AP

Mikaela Shiffrin wins again, off to best start of anyone since 2012

Leave a comment

Mikaela Shiffrin won for the second straight day and for the fifth time this season, the best start to a World Cup campaign by any woman in four years.

The Olympic slalom champion mastered a giant slalom in Semmering, Austria, on Wednesday, just as she did Tuesday, but this time under far tougher conditions — falling snow and poor visibility.

“It was a big fight; there’s so much snow coming down,” Shiffrin said. “I was like, this isn’t good, it’s got to be slow.”

It wasn’t.

Shiffrin prevailed by .15 of a second over two runs and had the fastest first run by .08. France’s Tessa Worley was second on consecutive days, followed by German Viktoria Rebensburg.

FULL RESULTS | RUN 2 REPLAY

Shiffrin earned her third career World Cup giant slalom victory to go with her 22 slalom wins, all before turning 22 years old. She now leads the World Cup overall standings by 115 points over Swiss Lara Gut through 14 of a scheduled 37 races.

“Two days ago, I was wondering if I would ever win a GS again, and now I have three wins,” Shiffrin said.

Shiffrin became the first female skier to win five World Cup races in one season before Jan. 1 since Slovenian Tina Maze in 2012.

If Shiffrin wins Thursday’s slalom in Semmering (NBCSports.com/live, NBCSN at 11:30 a.m. ET), she will become the first man or woman to win six World Cup races before the new year since Bode Miller in 2004.

And she will be heavily favored to do so. Shiffrin has won the last six World Cup slaloms and the last 14 slaloms that she has started overall.

As for giant slalom, Shiffrin remains hungry despite the back-to-back success.

“It’s two victories, but in the same place,” she said. “It would be nice to repeat it at a new venue.”

MORE: Bode Miller’s ‘dream of returning’ this season ‘quashed’

USA Hockey to start reaching out to potential replacement players

Getty Images
Leave a comment

USA Hockey will begin reaching out to “alternate players” to determine their interest in playing for the U.S. at the women’s world championship next week amid a potential boycott by its national team.

The contact is taking place in the event a resolution cannot be reached between USA Hockey and the women’s national team in a wage dispute.

“It’s important for everyone to understand clearly that our objective is to have the players we named as the U.S. women’s national team be the ones that compete in the world championship,” said Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey, in a statement. “Productive conversations have taken place this week and are ongoing in our collective efforts to reach a resolution.”

The alternate players are in the professional NWHL and college, according to USA Today, a report that USA Hockey would not confirm.

U.S. captain Meghan Duggan has said every player in the U.S. national team player pool, plus under-18 national team players, committed to not playing at worlds unless the wage dispute is resolved.

The world championship tournament starts March 31 in Plymouth, Mich.

As of Thursday evening, no resolution has come between USA Hockey and its women’s national team. They met formally on Monday for more than 10 hours, with both sides calling it productive.

Neither side has said when its next scheduled meeting will take place.

On Tuesday, USA Hockey said it postponed a pre-worlds camp that was to run through next Tuesday in Traverse City, Mich., and canceled a scheduled Friday exhibition against Finland.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: NHL asked for decision on Olympics by end of April

NHL asked for decision on Olympics by end of April

Getty Images
Leave a comment

International Ice Hockey Federation President Rene Fasel tells The Associated Press he needs to know by the end of April whether NHL players will be cleared to play in the South Korea Olympics next year.

NHL team owners have made it clear they don’t want to stop their season again for the Winter Games and put their stars at risk of injury. The reluctance has come up before and yet the NHL has participated in the Olympics since 1998. This time, however, there seems to be an impasse.

The head of the NHL Players Association, Donald Fehr, says the players want to participate and hopes the league will take advantage of the chance to market the game in Asia.

However, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly says without “material change to the current status quo, NHL players will not be participating in the 2018 Winter Olympics.”

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: 2018 Olympic hockey groups set