Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin

Evgeni Malkin assures NHL players will be safe in Sochi

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Russian hockey star Evgeni Malkin has sensed Pittsburgh Penguins teammate Sidney Crosby is concerned about the safety of the Sochi Olympics.

So he’s told Crosby and other NHL players not to worry.

“He’s definitely a bit wary about the Olympics due to the events that happened, due to the explosions in Volgograd, and in Chechnya there are always blasts,” Malkin told R-Sport on Thursday. “That’s the question that worries them [NHL players] the most: Will it be safe in Sochi or not? But other than that, everyone’s burning to get to Russia, to play the Olympics, although they’re worried about security. But I’ve told them that everything will be OK, that they shouldn’t worry.”

Malkin will hope to help Russia to its first Olympic hockey gold medal since the days of the Soviet Union and the Unified Team.

Crosby will hope to lead Canada to a successful defense of the 2010 Olympic title. Canada looks to become the first nation to win back-to-back Olympic hockey golds since the Soviet Union.

1980 Soviet hockey captain reflects on Miracle on Ice

Nathan Chen holds off Yuzuru Hanyu to win first Grand Prix

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U.S. champion Nathan Chen opened the Grand Prix season by beating Olympic gold-medal favorite Yuzuru Hanyu.

Chen, 18, held off Hanyu at Rostelecom Cup in Moscow, totaling 293.79 points to win by 3.02 over the Japanese megastar. Full scores are here.

Chen landed four quadruple jumps in a strong but imperfect free skate for his first Grand Prix title in his second senior international season.

Hanyu outscored Chen in the free skate, but the American benefited from his 5.69-point lead from Friday’s short program.

Hanyu, the reigning Olympic and world champion, has never won his opening Grand Prix start in eight tries.

He did three quadruple jumps in Saturday’s free skate rather than the planned five, but did not fall as he did in the short program.

Chen has now outscored Hanyu in three of their last four head-to-head events dating to February.

The Rostelecom Cup free dance and pairs and women’s free skates are later Saturday.

A full Rostelecom Cup broadcast schedule is here.

The Grand Prix season continues next weekend with Skate Canada, headlined by three-time U.S. champion Ashley Wagner and three-time world champion Patrick Chan.

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Olympic ski cross champion suffers serious knee injury

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Canadian Marielle Thompson, the reigning Olympic and World Cup ski cross champion, ruptured an ACL and MCL in a training crash in Switzerland.

Alpine Canada did not say when the accident happened or what Thompson’s chances are of returning to defend her Olympic title in PyeongChang.

Thompson flew from Switzerland to Vancouver for an MRI that confirmed the injury.

“I’ll be making a plan with my team moving forward and when the time is right getting back on the ski cross course stronger than ever,” Thompson said in a press release.

Thompson, 25, tore a meniscus in January 2015 and returned to competition 11 months later. She won seven of the 13 World Cup races last season.

Other Olympic medal contenders include Swede Sandra Näslund and Swiss Fanny Smith.

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MORE: Figure skating season broadcast schedule