RMNB Predicts the Olympic Mens Hockey Tournament

Here's the thing. I get the comedy in #sochiproblems and whatever, but there's this obvious xenophobia and hypocrisy baked into it. I mean, look at our own crumbling infrastructure and rampant health problems. Jokes are fun, but empathy is better.

Photo: Kai Pfaffenbach

The NHL shuts down on Saturday night and the Olympic tournament starts on Wednesday, so get ready for ten days of what an all-star game should look like: the world’s best players (sans Jack Johnson) playing games that they actually care about. If you’re a hockey fanatic, Olympic hockey might be even better that the quarterfinal round of the playoffs– albeit with less productivity at work (most of the games are at 7 am or noon).

Since the “R” in RMNB stands for Russian and we’ve got two Ruskies on the staff, you might think we’d be in the tank for the home team. You’d be wrong (mostly). Below, the entire RMNB team shares its picks for the Olympic mens hockey tournament. Tell us where we’re wrong (e.g. Canada) and share your own picks in the comments.

Go USA.

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Photo credit: @konstantinu74

Team Russia announced its Olympic roster today, and– to no one’s surprise– Evgeny Kuznetsov’s name is not on the list of 22 skaters who will fight for gold in Sochi next month. That’s an unfortunate twist for a young player who, two years ago, delayed his jump to the NHL in order to improve his chances of making of making the Sbornaya. The omission is not even controversial, as Kuzya has had a nightmare season, including a slew of injuries and below-par play when healthy.

But fear not, the few and proud members of the Kuzya fan club. While your hero’s hockey career has taken a very circuitous path, Zhenya has been testing the waters in an alternative occupation while recovering from his latest injury. No, not driving a bulldozer, dabbling in real estate market, head-butting a sitcom character, or torturing an imaginary microphone with his interpretation of an old pop song. Kuzya is trying out a new hobby that’s a bit less exotic: TV hockey analyst. Last Sunday, Evgeny acted as color commentator for Chelyabinsk local channel OTV’s broadcast team during the 2nd and 3rd periods of Traktor’s game against the visiting Slovan of Bratislava. Kuznetsov shared with the TV audience a few bits of hockey wisdom and insider information from the team’s locker room. During intermission, Kuzya provided expert analysis of his team’s performance (“What did I like? That we scored two goals and did not allow any.”… “Who has been the standout so far? Our goalie and the defense. And all of our forwards.”) and made a prediction for the final period.

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In a move that surprises absolutely no one, Alex Ovechkin, the world’s best scorer, has been named to the Russian Olympic team. The Capitals Captain is also a goodwill ambassador for the Sochi games, though he’s not sure what that means either.

Not on the Russian roster are Alex Semin and Evgeny Kuznetsov. The latter is a Caps prospect who delayed his NHL career for two seasons in hopes of making the Olympic team for Sochi.

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Nick Backstrom Named to Swedish Olympic Team

Ice Hockey - Day 10 - Sweden v Finland

Photo: Bruce Bennett

Sweden has released its roster for the 2014 Sochi Olympics, and a familiar face is right in the middle. Caps center Nick Backstrom shares the roster with the Sedin twins, Henrik Lundqvist, Henrik Zetterberg, and Daniel Alfredsson. Marcus Johansson did not make the roster.

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RIA Novosti’s headquarters in downtown Moscow (Photo credit: RIA Novosti)

Two years ago, Russian news agency RIA Novosti (Russian Information Agency News) was awarded national host agency and photo pool rights for the Olympics in Sochi. On Monday, with less than two months before the opening ceremony, President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree to dissolve the state-owned news agency.

According to the head of the presidential administration, Sergey Ivanov, multiple reasons led to the decision, including a planned decrease in funding for state-owned media and the need for increased efficiency in reporting.

Instead, a new agency, named Russia Today, shall be created. It’s unknown if the new agency will be related to the English-language TV channel of the same name. Their avowed goals are similar: provide news from Russia to a foreign audience.

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