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U.S. women’s hockey players show solildarity in portraits

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The U.S. women’s hockey team is … family, powerful, united, strong, brave, together, limitless, fierce, bold, historic, ambitious, resilient, fearless and devoted.

All 23 players on the U.S. roster planning to boycott the world championship that starts in one week posted portraits on Twitter on Friday morning. Each player held a paper with a one-word descriptor.

The players plan to boycott the world championship tournament in Plymouth, Mich., unless their wage dispute with USA Hockey is settled.

The players believed they reached an agreement with USA Hockey in a 10-hour-plus meeting Monday, but USA Hockey’s later counter offer “didn’t reflect the progress of the negotiations,” according to the players’ representatives.

USA Hockey said Thursday that it will start reaching out to potential replacement players, but it still hopes to come to an agreement to field its original team in Plymouth.

“As we have maintained from the beginning, this issue is about more than the compensation of the current team: it’s about equitable treatment for female players now and in the future,” the players said in a statement Thursday. “A forward-looking agreement will benefit the next generation of players even more than the current players. For that reason, and the fact that the younger players identify with us, we are confident that they [potential replacement players] would choose not to play.”

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T.J. Oshie recreates Sochi Olympic shootout magic

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T.J. Oshie found himself in a familiar position Thursday night — beating Sergei Bobrovsky in a shootout, just like at the Sochi Olympics.

The Washington Capitals winger was first to go in a shootout with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

“I thought about it for five seconds, maybe,” Oshie said of his Olympic highlight, before taking his attempt on Bobrovsky.

Oshie remembered his four goals in six shootout tries on Bobrovsky in the memorable U.S. group-play win over Russia three years ago. He also remembered going five-hole on half of those attempts and scoring on all three.

Oshie went five-hole again Thursday after some internal debate.

“I wasn’t going to go five-hole because we faced each other in the Olympics, there, and I went there three times, but I thought I saw something, went for it,” Oshie said. “Luckily, it found the back of the net.”

It was the only goal of the shootout, handing the Capitals a 2-1 win.

Oshie, 30, said he has practiced shootouts since age 10.

“He’s a skilled guy on the shootouts,” Bobrovsky reportedly said. “He beat me again.”

Should the NHL participate in the PyeongChang Olympics, Oshie is a prime candidate for the U.S. roster.

He has scored a career-high 30 goals this season, ranking fourth among American players in the NHL, despite missing 13 of the team’s 73 games.

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USA Hockey to start reaching out to potential replacement players

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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.

“We are confident that they [potential replacement players] would choose not to play,” the U.S. players said in a statement.

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.

“We ask that they approve the original agreement that, the players believed, was acceptable to both parties after Monday’s meeting,” the players said in a statement. “Unless there is an agreement, the players remain resolved to bypass the defense of the world championship.”

Neither side has said when the next 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.

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