Without NHL, Olympics open opportunity for amateurs

Besides that, expectations are to go over there and compete for a medal. In fact, it was surprising he lasted that long. "I miss home, but playing hockey is what I love to do". With the National Hockey League set up, you fly over there, you have a small window to practice in and then you're right in the games. Olympic ice hockey is played on a rink measuring 98 feet by 197 feet (30 meters by 60 meters).

From the Lucky Loonie to the Sidney Crosby's golden goal, Canadians have enjoyed great hockey during the Olympics but an Angus Reid Institute study, released on February 7, states one in five hockey viewers (17 per cent) are not going to watch at all this time around.

"I never thought I'd be with the Olympic team", he said. I was so excited.

Kelly called his selection to the Olympic team "a huge honour - a dream come true".

And yet even that moment proved bittersweet.

"Our youngest is 5 and he still sees the Sabres on TV and says 'Daddy's team, ' " Gionta said. This is the first time since 1994 that National Hockey League players won't be represented in the Olympics. He made an impression at the Deutschland Cup, an worldwide tournament in November that was essentially an Olympics tryout for the players involved.

"I think everybody has hit their stride and making great passes, great plays", Monique Lamoureux said after the team's final tune up before the puck drops tomorrow afternoon against Finland.

Heading into PyeongChang, Team USA is still reeling from a dramatic loss in the final round of the 2014 Sochi Olympic games, where Canada secured a 3-2 win in overtime.

Team USA beat Finland 8-2 in the Four Nations Cup in Wesley Chapel, Florida, where the team moved its residency program past year.

An AHL all-star in 2010 who was also deemed the league's fastest skater, Sanguinetti struggled in his early 20s to develop the balanced two-way game the NHL demands. If the team reaches the podium, it will continue a streak of success: With a similar makeup, the 2014 version of the team won silver and bronze at the Sochi 2014 Games.

He is in his fourth season in the KHL. His most recent two seasons have been spent in Switzerland's top professional league, where, on the larger scale of worldwide ice and with the wisdom that experience and maturity bring, his career experienced a rebirth.

A number of the women's players from Team USA and Team Canada played with or against each other in college - turning former teammates into arch rivals. It's one of the best rivalries in sport, and I might be a little bit biased. "That takes time for those guys to develop that as players, and I think he's shown that consistency". "I understand both sides". Just getting in that right situation whether it's an injury or whatever, where you slide right in and you play, and you play enough to play with confidence. "You kind of just sit around waiting". And to be honest, I didn't think it was going to happen before I graduated college. You can sense it and feel it. So... that's the main thing for me. "I get to go all over the world, see all these different cities and experience all different walks of life". Other than that, there's no real answer.

Those efforts were on display during Saturday's practice, whether it was subtle glove taps during breaks, or Poulin and Peters huddling to talk shop near the blueline while Scrivens manned the net during a breakout drill.

Shortly before being named to the Olympic team, Zhou transitioned from the junior level to senior. Bruins all-star Brad Marchand was the 71st pick overall, one ahead of Islanders forward Cal Clutterbuck.

"Every single person on our team is on the team for a specific reason", captain Meghan Duggan says. And the 6-foot-5, 230 pound forward was thrust further into the spotlight after winning gold at the World Juniors previous year.

"When you get into hockey you enjoy it", said Desjardins.

That the NHL, IIHF and International Olympic Committee couldn't get a deal done arguing who would pay, and who would get the profits instead of looking beyond dollars to the good of the sport is a sad example of how greed trumps the ideals the Olympics are supposed to stand for. "The unity and the strength and the energy you gain in a locker room from going through something like that".

  • Stacy Allen