Men’s hockey preview: Pressure’s on for Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby, Patrick Kane

Leave a comment

All games can be seen live online. TV listings can be found here.

EVENT SCHEDULE

Feb. 12 – Czech Republic vs. Sweden and Latvia vs. Switzerland: both at noon ET

Feb. 13 – Finland vs. Austria: 3 a.m. ET; Russia vs. Slovenia and Slovakia vs. United States: both at 7:30 a.m. ET; Canada vs. Norway: at noon ET

Feb. 14 – Czech Republic vs. Latvia: 3 a.m. ET; Sweden vs. Switzerland: 7:30 a.m. ET; Canada vs. Austria and Norway vs. Finland at noon ET

Feb. 15 – Slovakia vs. Slovenia – 3 a.m. ET; United States vs. Russia: 7:30 a.m. ET; Switzerland vs. Czech Republic and Sweden vs. Latvia at noon ET

Feb. 16 – Austria vs. Norway – 3 a.m. ET; Russia vs. Slovakia and Slovenia vs. United States at 7:30 a.m. ET; Finland vs. Canada at noon Et

Feb. 18 – Playoff game 1 – 3 a.m. ET; Playoff game 2 – 7:30 a.m. ET; Playoff games 3 and 4 are both at noon ET

Feb. 19 – Qualifying game 1 – 3 a.m. ET; Qualifying game 2 – 7:30 a.m. ET; Qualifying games 3 and 4 are both at noon ET

Feb. 21 – Semifinal game 1 – 7 a.m. ET; Semifinal game 2 – noon ET

Feb. 22 – Bronze medal game – 10 a.m. ET

Feb. 23 – Gold medal game – 7 a.m. ET

Want to know key differences between NHL and Olympic hockey? Click here.

U.S. OUTLOOK

The goalie debate of Jonathan Quick vs. Ryan Miller may seem to lean toward Quick, but previous tournaments show that a lot can change (even in a short period of time). The U.S. brass seems pretty happy with either Miller or Quick in net, though.

The United States’ best forwards are now in their prime after surprising for silver in 2010, giving the U.S. its best top-end options since Mike Modano’s peak (that is particularly true when it comes to Patrick Kane, who has matured on and off the ice).

The likes of Kane and Zach Parise will be leaned upon heavily for offense, as the deeper ranks of the team lean more toward versatility and grit than scoring touch. Ryan Suter is far and away the standout from the United States’ defense corps.

PHT’s Mike Halford asks: Did the U.S. go too young on defense, though?

It’ll be very interesting to see if this ballyhooed young group can live up to its potential while handling the pressure. Remember, one of the best Americans in Vancouver was 36-year-old Brian Rafalski, the team’s oldest player. He won best defenseman, made the tournament all-star team and skated with Suter as the team’s top defensive pair.

With Rafalski now gone, Suter looks to be the guy — which could be why Poile was comfortable surrounding Suter with so many young defensemen. At the end of the day, the American blueline sounds like it’ll rely on its star power to get through.

INTERNATIONAL OUTLOOK

Russia is aching for its first gold medal since 1992, with enormous pressure on Alex Ovechkin’s shoulders. Luckily, there are other forwards who are at or near his level on that roster, from Evgeni Malkin to Pavel Datsyuk and departed NHL star Ilya Kovalchuk.

PHT asks: Are expectations too high for Russia?

Defending gold medal-winner Canada boasts the best on-paper roster as usual. Much like the U.S., they’ll face questions regarding whether they can dominate on the international ice surface after winning gold on familiar NHL-size ice in Vancouver.

PHT asks: Will goaltending cost Canada?

There are plenty of other countries with reasonable hopes of winning a gold medal (or at least getting on the podium), with Sweden getting plenty of consideration thanks to gold from 2006, Henrik Lundqvist and an impressive young group of defensemen.

PHT asks: Are the Swedes healthy enough?

PHT also asks:

Do Austria, Norway, Latvia and Slovenia have a chance?

Can goaltending carry Finland through?

Can Slovakia surprise again?

Will the Czechs regret their snubs?

Can Switzerland still sneak up?

Chloe Dygert crashes over guard rail at world championships, has surgery

Leave a comment

American Chloé Dygert crashed over a guard rail at the world road cycling championships time trial, where she appeared en route to a repeat title, and underwent leg surgery as a result.

Dygert, who last year won by the largest margin in history as the youngest-ever champion, lost control of her bike while approaching a curve to the right. Her front wheel bobbled, and she collided with the barricade, flipping over into an area with grass.

Dygert, who had a left leg laceration, was tended to by several people, put on a stretcher and taken to a hospital in Bologna, Italy, about 25 miles from the worlds host of Imola.

“We are relieved that this crash was not worse than what it could have been,” USA Cycling chief of sport performance Jim Miller said in a press release. “While this crash is distressing, Chloe is young and a fighter. With Chloe’s determination, we know she will be back riding before we know it. For now, we want her to focus on healing.”

About 10 minutes after the crash, Dutchwoman Anna van der Breggen won her first time trial title.

Van der Breggen took silver the last three years behind Dygert and countrywoman Annemiek van Vleuten, who missed this year’s race after breaking her wrist last week in the Giro Rosa.

Dygert, 23, had a 26-second lead at the 14-kilometer time check of the 31-kilometer race. Full results are here.

Dygert qualified for the Tokyo Olympics when she won last year’s world time trial title. She has been bidding to make the Olympics on the road and the track.

Worlds continue Friday with the men’s time trial airing on Olympic Channel and NBC Sports Gold for Cycling Pass subscribers at 8:15 a.m. ET. A full TV schedule is here.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: USA Cycling names Olympic team finalists

2020 French Open men’s singles draw, bracket

Leave a comment

Rafael Nadal was put into the same half of the French Open draw as fellow 2018 and 2019 finalist Dominic Thiem of Austria, with top-ranked Novak Djokovic catching a break.

Nadal, trying to tie Roger Federer‘s male record 20 Grand Slam singles titles, could play sixth-seeded German Alexander Zverev in the quarterfinals before a potential clash with Thiem, who just won the U.S. Open.

Djokovic, who is undefeated in 2020 save being defaulted out of the U.S. Open, could play No. 7 seed Matteo Berrettini of Italy in the quarterfinals before a possible semifinal with Russian Daniil Medvedev.

Medvedev is the fourth seed but is 0-3 at the French Open. Another possible Djokovic semifinal opponent is fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, who reached the fourth round last year.

The most anticipated first-round matchup is between three-time major champion Andy Murray and 2015 French Open champion Stan Wawrinka. In Murray’s most recent French Open match, he lost in five sets to Wawrinka in the 2017 semifinals.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women | TV Schedule

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

French Open Men's Draw French Open Men's Draw French Open Men's Draw French Open Men's Draw