It's October 29, and there are 100 days until the start of the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. The United States Olympic Committee has turned New York City's Times Square into a mini Olympic Village. More than 40 Olympians, Paralympians, and Olympic hopefuls are on hand to do interviews to get fans excited about the Games.
One of those athletes is Paralympic sled hockey player Rico Roman. He has a huge smile on his face as he talks about his road to Sochi. And when a reporter shows him a Topps card with his face on it, Roman's excitement is uncontainable. "No way! I haven't even seen that!" he exclaims.
Unlike many athletes, Roman, a 32-year-old Army veteran, never dreamed of competing in the Games, let alone having his own trading card. "But you get [hurt] overseas," he says, "and it gives you a totally different path."
At noon today, the US and Canadian women's hockey teams meet in the gold medal round of the 2014 tournament. It's a rematch of the 2010 final, and it should be intense.
Four years ago, the Canadians defeated the US 2-0 to capture its third-straight gold medal. It was the Americans' second silver medal in three tournaments — in both cases they were runners up to Team Canada. Since then, the rivalry between these two teams has gotten fierce. Just a few months ago, during an exhibition game, the two teams got into an all-out brawl:
The 2014 Olympic men's hockey tournament starts today, and all eyes will be on Canada and the US. Canada is looking to defend its 2010 gold medal, while the Americans want to bring home their first hockey gold since 1980 — and avenge a tough overtime loss to the Canadians four years ago.
But there are more than those two teams playing for the gold medal. Ten other countries want to skate out of Sochi as world champions. And while not every team has an equal shot at glory, there are a few nations who could find themselves on the medal podium.
Here are three teams to watch — not wearing a maple leaf or the stars and stripes and their sweaters — as the 2014 tournament gets underway.
Four years ago Canada beat the U.S. in an epic gold medal game. Now Team USA has revenge — and gold — on its mind as it heads to Sochi
Every four years NHL teammates are transformed into bitter rivals, taking off their pro sweaters in favor of their national colors for two weeks. Teammates like Chicago Blackhawks stars Patrick Kane of the U.S. and Canada's Jonathan Toews, who have celebrated two Stanley Cups together, are suddenly on the opposite ends of the ice, competing for the gold medal. It's what makes the men's hockey tournament one of the most intense and high-profile events of the Winter Games.
"[Your NHL teammates] become teammates with guys you're always competing against," says Sidney Crosby, the Pittsburgh Penguins' captain and Olympic hero for Team Canada. "All of a sudden they're on the same team and you're on a different team. It's a little weird that way."
Any friendships or NHL team spirit must be put aside — at least for the span of the Games. After all, national pride is on the line, and no two countries know that better than the U.S. and Canada.
When Hockey Canada unveiled its 2014 Winter Olympics men's roster last month, Tampa Bay Lightning sniper Steven Stamkos was on the team. The only problem was he was out with a broken leg and hadn't played since November. His recovery was going faster than anticipated, and Hockey Canada hoped Stamkos would recover in time to be in game shape for Sochi. But yesterday, the Lightning announced that his recovery was ongoing and that he had not healed enough to be cleared for play.
So Stamkos is out for Sochi. And his teammate Martin St. Louis is in.
Athletes are heading to Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympics, which begin on Friday. And when Team USA men's hockey goalies Ryan Miller, Jonathan Quick, and Jimmy Howard back their bags, their gear will include specially designed helmets. Over the last few days, the three goalies have been revealing their Olympic masks through social media.
With so much attention focused on the Super Bowl, it's easy to forget that there are other sports being played right now. So here's a reminder from the world of hockey.
The Edmonton Oilers have had a terrible season. They're the worst team in the Western Conference. and their fans have had very little to celebrate. But last night, the Oilers won their third in a row by defeating the San Jose Sharks in Edmonton, 3-0. That's a quality win, any way you look at it. What makes it special, though, is the performance of Oilers goalie Ben Scrivens.
Yes, Scrivens got the shutout — his fourth of the season. But he had to make 59 saves to earn it. And that's something no other goalie in NHL history has ever done. By stopping all 59 shots, he set an league record for most saves in a regulation shutout, as well as an Edmonton record for most saves in a game.
That's a career night — and here are the highlights: