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Russia men’s hockey coach quits month after Olympic title

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MOSCOW (AP) — Oleg Znarok has stepped down as coach of the Russian men’s hockey team less than two months after leading it to its first Olympic gold medal in 26 years.

Russian Hockey Federation president Vladislav Tretiak told Russian news agencies that Znarok “got tired psychologically” and will be replaced by Ilya Vorobyov for next month’s world championship, though he will still work with the team as a consultant.

It wasn’t immediately clear if the switch would be permanent.

Playing as “Olympic Athletes from Russia,” Znarok’s team beat Germany 4-3 in overtime for the gold medal in PyeongChang at the first tournament since 1994 without NHL players.

The last Russian team to win gold was the post-Soviet Unified Team in 1992. Znarok’s was the first to win gold exclusively representing Russia.

Znarok, 55, was hired in March 2014 to replace Zinetula Bilyaletdinov, who in Sochi led a Russian team that underwhelmed and was eliminated in the quarterfinals.

Znarok played for the Soviet Union and, after its breakup, was captain of the Latvian national team. He later coached Latvia at the 2010 Olympics, where it lost all four of its games with the worst goal differential in group play.

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MORE: U.S. captain, head coach named for mens hockey worlds

Meghan Duggan joins NBC Sports Boston

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U.S. Olympic hockey captain Meghan Duggan will join NBC Sports Boston’s coverage of the Bruins’ run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs starting Thursday.

Duggan, who took Olympic gold in PyeongChang and silver medals in 2010 and 2014, will be part of NBC Sports Boston’s 30-minute Bruins postgame shows along with The Sports Hub’s Michael Felger and two-time U.S. Olympian Tony Amonte.

The Bruins, Stanley Cup champions in 2011, open their first-round series with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Duggan’s Olympic teammate Monique Lamoureux-Morando joined the NHL Network as a studio analyst last month.

On March 6, two-time U.S. Olympian AJ Mleczko made her NHL game analyst debut for a Red Wings-Bruins contest on NBCSN after calling the last four Olympic women’s hockey tournaments for NBC.

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U.S. captain, head coach named for men’s hockey world championship

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After an Olympics without NHL players, the U.S. men’s hockey team brought back star power by naming the first member of its world championship team — Patrick Kane, the most accomplished player to suit up for worlds in at least a decade.

Kane, a two-time Olympian and 2010 silver medalist, was named captain for next month’s tournament in Denmark. More roster members are expected to be named later this week.

USA Hockey also named Detroit Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill as the world championship head coach, succeeding Olympic coach Tony Granato of the University of Wisconsin.

Kane and Blashill were available as their NHL teams did not make the Stanley Cup playoffs that start this week.

Kane played in one previous world championship — in 2008, following his rookie season with the Chicago Blackhawks when he earned the Calder Trophy. He co-led the U.S. at that world championship with 10 points.

Several players have gone more than 10 years between world championship appearances for the U.S., including Hockey Hall of Famers Mike Modano (12 years) and Phil Housley (11 years). Kane is the most accomplished American on a world championship team since Modano’s last appearance in 2005.

Blashill, coming off his third season guiding the Red Wings, was also head coach at 2017 Worlds, where the U.S. lost to Finland in the quarterfinals.

Blashill’s assistants are 2014 Olympic head coach Dan BylsmaDon Granato (Tony’s brother and Blackhawks assistant), and Seth Appert.

The U.S. last won worlds in 1960.

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