USA Hockey Press Conference

U.S. men’s hockey coach mum on goalies for Sochi

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The U.S. men’s hockey team has announced its captain for the Sochi Olympics, but head coach Dan Bylsma hasn’t given any clarity as to who the Americans will have as their starting goaltender.

It’s expected to be one of three guys: Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings, Ryan Miller of the Buffalo Sabres, and Jimmy Howard of the Detroit Red Wings. But which of them will get the nod when the U.S. begins its slate of round-robin games on Feb. 13 against Slovakia?

“That’s not a question I’m ready to answer for right now,” Bylsma said to reporters today in a media teleconference. “Whether I know it or not, you’re not going to find out today.”

Bylsma visited with Quick after he allowed three goals on only seven shots and was yanked 20 minutes into a 4-1 loss to Bylsma’s Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night. Quick has lost five of his last six starts, but up to his poor showing against the Pens, that had been primarily put down to the Kings’ lack of scoring.

Miller, like Quick, has done relatively well despite not having much goal support. On Thursday, he stopped 38 shots in a 3-2 Sabres win over Phoenix and despite a 14-20-3 record, he still carries a .927 save percentage. Then there’s Howard, who is expected to return to the ice for the Red Wings tonight after a four-game absence due to a knee injury.

If history is an indication, the U.S. is likely to go ahead with multiple goalies throughout the Olympics, as they’ve done in every Olympics since 1980. Bylsma did note today that he didn’t philosophically believe in ideally sticking with one goalie for an entire tournament.

The closest they’ve come to using a sole goalie during that period was at Nagano in 1998, when John Vanbiesbrouck came in for a 49-second stint during the Americans’ quarterfinal loss to the Czech Republic.

U.S. Olympic women’s hockey team roster marked by youth

IPC president: Now is the right time to have Paralympics in Brazil

Paralympics
AP
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International Paralympic Committee president Philip Craven said the upcoming Paralympic Games, which open in 100 days, could not be going to a better city than Rio de Janeiro.

“Many people might think that it’s not the time to go there now with the economic and political problems,” Craven said in a phone interview last week. “But is that not just the right time to be going, to just show what sport can truly do to mobilize and galvanize a people?”

And the Zika virus?

“We believe that the measures that have been communicated on a regular basis, reiterated to our member nations, will be effective, and the Zika virus will not have a major effect on the Games,” Craven said.

The Paralympics will visit South America for the first time in their 15th edition. The Rio Games, which run from Sept. 7-18, will have more broadcast coverage than ever and an expected record number of athletes and nations in the largest number of sports on a single Paralympic program.

NBC and NBCSN will air a record 66 hours of coverage of the Games. The USOC will provide live coverage at TeamUSA.org, too.

How the Paralympics will deal with the well-known issues facing Brazil will be largely impacted by how the preceding Olympics handle them.

But one issue unique to the Paralympics came to light four weeks ago.

A British Paralympic champion swimmer was disqualified from a European Championships event because his Olympic rings tattoo was not covered (he later competed at the meet with the tattoo covered).

An International Paralympic Committee swimming rule states, “body advertisements are not allowed in any way whatsoever (this includes tattoos and symbols).”

The rule will cover all sports at the Rio Paralympics. Craven said he has not heard of any appeals by para-athletes to change the rule.

The IPC will take a “common-sense approach” to enforcing the rule in Rio to make sure there are no disqualifications by communicating thoroughly to national committees, Craven said.

“IPC has got very strict rules for the Paralympic Games and for other events prohibiting body advertisements, and this includes tattoos for commercial brands and non-IPC symbols, such as the Olympic rings,” Craven said. “These rules were emphasized, re-emphasized to all competing teams and swimmers at that particular event, and, similarly, we’ll be doing so prior to the Games in Rio.”

Some Paralympians identify themselves as Olympians, too — some have event competed in both Games — but Craven made the difference clear.

The 65-year-old, five-time Paralympic wheelchair basketball player likened Olympic rings tattoos at the Paralympics to an NFL player with an NBA team tattoo.

Craven added that there has been no pressure from the IOC regarding the rule and that he would expect a hypothetical Paralympian competing at the Olympics to cover up a tattoo of the Agitos, which is the Paralympic logo.

“We want Paralympic athletes to show pride in promoting the Paralympic movement, including our symbol, which is the Agitos, which is very different from the Olympic rings,” Craven said. “When you have a Paralympic athlete, a para-athlete sporting a branding from another event, then it just creates confusion. It creates confusion for the IPC. It creates confusion for the IOC.”

MORE: Paralympic champ long jumper still hopes to be allowed into Olympics

First four U.S. Olympic archers qualified; Khatuna Lorig waits

Khatuna Lorig
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The first four U.S. Olympic archers for Rio are known, while Khatuna Lorig will learn in three weeks if she makes her sixth Olympic team.

A full men’s team of 2012 Olympic team silver medalists Brady Ellison and Jake Kaminski and first-time Olympian Zach Garrett earned their spots at the U.S. Olympic Trials that ended Monday.

Mackenzie Brown clinched her first Olympic berth by winning the women’s trials Monday.

The U.S. can send two more women to Rio if it qualifies a full team at a World Cup event in Turkey in three weeks. Those two women would be Hye Youn Park and Lorig.

Lorig, 42, is best known for teaching archery to Jennifer Lawrence before “The Hunger Games.” Lorig also competed in the 1992 Olympics for the Unified Team, the 1996 and 2000 Games for Georgia and the 2008 and 2012 Olympics for the U.S.

Lorig earned team bronze at Barcelona 1992 and finished fifth and fourth individually at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

The U.S. Olympic team alternates are Daniel McLaughlin and La Nola Pritchard.

MORE: Full list of athletes qualified for U.S. Olympic team