USA vs. Slovakia/Nash vs. Zuccarello Open Thread

The Olympics got off to a great start for Ranger participants as Henrik Lundqvist, Carl Hagelin and Team Sweden downed Jaromir Jagr and the Czech Republic 4-2 yesterday.

Lundqvist stopped 27 of 29 shots and had an assist on the second goal, while Carl Hagelin was held pointless with two shots on goal in 12:25 of action.

…i initially criticized Lundqvist on Twitter for the Jagr goal as it was basically a one handed, back hander that dribbled into the net, but upon further review he was absolutely interfered with before the puck got to him…

Photo

…damn, Jagr's still got it.

The two marque games today for Rangers fans are obviously Team USA vs. Slovakia (7:30am, NBCSN) and Team Nash vs. Team Zuccarello Team Canada vs. Norway (12pm, USA Network).

Derek Stepan will be a healthy scratch for Team USA, while Ryan Callahan will play on a line with Zach Parise and David Backes. On defense, Ryan McDonagh is paired with Kevin Shattenkirk. Here's the American's full lineup (via United States of Hockey)…

Forwards:
Zach Parise – David Backes – Ryan Callahan
Dustin Brown – Ryan Kesler – Patrick Kane
James van Riemsdyk – Joe Pavelski – Phil Kessel
Max Pacioretty – Paul Stastny – T.J. Oshie
Blake Wheeler

Defense:
Cam Fowler – John Carlson
Ryan Suter – Paul Martin
Ryan McDonagh – Kevin Shattenkirk
Brooks Orpik

Scratched: Justin Faulk and Derek Stepan

…obviously not very shocking to see Stepan scratched. Pumped to see Cally on the top line though.

The big news from Team USA yesterday was that Dan Byslma named Jonathan Quick his starting goalie over Ryan MIller.

…i know Team USA likely doesn't sniff a medal four years ago in Vancouver without Miller, but I think Bylsma made the right decision here as, in my opinion, Quick is the better of the two netminders.

Over at Team Canada, Rick Nash talked to Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com about his selection to the team…

"Yeah, my expectations weren't too high. I had an injury and wasn't having the best season. But Steve [Yzerman] called me and said they believed in my game and trusted me as a player from my past. They put a lot of trust in me and I was honored by that."

Here's Nash on whether his inclusion onto the team lifted a weight off his shoulders and led to his improved play with the Rangers…

"Whether that was the reason I was producing or not I'm not going to worry about it. But pucks just started to go in."

…i think it's too coincidental for it not to be a large reason for his turnaround.

…Nash has always had success during international competition, so I'm looking forward to a real strong effort from him at the Olympics.

Meanwhile, Mats Zuccarello discussed Norway's daunting task of taking on Team Canada (via IIHF)…

“We have to try to play our game. I think we can play our max and Canada, with their skill set and the players they have, it’s going to be tough for us. But you never know. All we can do is go out and give 100 percent and try to play a perfect game, and hopefully Canada’s a little jet-lagged.”

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Kevin

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