It's the whole reason why the NHL is off for a little more than two weeks. The men's ice hockey event at the Winter Olympics will begin their preliminary round today. Every country will play three games, they'll get points, the top four teams will get a bye in the first round and the other twelve will face off in a proper tournament. It all starts at noon EST when the Czech Republic faces Sweden and Latvia faces Switzerland.
If you're in North America, then you'll have some kind of access to every single game from the first preliminary game to the gold medal final. The only challenge will be either finding the time to watch the games and/or trying to avoid spoilers until you do. Here's a very helpful schedule Travis Hughes put together way back in January with information on how to watch it on the SBN Winter Olympics site. For something Devils-centric, Matt put this post together.
These games are most certainly relevant to four New Jersey Devils players. Jaromir Jagr, Patrik Elias, and Marek Zidlicky will represent the Czech Republic. Damien Brunner will represent Switzerland. Since most of you are in North America, I fully expect many of you to be interested in what the United States and Canada does this year. Therefore, I think many of you will want to discuss what happens as it happens. So you can do all of that in this very post.
All discussion in this post should be about hockey at the Olympics. Usual gamethread rules apply: keep it clean, respectful, and relevant. This isn't the place to make trade proposals, whine about the coach, or anything about the Devils. If it's about the Olympic tournament, lines at the tournament, injuries (let's hope for no injuries), and the hockey games themselves, then it belongs here. If there's enough activity, then I'll put up new open posts as needed throughout the next two weeks.
2/17 Update: Tomorrow begins the tournament part of the men's hockey event. At 3 AM, Slovenia will play Austria; the winner will play Sweden on Wednesday. At 7:30 AM, Russia will play Norway; the winner will play Finland on Wednesday. At noon, Switzerland will play Latvia; the winner will play Canada on Wednesday. Also at noon, the Czech Republic will play Slovakia (this should be a massive game). The winner will play the United States on Wednesday.
So Jagr (2 G), Zidlicky (1 G, 2 A), Elias (if healthy), and Brunner will all play at the same time tomorrow. I suspect Brunner will play another game unless Latvia comes up big. The Czechs won't have it easy but I think they'll have the strength to pull through. Their potential games on Wednesday will be harder, of course. The semifinals will be on Friday; the third place game will be on Saturday; and the final will be on Sunday.