NHL, IIHF reach agreement that will bring stars to Sochi

Friday July 19th, 2013
Alexander Ovechkin was adamant about playing for Russia when it hosts the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Martin Rose/Getty Images

Don't expect any of the top teams to miss out on the quarterfinals that begin on Feb. 19, but the way the brackets are set up -- with three teams in each of four groups -- the U.S. will face Russia and Ovechkin in a Group A game on Feb. 15. In case one of the other favorites has a bad outing in preliminary-round play (Slovakia is also in Group A along with Slovenia; Canada and Finland are in Group B along with Austria and Norway; the Czech Republic and Sweden are in Group C with Switzerland and Latvia), there will be a pair of play-in games, a qualification play-off on Feb. 18. Canada needed an extra game to beat Germany and advance to the quarterfinals in 2010, before rolling to the gold medal.

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