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Sunday Olympic Hockey Open Thread: United States vs. Slovenia, & Russia vs. Slovakia

Clive Mason

The weird thing about this tournament's "Group of Death" is that today, on the last day of group play, Slovenia has a not-insane chance to actually win this. They were supposed to be the also-ran here. However, the Slovenians are going to have to catch the group leader napping because the United States looks like the real deal so far after destroying Slovakia in their opening game and then downing the Russians yesterday in a thrilling T.J. Oshie-off (The US won by the score of 1 Oshie to 0 Oshies).

For the Americans, it comes down to this: Win and you go straight to the quarterfinals, guaranteed. That's one less game to slog through against an entire group that can do damage to an unprepared squad.

Anze Kopitar is the best player the Slovenians have, but Wings fans should also recognize Jan Mursak. Make no mistake, Mursak is an NHL-caliber player; it's just that a run of bad luck and a desire for a bigger chance drove him back overseas. He's a real burner up the ice and has something of a tricky shot. Also, if the United States' habit of only giving up goals to Red Wings players hold, he'll have to be the closest thing the Slovenians have to a goal-scorer.

Meanwhile, in the other arena, the Russians will take on the Slovakian team with an eye toward solidifying their ranking and potentially winning the group. Datsyuk did all the work for the Russians yesterday against the United States, scoring as many goals as the entire Slovakian team has combined (Jurco and Tatar are their goal-scorers, by the way). It doesn't look like the Slovakians are going to be much of a threat, but I said that yesterday about Slovenia and that turned out badly. For the Russians, it will probably come down to limiting the damage that Alex Radulov can do to his own side.

It's a live thread. Have fun.