Wednesday Caps Clips: Let the Games Begin

David Boily - AFP

Daily Washington Capitals news and notes: The men's tournament gets underway, with Martin Erat, Nicklas Backstrom and Marcus Johansson kicking things off.

Your savory breakfast links:

  • Time to learn! Here's pretty much everything you could ever want to know about the men's hockey tournament. [RinkSI.comChicago TribuneAPCSNW]
  • Previewing that huge opening matchup between the Swedes and Czechs - aka Nicklas Backstrom vs. Martin Erat. [ESPN]
    • Programming note, #1: The first games of the qualifying round get underway at 12:00 pm ET today, with Latvia vs. Switzerland on MSNBC and Sweden vs. the Czech Republic on USA Network.
    • Programming note, #2: We'll have open threads for each day of the tournament, so be sure to check back here before the day's first puck drops.
  • Russian hockey legend and NHL great Igor Larionov isn't worried about a Canada-Russia rematch, but he does note that the gold medal is the only one that matters. [Globe and Mail]
  • That's a lot of pressure, and just a taste of what the home team will be facing this year. Thankfully they'll also have an intense amount of support. [NHL.com]
  • Not sure that a Canadian reporter should be suggesting that the Russians perhaps want the gold medal too much... but here we are. [Globe and Mail]
  • Sometimes teams falter on the world's biggest stage because the pressure gets to them. But while it's a factor, it's not always THE factor. [PHT]
  • Make no mistake about it: these are Alex Ovechkin's Olympics... [Puck Daddy]
  • ...and yet he may not be able to win the gold medal all by himself. Whaaaaa? [RMNB, with complete coverage of Ovi's Day Two here]
  • It's often said that politics make strange bedfellows. So do international hockey tournaments. [Star Tribune]
  • In the next six months, the NHL is going to make a critical decision about its future. Could this be the last Olympics for the League? [Globe and MailESPNSI.comThe IndependentChicago Tribune]
  • Not if IIHF president Rene Fasel has anything to say about it. [ESPN]
  • AFP
  • Meanwhile the US and Canadian women are set to face each other for the first time (but probably not the last) in Sochi... [APHockey Wilderness]
  • ...but could the dominance of those two teams eventually cost women's hockey a spot at the Olympics? [BHS]
  • A handy flow chart to help you determine whether to root for the USA or the USA which team you should root for at the Olympics. [Sporting News]
  • Smiles abound as the teams took to the ice for their first practices. [ESPN]
  • Previews and predictions galore:
  • Canada's forward depth is pretty impressive, but man alive, those top two Russian trios... [NHL.com]
  • Five reasons Team USA could totally medal in Sochi. [Puck Daddy]
  • We know that history often repeats itself; so what do the Olympic hockey tournaments of the past tell us about the future? [Grantland (DGB)]
  • Back in NHL world, the rest of the League is required to be on break for the next week or so. For the banged-up Caps, that break couldn't have come at a better time. [CSNWWNST]
  • That Alex Ovechkin guy may have the hopes of a nation on his shoulders, but back here we simply know him as the Gr8 one, and for good reason. He's pretty gr8. [State of Being]
  • As the trade deadline draws ever closer, the Caps are somewhat limited on what they can pull off. [Talk the Red]
  • Take a trip in the wayback machine and recall the epic showdown between Team USA and... the Caps? [WaPo]
  • The 2009 draft class was a pretty fruitful one for the Caps - which is almost enough to make us forget 2005. Almost. [HF]
  • A number of former NHL greats gathered in Bay Roberts, Newfoundland for the NHL Legends game, including former Caps' goal-scorer extraordinaire, Dennis Maruk. [NLNewsNow]
  • Rejoice! The Caps finally have OYO minifigures! ...seriously, rejoice, those things are awesome, even if a bit generic (get out your Sharpies and black out a tooth). [OYO]
  • Finally, happy 34th birthday to Rico Fata and happy 46th to John Purves.

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