Wednesday, February 12, 2014

2014 Sochi Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Tournament Schedule

Today, February 12th, begins the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games Men's Ice Hockey Tournament.

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The opening games will be the Czech Republic and Sweden on the USA Network and Latvia taking on Switzerland on MSNBC in Group C, with both starting at 12:00 PM Eastern Time.

The 10 hour time difference rears it's ugly head the next day, February 13th when a full slate of games dictates the first game of the day between Finland and Austria (NBC Sports Network (NBCSN)) airs live at 3 AM. The host Russians begin play against Slovenia at 7:30 AM on MSNBC while at the same time, the United States begins play against Slovakia on NBCSN. The day concludes with Canada vs. Norway on USA at 12 noon.

A similar schedule follows on Friday the 14th, with the Czech Republic vs. Latvia at 3 AM (MSNBC), Sweden vs. Switzerland (NBCSN) at 7:30 AM and a pair of games at noon, Canada vs. Austria (USA) and Norway vs. Finland (MSNBC).

Saturday the 15th has Slovakia vs Slovenia at 3 AM on MSNBC followed by the United States vs. Russia matchup on NBCSN at 7:30 AM (which you think would have been worthy of the main NBC Network) followed by the final Group C games at noon, Switzerland vs. the Czech Republic (NBCSN) and Sweden vs. Latvia (USA).

This raises the question, wouldn't 9 PM Moscow time and noon in North America be a better time for the United States vs. Russia game than 4:30 PM Moscow time and 7:30 AM in North America? Doesn't Russian TV have "prime time"? Honestly, 7 PM in Moscow is 10 AM in North America. Doesn't NBC pay enough to dictate at least a better start time for the United States vs Russia or wouldn't the host Russians prefer their game to be on at a later time than 4:30 in the afternoon?

The final day of group play arrives on Sunday the 16th. Austria plays Norway at 3 AM on USA, Russia meets Slovakia at 7:30 AM on USA in Group A as the United States meets Slovenia at the same time on NBCSN. Preliminary Round play concludes with Finland vs. Canada on USA at noon.

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The sweaters of the many Chicago Blackhawks competing in Sochi

Following the Preliminary Round, things get serious on February 18th, as the teams ranked 5th through 12th, who have not earned byes in the Preliminary Round, are all paired off in a one day series of knockout games, called the Qualification Playoffs, to determine who advances to the Quarterfinals. The day hockey begins at 3 AM (NBCSN) with games following at 7:30 AM (USA) with two more at noon (NBCSN & MSNBC) and is a day primed for upsets, with the lower ranked teams fighting for their lives with everything to gain and nothing to lose. A goalie on his day can eliminate a genuine medal contender in a format such as this and is a day of hockey not to be missed. We must question though, why two games are being held at the same time, rather than four consecutive games as in 2010 in Vancouver?

The process is repeated the very next day on February 19th when the Quarterfinals occur on the same time schedule, 3 AM NBCSN, 7:30 AM NBCSN and noon USA & MSNBC, another day of drama as the surviving teams from the day before take on the top four clubs, who will have been resting up for two days. Any of the major teams who slip into the Qualification Playoffs will be looking to correct any earlier slip-ups and keep their tournament alive in another day of elimination games. The matchups on this day will feature winners of each group in the Preliminary Round and all their associated star players in action.

The Semifinals occur on February 21st at 7 AM and noon, both on NBCSN, when the four surviving teams meet to determine which two will play for the bronze medal on Saturday, February 22nd on NBCSN with the gold medal final on Sunday, February 28th, finally on the main NBC network itself.

Here is a link to a nice grid of the matchups, times and networks for all the 2014 Olympic hockey games for the United States, and here is a day-by-day listing for Canada, which will have games on SportsNet, SportsNet1, TSN, TSN2 and the CBC, who will have the honors of carrying the bronze and gold medal games.

Dasherboard: With the Olympic Games starting today, it's not too late to get your hockey name with our Third String Goalie Hockey Name Generator. Choose from Canadian, Finnish, French-Canadian, Russian or Swedish!

The Third String Goalie
Hockey Name Generator!

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