Patrick Kane

USA Hockey Olympic teams will be announced during Winter Classic

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As in 2010, the 2014 U.S. men’s Olympic hockey roster will be announced at the Winter Classic on New Year’s Day. In a change, the women’s team will also be named at the NHL’s annual outdoor game.

The men’s team will be announced at the conclusion of the Jan. 1 matchup between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings at The Big House at the University of Michigan. The women’s team will be named during the second intermission.

USA Hockey general manager David Poile also said half or more of the men’s Olympic hockey team will be veterans from the young 2010 squad that defied expectations to win a silver medal.

Forwards Patrick Kane and Zach Parise are expected to lead Team USA. The starting goalie is up for debate. Ryan Miller was spectacular in 2010, but his stats in the NHL have regressed since as he enters his age-33 season with the Sabres. There’s also Jonathan Quick, who led the Kings to the Stanley Cup in 2012, and Jimmy Howard, who is coming off two strong seasons with the Red Wings.

Both the U.S. men and women lost gold-medal games to Canada at the 2010 Olympics. The men will go into the Sochi Games as underdogs again. The U.S. and Canada are not historically strong at Winter Games staged in Europe or Asia.

Poile told reporters at the U.S. Olympic media summit in Park City, Utah, he believes the U.S. is one of four or five teams that legitimately has a shot to win gold in Sochi. The medal prediction service Infostrada has Russia winning gold, Finland silver and the Czech Republic bronze.

The U.S. women appear destined for a rematch with the rival Canadians in Sochi for gold. The Americans beat Canada (in Canada) for the World Championship in April.

U.S., Canada to get very familiar in leadup to Olympics

Mikaela Shiffrin wrestles with doubt in seconds before World Cup downhill debut

Mikaela Shiffrin, of the United States, skis during the third training run for the World Cup women's downhill ski race in Lake Louise, Alberta, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press via AP)
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After a momentary panic in the start house, Mikaela Shiffrin raced to a tie for 18th in the first downhill of her World Cup career in Lake Louise, Alberta, on Friday.

Shiffrin, the youngest Olympic slalom champion who has also won a World Cup giant slalom, has been slowly adding the speed events of super-G and downhill to her repertoire the last two seasons.

“It wasn’t bad,” Shiffrin said, according to SkiRacing.com. “I certainly didn’t risk anything crazy.”

Her result Friday, 1.99 seconds behind Slovenian winner Ilka Stuhec, came after Shiffrin was 18th, 24th and 30th fastest in downhill training runs the previous three days. Shiffrin also had to wait several minutes in the start house as the racer before her crashed (video here).

“That was just a bummer,” Shiffrin said, according to the Denver Post. “I was like, ‘Just don’t let it affect you,’ but being up there for 10 minutes, like, ‘What happened? What’s taking them so long? What’s going on? Is she hurt?’

“Then I started doubting myself, like my technique going off the jumps, which is actually pretty good. I was going back and forth between, ‘Should I even be doing this? Maybe I just should pull out because I don’t want to kill myself.’ Then I’m like, ‘You’re absolutely fine, you haven’t felt sketched out a single time on this track in the past three days, so stick with that. You don’t have to go crazy.'”

“To be fast in speed there certainly needs to be a certain level of risk, and I know that, but now, if [giant slalom] and slalom are my main priority this season, I don’t need to be going crazy in a downhill with flat light and after I got iced [waiting so long],” Shiffrin said, according to SkiRacing.com.

Stuhec won Friday’s race by .22 of a second over Italian Sofia Goggia. Swede Kajsa Kling was third.

A race replay can be seen here. Full results are here.

Lindsey Vonn, owner of a record 18 wins at Lake Louise, is missing the annual World Cup stop in Alberta due to a broken arm from a November crash. Vonn had raced at Lake Louise each of the previous 15 seasons.

Last season, Shiffrin made her World Cup debut in the super-G at Lake Louise and finished 15th.

The women have another downhill Saturday and a super-G on Sunday in Lake Louise, both streaming live on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app (schedule here).

MORE: Vonn eyes January return from her most painful injury

High-speed crash at World Cup downhill in Lake Louise (video)

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Swiss Joana Haehlen crashed into netting at high speed during a World Cup downhill at Lake Louise, Alberta, on Friday.

Haehlen, 24, lost her right ski after landing from a jump and sped uncontrollably off course. She braced for impact, slammed into red netting and was turned around before landing with neither of her skis still attached.

She lay on the snow while being attended to and eventually skied down the mountain on her own.

It caused a 10-minute delay before the next skier, American Mikaela Shiffrin, could take her run.

VIDEO: Vonn details the most painful injury of her career