Winter Olympics Sochi 2014

Winter Olympics Sochi 2014

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On Golden Ponds: Team Russia's Offense Looks for a Spark

By Jim Iovino
|  Monday, Feb 17, 2014  |  Updated 9:21 AM EDT
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Alexander Ovechkin #8 of Russia looks on during the Men's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round Group A game against the United States on day eight of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Bolshoy Ice Dome on February 15, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

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There will be no repeat of the classic 2010 gold medal game between the U.S. and Canada in Sochi.

Because of the way the bracket is set up, the best the teams can hope for is a matchup in the semifinals, with the winner advancing to play for gold.

Team USA will play Wednesday in the quarterfinals against either the Czech Republic or Slovakia. The Canadians will play at the same time against either Switzerland or Latvia.

While the schedule doesn't lend itself for a 2010 gold medial rematch, it does provide a chance for Team USA to meet Russia for gold -- if both teams reach the finals, of course.

While Team USA is feeling good after winning all three of its games so far, there is a lot of concern right now about Team Russia's power outage. The home country is wondering what happened to all of the offensive firepower that was supposed to lead the team to gold.

Since scoring just over one minute into the first period of Team Russia's first game against Slovenia, Alex Ovechkin hasn't found the back of the net again. He has just one goal on 17 shots, and he hasn't been called upon in either of the team's two shootouts.

Evgeni Malkin, meanwhile, also hasn't scored since putting Russia up 2-0 in the first period of that first game of the tourney. He's put 14 shots on goal.

Putting aside his smooth moves in shootouts, all-world sniper Ilya Kovalchuk has just one goal on only FOUR shots through three games. Even worse, he wasn't on the ice for the team's practice on Monday after getting injured in the second period of the team's shootout win against Slovakia.

But as reporter Dmitry Chesnokov tweeted, his absence isn't a long-term concern.

 

 

Alexander Semin's absence from the entire tournament, however, cannot be explained. He has zero goals on four shots in three games. That's basically what many come to expect from Semin at times like this. There may have been good reasons for him not to be included on the team's original Olympic roster...

Amidst all of the doom and gloom, there is a slimmer of hope. The Russians may have caught a break from the scheduling gods, who gave them a matchup with Norway in their qualification game on Tuesday. The Norge has given up the second-most goals in the tourney (12) and has only scored three of their own -- exactly one in each game they've played.

This means Russia has one more chance to right the ship and get the offense back on track. It's a luxury most teams don't have at this point of the tourney. Ovi and the boys better take advantage of the opportunity. All of Russia is counting on them.

For a complete look at the schedule for the rest of the tournament, click here.

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