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Olympic hockey eliminations begin

Sidney Crosby and his Canadian team were unbeaten in the preliminary round.

Sidney Crosby and his Canadian team were unbeaten in the preliminary round.

SOCHI, Russia — Canada, Sweden and the United States made it through the first week of the men's hockey tournament without a loss. But early perfection isn't always an advantage in this tournament, which begins its elimination round today.

No team that went unbeaten in group play has won the gold since the NHL joined the Games in 1998.

Olympic veterans realize the tone of this 12-day event changes after the opening-round games. Although no team is under as much pressure as the host Russians, every player realizes one mistake in the second week can destroy their nation's aspirations.

"Obviously these (elimination) games always have a bit more of a different feel, but you don't want to have to change the way you play a whole lot," Canada captain Sidney Crosby of the Penguins said. "I think we've been playing the right way here for three games. I think we've gotten better."

The three unbeaten teams and Finland got byes into the Wednesday quarterfinals, meaning they get an extra day of rest while the remaining eight teams play today.

But even practice can be a hazard in Sochi. Goalie Henrik Lundqvist, Sweden's 2006 Olympic star, had a nasty collision with defenseman Erik Karlsson during practice Monday and needed a few minutes to recover. Lundqvist said he would be fine.

Russia practiced ahead of its game with Norway today, but without forward Ilya Kovalchuk. The former NHL player, now in Russia's KHL, was just resting, coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov said. Star forward Evgeni Malkin of the Penguins said Kovalchuk was hurt.

Kovalchuk missed the final minutes of the second period in Sunday's win over Slovakia after appearing to hurt his right ankle.

Xxxxxxx round of 16

Qualifcation Playoffs Quarterfinals Semifinals Gold medal game
Tuesday 3 am
Wednesday 3 am
Date Date
Tuesday 7:30 am
Wednesday 7:30 am
Tuesday Noon
Wednesday Noon
Czech Republic
Tuesday Noon
Wednesday Noon
United States

Men's hockey bracket

Qualifications Quarterfinals Semifinals Semifinals Quarterfinals Qualifications
Sweden Canada
3 a.m. Wed., NBCSN game Noon Wed., MSNBC
Slovenia Switzerland
3 a.m. today Noon today, MSNBC
Austria Latvia
Friday TBD, NBCSN 7 a.m. Sun., Ch. 8 Friday TBD, NBCSN
Russia Czech Republic
7:30 a.m. today, NBCSN Noon today, NBCSN
Norway Slovakia
7:30 a.m. Wed., NBCSN Noon Wed., USA
Finland Bronze-medal United States
10 a.m. Sat., NBCSN

Olympic hockey eliminations begin 02/17/14 [Last modified: Monday, February 17, 2014 10:57pm]
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