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Olympic Hockey Day 8 Preview

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Throughout the entire 2018 Winter Games, NBC Olympics staff will preview the upcoming slate of hockey games and recap the prior day’s action.

Men’s Tournament
Canada vs. Czech Republic, 10:10 p.m. ET | LIVE STREAM

Canada’s offensive attack was overwhelming in its first game against Switzerland, but a consistent presence up front will be critical as the 2014 gold medalists look to defend their title.

The Czech Republic ran into a hot goalie and a raucous crowd in its opening game against South Korea, but still managed to escape with a 2-1 victory.

USA-SVK Recap| OAR-SLO Recap

Korea vs. Switzerland, 2:40 a.m. ET | LIVE STREAM

The Swiss looked overmatched against Canada in its first game and will look to rebound vs. the host country Saturday. After failing to match Canada’s skill level and physical intensity, Switzerland will look to gain some confidence against Korea.

OAR vs. USA, 7:10 a.m. ET | LIVE STREAM

The last time these two sides met, American forward T.J. Oshie played hero, beating reigning Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky four times in a shootout to defeat Russia 3-2 in a thrilling preliminary round contest in Sochi. Much has changed four years later. The matchup is now technically the United States vs. the Olympic Athletes from Russia, and only two players from the 2014 game will take the ice in PyeongChang: OAR forwards Pavel Datsyuk and Ilya Kovalchuk.

Both squads are coming off of much-needed victories after suffering upsets to open the tournament. The point Team USA earned in its overtime loss to Slovenia could prove crucial, as a win over OAR would put the U.S. at 7 points and guarantee a bye to the quarterfinals.

Slovenia vs. Slovakia, 7:10 a.m. ET | LIVE STREAM

Both teams lost their second game of the Olympics after earning surprising victories to open up the tournament. Slovakia upset OAR, the tournament favorite, but fell to Team USA Friday. Slovenia looked out of place against OAR in an 8-2 defeat and struggled to compete.

Women’s Tournament
OAR vs. Switzerland, 10:10 p.m. ET, CNBC | LIVE STREAM

Alina Muller has led Switzerland’s offensive attack with six goals as the team looks to improve on its 2014 bronze-medal finish. OAR has only scored one goal in three games so far and will likely struggle to keep up offensively with the Swiss.

The winner of this game will face Canada in the semifinals.

Finland vs. Sweden, 2:40 a.m. ET | LIVE STREAM

Noora Raty has looked sharp between the pipes but has not gotten the necessary support from her teammates to help Finland advance in the tournament. With one more shot to qualify for the semifinals, Finland hopes Raty’s presence in the crease will motivate the squad. Many observers thought Finland could challenge one of the North American teams in the preliminary round, but that was not the case.

Chinese figure skating judges banned for biased Olympic scoring

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Two Chinese figure skating judges were suspended by the International Skating Union for biased judging at the PyeongChang Olympics.

Chen Weiguang and Huang Feng had “preferential marking” for top Chinese skaters Jin Boyang (fourth place in PyeongChang) and the silver medalist pairs’ team of Sui Wenjing and Han Cong, respectively, according to the ISU.

Chen was banned two years and excluded from the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. Huang got a one-year ban.

Chen awarded her highest grades of execution scores of the men’s competition to Jin, as well as her second-highest program components scores, trailing only gold medalist Yuzuru Hanyu. Both sets of scores, in both the short and long programs, were out of line with the other eight judges.

“There is evidence of preference for the Chinese skater and prejudice against his strongest competitors,” an ISU report read. “Her marks were completely unrealistic.”

The pairs’ judge Huang “obviously favored his pair also vis-à-vis the other top candidates for the Olympic gold medal,” the ISU said in a report, referencing inflated scores for Sui and Han and lower scores for gold and bronze medalists Aljona Savchenko and Bruno Massot of Germany and Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford of Canada.

Huang was warned one month before the Olympics by the ISU for biased judging at the December 2017 Grand Prix Final pairs’ event.

Both suspensions are subject to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

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MORE: Adam Rippon opines on figure skating future

Javier Fernandez to skip Grand Prix, still compete next season

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Javier Fernandez, who in PyeongChang became the first Spanish Olympic figure skating medalist, will skip the fall Grand Prix series but return for January’s European Championships, which could be his final competition.

Europeans will be Fernandez’s focus for the season, his agent said Tuesday.

Fernandez, 26, added an Olympic bronze medal to his 2015 and 2016 World titles. He has said that his third Olympics in PyeongChang would be his last. But Fernandez did not say he would retire after the Winter Games, though he did skip the world championships in March.

Fernandez now plans to compete in his 13th straight European Championships in Minsk in January. He won the last six titles. It’s unknown if he will continue on to the world championships in Saitama, Japan, in March.

In Fernandez’s absence, the top male singles skaters in the fall Grand Prix season should be double Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu, PyeongChang silver medalist Shoma Uno and American Nathan Chen, who was fifth at the Olympics after a disastrous short program but ran away with March’s world title by the largest margin in history.

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MORE: Adam Rippon opines on figure skating future