Bettman still shy about Olympics talk

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NHL commissioner Gary Bettman apologized for the lockout Thursday, after the seemingly pointless 113-day lockout cost the league more than 600 games and at least a billion dollars in revenue.

But Bettman is still yet to discuss realignment, or, more important for the purposes of this blog, whether players will compete in the Olympics.

“We’ll get to that,” Bettman said of the topics. “Both issues are important to both players and the league and the clubs. We know we can get to that. I believe as we’ve said all along, neither are bargaining chips. They’re really working together and problem-solving.”

Give the man credit for solving the lockout without losing the entire season, and for wanting to wrap up one thing before moving on to another. But the Olympics are an imperative that need to be discussed while there’s time, lest we get too deep into the NHL season to get people to the table.

Diggins, Randall win historic gold medal for U.S. in cross-country

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The long, long wait is over.

Team USA ended their 42-year Olympic medal drought in cross-country skiing Wednesday and they made American cross-country history in the process.

Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall became the first American cross-country skiers to capture a gold medal by winning the women’s team sprint at the Alpensia Cross-Country Centre in PyeongChang, South Korea. Sweden captured silver and Norway took home bronze.

Diggins and Randall are the first American women to win an Olympic medal and join Bill Koch as the only American cross-country skiers to earn an Olympic medal.

The Americans advanced to the finals courtesy of their first place finish in the semifinals, beating Sweden and OAR in the process.

Diggins out-sprinted both the gold and silver medalists of the individual sprint (Stina Nilsson and Maiken Falla, respectively) in the final stretch to take the gold.

Results

Gold: Kikkan Randall and Jessie Diggins (USA)

Silver: Charlotte Kalla and Stina Nilsson (SWE)

Bronze: Marit Bjoergen and Maiken Falla (NOR)

Click here for a full recap of Team USA’s historic run

Czech Republic advance to medal round with shootout win vs. United States

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Petr Loukal scored the lone shootout goal as the Czech Republic defeated the United States and advance to the medal round.

Jan Kolar and Tomas Kundratek scored in regulation, while Pavel Francouz made 18 saves and stopped all five shootout attempts.

Ryan Donato scored his tournament-leading fifth goal, and Jim Slater added a shorthanded goal as the Olympics come to an end for the United States.