odds were stacked against them, but the Wild are not giving up on their pursuit of a spot in the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Stalock made 24 saves and picked up his fourth shutout of the season as Minnesota blanked the Columbus Blue Jackets, 5-0. Stalock has quietly put together an impressive season with an 18-9-4 record, 2.60 goals against average and a .910 save percentage. Only two points separate the Wild from the top wild card spot in the west.

3) Tyson Jost, Colorado Avalanche

With Mikko Rantanen sidelined, the Avalanche need more offensive production from everyone in the lineup. Jost stepped up with two goals as Colorado defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 and extended its winning streak to five games. The first-round pick from the 2016 NHL Draft opened the scoring 6:34 into the first period when his shot whizzed past Anton Forsberg. Jost took a bouncing puck away from Jake Gardiner prior to the goal. He gave the Avalanche a two-goal lead when he tucked a shot past Forsberg halfway through the middle frame. Colorado has two games in hand on the division-leading St. Louis Blues and only trail by three points. Home-ice advantage in the Western Conference will be awarded to the eventual winner of the Central Division.

Other notable performances from Friday

  • Pavel Francouz made 45 saves and would be in the Calder Trophy conversation if not for the outstanding play of defensemen Cale Makar and Quinn Hughes.
  • Teuvo Teravainen scored twice in the Hurricanes’ 3-2 loss and Sebastian Aho extended his point streak to 14 games.
  • Zach Parise and Kevin Fiala each recorded a goal and an assist as the Minnesota Wild won their third straight game.
  • Jason Zucker recorded two goals but the Penguins fell in regulation for the fifth consecutive game.

Highlights of the Night

Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog delivered a pretty cross-ice pass to set up Samuel Girard for the third-period go-ahead goal.

Artemi Panarin extended his point streak to 12 games with this jaw-dropping stretch pass to set up Jesper Fast.

Golden Knights forward Nicolas Roy converted this slick deke to even the score at 1-1.

Giroux pushed the Flyers lead to two goals with this one-timer that clanked off the crossbar before finding the back of the net.

Stats of the Night

https://twitter.com/PR_NHL/status/1233588561666039809

Scores

Philadelphia Flyers 5, New York Rangers 2

Minnesota Wild 5, Columbus Blue Jackets 0

Colorado Avalanche 3, Carolina Hurricanes 2

Vegas Golden Knights 4, Buffalo Sabres 2

Anaheim Ducks 3, Pittsburgh Penguins 2


Scott Charles is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottMCharles.