Will Team Canada turn swift defender P.K. Subban
(left) loose now that he's in the lineup? (Getty Images)
By Allan Muir
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• And the bodies keep falling for Sweden. Henrik Zetterberg's bad back has him "in a great deal of discomfort," forcing him to pull out of the Olympics. It's another tough break for the Swedes, whose forward corps is now thinner than Mats Sundin's hair. No telling yet how this could impact Zetterberg's ability to return to action for the Red Wings when the Olympic break ends.
• Corey Masisak says that Zetterberg's absence shifts the balance of power in the Sochi tournament.
• USA Hockey has announced its starting goalie for tomorrow's key game against Russia.
• It was pretty much a given that P.K. Subban and Matt Duchene, Canada's Game 1 scratches, would draw in for Friday's contest against Austria. The question was, who would come out after the 3-1 win over Norway? No real surprise that Dan Hamhuis was scratched on the back end, but the decision to send Patrick Sharp to the press box is a bit of a head scratcher. Rick Nash would have been the obvious choice after his uninspired effort, but with Subban ready to assume Sharp's power play spot on the point, the Blackhawks forward might have been the easiest to excise.
• Will we see Subban get the green light for Canada the way Erik Karlsson has for Sweden? The mobility of Canada's D was key to yesterday's victory, and that style is right in Norris Trophy winner's wheelhouse.
• Ken Campbell lists five things we learned from Canada's first game of its gold medal defense.
• We learned a bit about Norwegian hockey, too. Like, they're actually pretty good at this game.
• Kevin Allen says that Team USA's big win answered many questions that haunted the group heading into the tournament.
• You ever get sick of reading about The Miracle On Ice? Yeah, me neither.
• In Russia, though? They're looking forward to returning the favor on home ice tomorrow.
• Here's a little early morning buzz hinting at how the U.S. plans to manage Russia's explosive attack tomorrow. And it looks like we could see a scary good checking line in that one as well.
• The Czechs survived an early scare to knock off Latvia in middle-of-the-night action.
• A pair of special teenagers are drawing all the attention for Team Finland.
• You won't believe the cloak and dagger intrigue that goes into being one of the doctors attending to the NHL's top stars in Sochi.
• Somehow, NHL players who are not participating in the Games are finding ways to occupy their time away from the rink.
• Which players are saddled with the worst contracts in the NHL? A Maple Leafs player sits on top of the list, but the Sabres and Detroit are both carrying more than one of these cap-draining bums.
• Wayne Gretzky said that he prayed to be selected to participate in the infamous shootout that led to Canada's downfall in Nagano. I remember praying for a date with Jaclyn Smith when I was 13. Sometimes these things just don't work out.
• The Canucks and the Capitals top Adam Proteau's list of the six teams in need of a trade immediately after the Olympic break. Not sure the Red Wings need a trade, though, as much as they need triage...
• ISS Hockey has released its February ranking of the top-30 prospects for this June's NHL draft. Love seeing Josh Ho-Sang moved into the top-10. The kid has Patrick Kane-like hands, but is moving up because he's finally figuring out how to make the most of his teammates.
• Former Boston and Chicago great Doug Mohns passed away yesterday.
Our condolences to his family.