Although the National Hockey League pulled out of allowing its players to participate, the Olympic men’s hockey tournament went on as scheduled. Each team played three games, Canada finished in second place in Group A.
Team Canada is stacked with former Montreal Canadiens players. The biggest name is most likely David Desharnais, who still plays regularly in Switzerland. He went scoreless in this preliminary round, assigned primarily to a fourth-line role. Another popular name may be Jordan Weal who has a goal and an assist, while Eric Staal has two assists.
Adam Cracknell and Mark Barberio, two former team veterans for the Canadiens’ minor-league affiliate, have played all three games so far, while Morgan Ellis was a healthy scratch throughout the preliminary round.
Eddie Pasquale, the former St. John’s IceCaps and Brampton Beast goaltender, won both of his starts for Canada, with a .902 save percentage and 2.55 goals-against average.
Kenny Agostino added a goal to the collection of wins of Team USA.
The big revelation for the tournament thus far is Sean Farrell, who leads all players in the tournament with six points in three games, five in the opener versus China. The 2020 fourth-round pick of the Canadiens has already stated that he will return to Harvard University next season for his sophomore year.
Defenceman Nikita Nesterov only spent a brief time in the Canadiens organization, but he’s one of the more solid defencemen in the KHL, and was Alexander Romanov’s mentor at one point. As part of the team representing the Russian Olympic Committee, he’s the most-used defenceman, registering a +1 goal differential, and adding one goal and one assist.
This has not been a good Olympics for the Swiss team, or for Yannick Weber, Raphael Diaz, and Sven Andrighetto, who combined for two assists and a -8 rating.
David Sklenicka and Michael Frolik were not really factors for the Czech team, having the two lowest average time-on-ice totals on the team.
Frederik Dichow started one game for the Danes, in a remarkable 1-0 losing effort to the team from Russia. He stopped all but one of the 31 shots heading his way in a lopsided game.
Defenceman Christian Folin was among the most-used defencemen on the Swedish squad, but as with the Montreal Canadiens, Folin did not really provide much offensive support. Jacob de la Rose was also blanked from the scoresheet in the preliminary round, but former IceCaps captain Max Friberg managed to fill a couple of squares, with one goal and one assist.
Joonas Nattinen, the player who is infamously known for a 90-second career in the NHL with the Canadiens, continued to develop elsewhere, and most recently put up two assists for the Finnish team.
With the best records from the opening portion of the tournament, all of the United States, Russian Olypic Committee, Sweden, and Finland gained automatic qualification to the quarter-finals. The other eight teams were playing their single-elimination qualification-round games throughout the day on Tuesday trying to join them in the final eight.
You can join in on the action by making your picks for the teams that will advance through the tournament at DraftKings.
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