Top Line: Gold medal history; Pressure mounts on Ovechkin, Team Russia; more links
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• Gotta hand it to the boys at ESPN. This oral history of the 2010 gold medal final is an awesome read. Might want to freshen up that cup of coffee before diving in, though. It's a looong read.
• Bruce Arthur writes that there's $50 billion worth of pressure riding on the backs of Team Russia.
• Much like the weight on the shoulders of Team Canada in Vancouver, it's a hockey title or bust for the home team in Sochi.
• Deputy commissioner Bill Daly opened the door to NHL participation in future Olympic Games on Monday. Smart man. Ultimately, this call will come down to what the players want to do. If they want to go, they'll find a way to make it happen.
• No one believes that Pavel Datsyuk is 100 percent, but he's declared himself ready to go for Team Russia after participating in practice on Tuesday morning.
• Steve Yzerman says that the biggest adjustment facing Team Canada's players isn't the size of the ice, but accepting new, and often diminished, roles in the name of team success.
• With David Poile forced to remain Stateside while recovering from surgery, Team USA has promoted Ray Shero from assistant GM to acting GM. I'm guessing his first move is to make a huge deal for Jarome Iginla, right?
• Getting ready for the Games requires more than just a new uniform. It calls for a complete transformation of mindset.
• Despite the pressures, Alex Ovechkin seems unburdened at these Games. In fact, he seems to be soaking up the full experience. That's a big difference from the elusive and edgy young man he was back in Vancouver in 2010.
• While Ovi is embracing his role as an ambassador for the Games, Geno Malkin continues to shun the spotlight. That's interesting because his distance from the media in Pittsburgh has always been attributed to a lack of comfort with the English language. Maybe this is just who he is.
• Even an American has to admit that Canada wins the Olympics after seeing this.
• If the Predators decide to make Shea Weber available on the trade market this summer, Tim Panaccio says that you should expect the Flyers to be major bidders. Don't expect much action from Philly before the deadline, though. Lack of cap space is a killer.
• The Bruins put together their best stretch of the season ahead of the break, but GM Peter Chiarelli is still open to improving his defense corps before the deadline. Just don't ask him to part with a first-rounder if you've got a blueliner to move.of a former WHL player.