GAME PREVIEW: Blues vs. Flyers - Blues.NHL.com

Flyers pit win streak against NHL-leading Blues

Friday, 03.21.2014 / 3:44 PM

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

BLUES (47-15-7) at FLYERS (37-25-7)


Last 10: St. Louis 8-1-1; Philadelphia 7-2-1

Season series: It's the first of two games between the Philadelphia Flyers and St. Louis Blues. The last time the teams faced off was Oct. 22, 2011, in Philadelphia.

Big story: The St. Louis Blues are focused on more than making the Stanley Cup Playoffs, so just clinching a spot is only one marker on the way to their ultimate destination.

"It's a minor goal on the way to our major goal," Blues captain David Backes told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "That's nice to have with a number of games remaining in the season, but our ultimate goal this year was not to get into the playoffs. It shows you the evolution and the culture around here. That's what we were trying to create a few years ago, and now we've started to create it. We need this to be perpetual."

The Flyers aren't as assured with their playoff hopes, so they know they can't have any letdown.

"We're in a good spot right now," goalie Steve Mason said. "We just have to keep playing well and every game is going to be a must-win down the road."

Team scope:

Blues: The Blues may be at the top of the NHL standings, but coach Ken Hitchcock hasn't stopped looking for places his team can improve. One of those places is better offensive production from the fourth line.

Hitchcock has always enjoyed being able to roll four lines, and the expectation is all four lines can produce. That hasn't been the case for the trio of Maxim Lapierre,Brenden Morrow and Ryan Reaves. Wednesday against the Chicago Blackhawks all three played at least 10:44 but totaled one shot, credited to Reaves.

"I love what they bring," Hitchcock told the Post-Dispatch. "We've got to convince them that they can score, though. Maybe we've got to give them more confidence, put them on the power play once or twice. We've got to find a way for them.

"They are working hard, they're creating all this zone time. I want to see them have the confidence to make plays when they get it in because they're more than capable."

Of the trio, Morrow has 11 goals this season and is a seven-time 20-goal scorer. Lapierre has seven goals and Reaves has two.

"I think right now we're at that stage where we're right around the corner," Lapierre told the Post-Dispatch. "We're in their zone a lot, we cycle the puck … now it's find a way to get a shot on net, get more traffic and score some goals."

Flyers: Andrew MacDonald has one assist in seven games since joining the Flyers, but his impact can best be seen at the other end of the ice. In MacDonald's seven games the Flyers have allowed 17 goals, an average of 2.43 per game, and are 5-1-1 in that span. In 62 games prior to MacDonald's arrival, the Flyers were allowing 2.82 goals per game.

The biggest beneficiary from MacDonald's arrival has been Luke Schenn, who has three assists and is a plus-3 in seven games as MacDonald's defense partner. Prior to MacDonald's arrival Schenn was a minus-2 and lacked any consistency in his game.

"It's only been a few games, but we're developing chemistry and learning how to play together," Schenn told CSNPhilly.com. "We complement each other well. He's helped me out there. He's a steady player to play with. We knew what type of player he was: steady and consistent. Probably not a real flashy guy or things you would notice about him. He is always in good position, makes a good first pass and puts pucks on the tape. He can play some offense, but I think the big thing is he is sound defensively."

MacDonald also has enjoyed the pairing.

"Luke does a lot of things really well out there," he told CSNPhilly.com. "He's big, physical, moves the puck well when the opportunity is there. For me, playing with Luke, we try to complement each other. … We're creating good chemistry out there. Get the puck in our forwards' hands with speed and transition."

Who's hot: Blues goalie Ryan Miller has won seven of nine games since being acquired by the team, and has allowed two goals or fewer in seven of the nine games. … Flyers captain Claude Giroux has points in five straight games, and eight of 10 since the Olympic break. He has five goals and 10 assists in that span.

Injury report: The Blues are missing defenseman Jordan Leopold (ankle) and forward Vladimir Tarasenko (hand). Forward Magnus Paajarvi (upper body) is questionable. … The Flyers have no reported injuries.


U.S. Men Advance to Semifinals with Win Against Czech Republic - USA HOCKEY

SOCHI, Russia – The U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team received goals from five different players in its 5-2 quarterfinal round win over Czech Republic at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games. David Backes (Minneapolis, Minn./St. Louis Blues) posted a goal and an assist, Ryan Suter (Madison, Wis./Minnesota Wild) supplied three assists and Jonathan Quick (Milford, Conn./Los Angeles Kings) made 21 saves.

Team USA will play Canada in Friday’s (Feb. 21) semifinals. The U.S. is in the semifinals for the third time in the last four Olympics.

Team USA grabbed a 1-0 advantage just 1:39 into the game. Patrick Kane(Buffalo, N.Y./Chicago Blackhawks) and Ryan Kesler (Livonia, Mich./Vancouver Canucks) cycled the puck along the right wall before sliding it to James van Riemsdyk (Middletown, N.J./Toronto Maple Leafs) behind the net. Van Riemsdyk curled around the right side of the crease and wristed the puck shortside between Ondrej Pavelec’s glove and left leg.

The Czechs tied the game at 4:31 on a scramble in front of the net that was credited to Ales Hemsky.

Dustin Brown (Ithaca, N.Y./Los Angeles Kings) buried a cross-ice feed from Backes at 14:38 to deliver a 2-1 lead. Suter corralled a blocked shot at the right point and sent the puck to Backes. From the lower right circle, Backes lasered a pass through the defense to Brown, who had a gaping net at which to shoot.

Backes boosted the U.S. lead to 3-1 with just two seconds left in the opening frame. Suter’s shot deflected wide and caromed hard out to the right of the goal. Backes spun to recover the puck and rifled it past sprawling a Pavelec.

Zach Parise (Minneapolis, Minn./Minnesota Wild) notched the third sharp-angle goal of the day for Team USA at 9:31 of the second stanza, making it 4-1. Joe Pavelski’s (Plover, Wis./San Jose Sharks) slapshot ricocheted off the end boards to the left side of the crease, where Parise slid it under Pavelec’s right leg.

At 2:01 of the third period, Phil Kessel (Madison, Wis./Toronto Maple Leafs) notched his team-best fifth goal of the tournament. Kesler led a two-on-two opportunity down the left side and found Kessel streaking to the right post for a redirection into the net.

Hemsky supplied the second Czech Republic goal with seven minutes left in regulation.

The semifinal game vs. Canada will begin at noon ET and be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network.


Source: http://www.usahockey.com/news_article/show/351576?referrer_id=752796

The Remarkable One-Man Show Called T. J. Oshie - NEW YORK TIMES
T. J. Oshie scored four times in the shootout against Russia for the United States men's hockey team. Doug Mills/The New York Times

SOCHI, Russia — Hockey is a team game, and this one was so big that it pitted country against country. But by the end, it turned into a simple contest of one-on-one.

The United States and Russia were tied through regulation, tied through overtime, and still tied through three rounds of a shootout.

Like his counterpart on the Russian side, the United States coach, Dan Bylsma, had to decide which player to appoint to shoot the fourth attempt. He chose T. J. Oshie. And when that did not end the game, Bylsma was given a chance to choose again, and again, and again, and again.

He picked Oshie, Oshie, Oshie and Oshie — allowed by the rules of the Olympics, but not in the N.H.L., where Bylsma coaches the Pittsburgh Penguins and his players play.

“I kept looking back, seeing if anyone else was going to go,” Oshie said. “I told some of the boys on the last couple, ‘I’m running out of moves out here.’ ”

It was Oshie, 27, who stayed on the ice while the rest of the American skaters sat on the bench, helpless witnesses to the outcome of a wild match that could not be decided through 65 minutes of play and three rounds of a shootout — a point in the game that the Olympics charmingly call “game winning shots.”

Play Video


Sochi Video Notebook: T. J. Oshie

T. J. Oshie, who took six of the Americans’ eight shots, scoring on four of them to lift the team to a victory over Russia, spoke to the media after the game.

Oshie made four of six attempts, matching his big-name Russian counterparts goal for goal, miss for miss: Evgeni Malkin in the first round, then Ilya Kovalchuk and Pavel Datsyuk alternating in the others. Finally, in the eighth round, after American goaltender Jonathan Quick stopped a Kovalchuk attempt, Oshie flicked a shot past Russia’s goaltender, Sergei Bobrovsky.

The Bolshoi Ice Dome fell mostly silent, as if suddenly unplugged. Oshie and the United States had a 3-2 victory in a much-anticipated preliminary-round game.

The first question Bylsma faced afterward was why he had stuck with Oshie, a forward who plays for the St. Louis Blues.

“T. J. has been exceptional on the shootout, and in his career he’s been outstanding,” Bylsma said. “By far the best number on our team, this year in particular. Once we got to the fourth shooter, and the quality moves he had, even when he missed, we were going to ride him out.”

Oshie has made 25 of 46 shootout attempts in his N.H.L career. This season, interrupted by the Olympic tournament, he has made 7 of 10 attempts, plus the one penalty shot he has tried. No one in the league has made more.

But in the N.H.L., Oshie would have had only one chance on Saturday. If a shootout extends beyond three rounds, each subsequent shot must be taken by someone from the bench, until all available shooters are used. Only then can a player be called upon again.

But rules at the Olympics allow teams to use players as often as they want after the first three rounds. For Bylsma, it took some of the guesswork out of each decision. Simply go with your best, win or lose.

An Olympic Rivalry Renewed

Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

Oshie opened the shootout with a goal on a low shot. Malkin’s shot was deflected by Quick. In the second round, the American James van Riemsdyk missed, but so did Datsyuk.

Joe Pavelski could have ended it for the United States, but Bobrovsky stopped him. Kovalchuk, in a tie-or-lose situation, cruised toward Quick and casually flipped the puck past his left hip.

Rules dictated that the teams switch order. The Russians opened the rest of the rounds, and the Americans had the final say. Kovalchuk and Oshie missed, and then Datsyuk and Oshie scored. Kovalchuk and Oshie scored, and Datsyuk and Oshie missed.

Each shot ratcheted the tension tighter.

“I aged a couple of years in that shootout,” Bylsma said.

In the eighth round, Kovalchuk surged toward Quick with speed and confidence. Quick tipped the shot away with his glove.

It was Oshie’s turn again. He came at Bobrovsky and slid the puck between his legs. It hit the back of the net and the water bottle atop the goal popped into the air.

“I was just thinking of something else I could do, trying to keep him guessing,” Oshie said. “I had to go back to the same move a couple times. I was glad it ended when it did.”X
Oshie an overnight sensation - BISMARCK TRIBUNE

SOCHI, Russia — His cover is blown.

T.J. Oshie, the mild-mannered forward who morphed into Superman and single-handedly outscored Russia in a shootout for the ages, won’t sneak up on anyone again soon, let alone against the Americans’ next opponent in today’s Olympic quarterfinals.

In the days since the win over Russia, Oshie has become the hottest U.S. import here since the iPad. He got a shout-out from President Barack Obama as part of his star turn on Twitter, talked to the “Today” show and met what he called “some pretty influential people.”

Just as his teammates let up on the needling and things began to slow down, his jerseys started flying off store shelves and his agent’s phone nearly blew up. Small wonder Oshie spent the time in between hoping one of his teammates did something spectacular or silly enough to siphon off some attention.

“He takes it all in stride,” said David Backes, who is Oshie’s teammate back with the NHL’s St. Louis Blues. “He came back to the room last night after doing the interviews and NBC put makeup on him and he’s like, ‘I think they’re blowing this a little out of proportion.’”

So no one who knows Oshie was surprised when he told reporters to quit throwing the word “hero” in his direction and reserve it for U.S. servicemen instead. He’s a 27-year-old who was born in Washington state and became a prep star in hockey-mad Warroad, Minn., barely a half-dozen miles from the Canadian border. It’s a tiny town (pop. 1,770, though the town’s rink seats “only” 1,454), but also a tough place to get a big head.

The Warriors hockey team collects state championships like a dryer gathers lint. Oshie won two in his four-year stint there, and not only is current U.S. women’s team forward Gigi Marvin from there — she and Oshie were crowned Queen and King of the Frosty Festival their senior year — both of the previous U.S. Olympic gold medal-winning hockey teams featured members of the same Warroad family: Bill and Roger Christian in 1960; Dave Christian in 1980.

That’s just one reason why he comes by his humility honestly. And here’s another: check out how Oshie spent what might have been the biggest night of his life:

“I was very calm until I got back. I talked to some family members, and that was pretty special for me. Kind of got the heart going a little bit. I talked to my fiance, Lauren (who is pregnant and stayed back in St. Louis), and tried to go to bed. Didn’t work too well. Sat there and listened to some music.”

Oshie might have been a fan favorite in St. Louis, but he seemed like an afterthought on the U.S. Olympic roster. On a team this deep and talented, he figured to get little more than a few shifts with the fourth line, which is exactly what happened against Russia until the shootout began. He took the first shot and scored, then took the last six and cashed in four — one more than the Russians.

“It’s something you practice at the end of practice all the time, just kind of messing around. I had to go back and maybe think of some different moves that I can do and maybe go back to some that I already did,” Oshie said. “It was a fun end.”

For him, maybe. Oshie came into the game with more shootout goals in NHL games — seven — than any of his teammates. For many of the guys who play with or against him, it was just another night’s work. Based on their testimonials, he sounds less like a secret weapon than a trump card.

“Once his name got called three or four times,” recalled U.S. teammate Joe Pavelski, “we knew the next five, six, seven it was probably going to be him.”

“When he was going to shoot the first one I told the guys in the locker room that’s a guaranteed goal,” said Sweden’s Patrik Berglund. “He just went in and put it in as he always does.

“That,” Berglund added a moment later, “was a real show to watch.”

“Pretty amazing with that pressure to send that same guy out six times,” said Jonathan Toews, who stars for Canada and played college hockey alongside Oshie at North Dakota. “Even if the guy’s automatic, it takes a lot of confidence from the coaches to put a guy like that over the boards that many times. Great kid and pretty cool moment in his career, I’m sure.”

What that shootout did for the rest of Oshie’s career remains to be seen. Matt Oates, his Chicago-based agent, told The Associated Press in a phone interview he admired the way Oshie reacted after the game-winner — a quick fist-pump before turning to point back in the direction of U.S. goaltender Jonathan Quick, the other U.S. shootout star.

But Oates said the reaction back in the States suggests Oshie’s profile won’t remain modest for much longer.

“It has been a frenzy,” Oates said. “I’m not getting into names (of potential sponsors) at this point, though, because we’ll sort through that and take our time after T.J. gets back.”

How about Energizer batteries for starters? Like the mascot bunny, he just keeps going and going and going.

T.J. Oshie, Hockey Star: Becoming a Father Is Scarier Than My Olympics Shootout - US WEEKLY

Oshie may have taken over Sochi, but he's not really aware of it. Hockey star T.J. Oshie is still processing his major win over Russia for Team USA on Saturday, Feb. 15. The 27-year-old St. Louis Blues player dominated a tense shootout against the host country's team as President Vladimir Putin watched from the stand. Oshie spoke exclusively to Us Weekly's senior reporter Jennifer Peros in Sochi about life since the win and moving forward to hopefully snag the gold medal this weekend. 

PHOTOS: Team USA athletes to watch

"It hasn't really hit me too much," he admitted to Us. "Getting on Twitter and seeing the followers and stuff, I guess it sinks in a little bit. Now I feel like I need to watch what I say on Twitter! Not bore people like I do." 

Oshie became an overnight sensation, with The White House and his favorite team, Super Bowl champs the Seattle Seahawks, tweeting him congratulations. 

PHOTOS: Sochi Winter Olympics opening ceremony

"It's a little much, to be honest," he revealed. "I tend to fly under the radar a little bit so to have all this press around me is pretty crazy and surreal. But it's not too hard for me to focus on the task at hand and put all that to the side." 

T.J. Oshie and his pregnant fiancee Lauren Cosgrove go for their ultrasound in December 2013.

T.J. Oshie and his pregnant fiancee Lauren Cosgrove go for their ultrasound in December 2013.Credit: Courtesy T.J. Oshie

But his teammates aren't giving him any special treatment, in fact, it's just the opposite. 

"I'm getting jokes [from them] now," he said. "I'm the brunt of the jokes. They've got a couple of nicknames for me. But I'm trying to squash them so I'm not going to put them in Us Weekly! But it's all in good fun." 

PHOTOS: Olympians' darkest secrets

Some of the jokes might have to do with the athlete's new female fan base. And though one woman screamed out during Oshie's Us Weekly interview, "You have a hot ass!" the rink star is most definitely taken. 

He is currently engaged to blonde stunner Lauren Cosgrove, whom he's marrying next summer; she's due to give birth to the couple's first child, a baby girl, in just five weeks. The dad-to-be admitted that having a baby girl is far scarier than his nail-biting shootout against Russia. 

PHOTOS: Olympians who have turned into TV and movie stars

"[Between the two] it's gotta be the daughter," he said. "She's going to give me a run for my money!"

For more on the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi -- including personal stories from the Team USA athletes, and tons of photos -- pick up Us Weekly's special Olympics bookazine!

Read more: http://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-news/news/tj-oshie-hockey-star-becoming-a-father-is-scarier-than-olympics-shootout-2014182#ixzz2tjt1NxC4 
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