Former Soviet and New Jersey Devils defenseman Alexei Kasatonov will head the Russian hockey team as its general manager in an attempt to score the country its first gold since it began competing as an independent nation.
“We all know what the Olympics mean, what kind of interest it creates worldwide. It’s the biggest prize in hockey and I just couldn’t turn down this offer,” Kasatonov said. “My job would be to talk to players, including those from the NHL, but the head coach will always have the final word.”
Kasatonov, who served as a GM in the KHL after retiring from the game, will try to help shape a team that can impress home fans in Sochi next February the way he and his national teammates did in the 70s and 80s. He was on the Soviet squad that famously lost to the U.S. Miracle on Ice team at the 1980 Olympics, but he got his revenge by earning back to back golds at the ’84 and ’88 Games.
His job shouldn’t be too tough with home ice advantage and the likes of Evgeni Malkin and Alex Ovechkin headlining, but Russia hasn’t medaled in men’s hockey since earning bronze more than a decade ago at the Salt Lake and people are probably getting antsy. Kasatonov included.
NBC Sports will air coverage of 87 Alpine skiing races at 22 resorts across the globe this fall and winter, from October through March, in the final full season before the 2018 Olympics.
Highlights include fall and winter stops in the U.S. with races in Killington, Vt.; Beaver Creek, Colo.; Squaw Valley, Calif.; and the World Cup Finals in Aspen, Colo., in March.
Lindsey Vonn‘s highlighted World Cup stop will be downhill and super-G races in Lake Louise, Canada, the first weekend of December.
The world championships in February will be in St. Moritz, Switzerland, where Ted Ligety and Mikaela Shiffrin will look to defend titles.
ALPINE SKIING SEASON PREVIEWS: Men | Women
Canadian skier Phil Brown was fortunate to walk away from an airborne crash at the World Cup season opener in Soelden, Austria, on Sunday.
Brown failed to finish his first run, losing contact with the snow early on and falling hard onto his side.
He tweeted a video of the crash, with slow-motion replays, with a soundtrack of Irish singer Enya‘s “Only Time.”
The World Cup season continues with men’s and women’s slaloms in Levi, Finland, in three weeks.
MORE: Ted Ligety recovers to finish fifth in first race in 9 months