Today marks the end of Group Play, with a trio of marquee matchups. Sweden-Finland, USA-Canada, and Czech Republic-Russia will all do battle to pretty much determine who gets automatic buys into the quarterfinal round. With that, lets check how our Avs are doing thus far in Vancouver:
Paul Stastny - USA
Playing primarily on the top line with Zach Parise and Patrick Kane, Stastny hasn't been able to get himself on the score sheet. He has just two shots on goal and has yet to record a point. However, Stastny has been playing well, drawing penalties and going hard to the net. The US is undefeated after routine wins against Switzerland and Norway. Stastny is among the team leaders in total ice time.
Ruslan Salei - Belarus
Salei's playing time in Vancouver? 63:35. The captain, Salei has actually enjoyed a nice return to hockey after being injured for much of the year. In a tied game with Germany on Saturday, Salei took a blistering shot from the point that found the back of the net. A game-winner, it was Salei's first goal of the Olympics on his first shot on net. Belarus is 1-2 after Group Play, but is not considered a serious medal contender.
Jonas Holos - Norway
The obscure Avalanche prospect is a stud on the Norwegian blueline. He has played a stunning 86:03. The next highest? Defenseman Mats Trygg at 76:15. Norway, likely headed to the relegation game, is 0-3 in Vancouver. Holos is a -4 with three shots on goal and no points. Norway is hardly an offensive force. They combined for just one goal in their first two games, and then managed to score four in a losing effort to the Swiss. I have no idea if this kid will pan out, but he's the best Norway has to offer at least.
Peter Budaj - Slovakia
Slovakia provided fans with the first "upset" of the tournament, a 2-1 shootout win over Team Russia. Jaroslav Halak has started all three games for Slovakia and has made 78 saves on 82 shots. It is unlikely Budaj will see much playing time in these Olympics, no doubt all part of a master plan laid by Joe Sacco to go NHL09 on us and inexplicably start the unbelievably well-rested Budaj in the playoffs.
Quiet start for our Avs, but I have a feeling Stastny may change that tonight.
USA-Canada. 7:30. CNBC.
Just typing NBC makes me want to go on a rant, but I'll save it. No energy.
Enjoy the games.