Top Line: Pavel Datsyuk to play at Sochi; Ovechkin's crazy skates; more links
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• Vladislav Tretiak says Pavel Datsyuk is good to go for Team Russia in Sochi. It seems likely now that the Red Wings star will start the tournament, but until he proves otherwise, the expectation is that he will be less than 100 percent. UPDATE: Multiple sources report that Datsyuk missed Russia's first team skate this morning in Sochi, but he is still expected to play later this week.
• Ilya Kovalchuk is looking for a little divine intervention to help Team Russia win gold.
• Why should the goalies have all the fun? Ovi brought along some tricked-out skates for the Games.
• Randy Carlyle says that the emotional crash suffered by Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Scott Niedermayer after Canada's gold in 2010 was a key factor in the Ducks' post-Olympic failure. Carlyle is one of several NHL coaches who fear the same thing happening to their squads this time around.
• This year, no matter what the outcome in Sochi, it will be tough for the Ducks to maintain their momentum after the Games.
• Former Swiss national team coach Ralph Krueger could be Canada's secret weapon in Sochi.
• Don Cherry says to keep an eye on Rick Nash as a surprise star for Team Canada. Cherry also says that it's not as hard to grab a couple of two-fours in Russia as he thought.
• The Canadian Olympic Committee might ground Budweiser's Red Zeppelin before it takes flight. Because, hey, where's their cut?
• There's blue and there's red, and never the twain shall meet.
• No trip to Sochi is complete without taking a picture with Zdeno Chara.
• A total of 13 players found their way onto the score sheet as the U.S. women routed the Swiss this morning.
• A 9-3-1 run into the Olympic break made for a better-than-expected midseason report card for the Jets.
• The NHL's roster freeze is in effect, but Senators GM Bryan Murray is keeping his cell phone handy while on vacation in case anyone wants to talk trades. With some blueline depth available, you have to think that Ottawa will be involved to some degree before the March 5 trade deadline. • Canucks GM Mike Gillis has a message for Vancouver's fans after seven straight losses to end the pre-Olympic portion of the season: Be cool, honey bunnies.