At noon (USA Network), the men's Olympic ice hockey competition begins as Team Sweden takes on the Czech Republic.
The obvious draw for Rangers fans is the matchup of Henrik Lundqvist & Carl Hagelin vs. Jaromir Jagr.
With Lundqvist's return to form after a slow start to the season, Sweden is now seen as a favorite for the gold medal. And despite his struggles, none of Lundqvist's Swedish teammates ever lost faith in him (via NHL.com)…
"I don't think us players ever doubted him," Sweden captain Henrik Zetterberg said. "Every time we come here for the national team he plays well. He got us to gold in Turin and he played well in Vancouver too. We never doubted him. I think it was more of the media people that saw his game, how he was with the Rangers at the start, but it's not just him. The whole team had a tough start. They had a lot of injuries."
Lundqvist told Dan Rosen at NHL.com that he was able to turn his season around by focusing on the smaller details of his game, such as playing deeper in his crease, where he is most comfortable. The King said he realized he was challenging shooters too often which was taking him out of his comfort zone. He added that once he started to play with more patience he started to play much better.
Here's Lundqvist on his strategy at Sochi…
"I wait for the shots, but it's always tough to be patient when you face good players," Lundqvist said. "You get anxious. You want to make the first move sometimes. But on big ice, they come wider. The small ice is straight ahead. It's different. You have to get used to it. I don't know if it's tougher, but it's different."
…very interesting to here Lundqvist state that playing deeper helped his game as most so-called experts felt as though being more aggressive and on top of the crease would help his game.
Here's Jagr on facing his former Rangers teammate (via Expressen)…
"I'm going to score on Lundqvist, in the corner picking hand side. I'll let him do some work."
…Jagr may be joking, but the word is definitely out there that Lundqvist's weakness is glove side high.