Sochi Olympics: USA Men's Hockey Team Will Be Standing On Podium

By Greg Higgins
Paul Stastny
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The U.S. men’s hockey team took to the ice for the first time Thursday in hopes of returning to the podium at the Olympics. Four years ago, goalie Ryan Miller led the U.S. to a silver medal as the team was beaten by the Canadians in the gold medal game.

Four years later, there are some returning faces as well as new ones. The results, however, were pretty close to the same. The U.S. took on Slovakia in the first game. It took the team about 20 minutes to remember who they were. 24 seconds into the second period, Slovakia tied the game at one goal. That was when the USA squad woke up. The Americans scored six straight goals in the second period as they cruised to a 7-1 victory.

Jonathan Quick got the start in goal for the USA, and why wouldn’t he? Miller was great four years ago, but Quick has been having an unbelievable run in the NHL over the past several years, including leading the Los Angeles Kings to the Stanley Cup Finals and winning it.

Most people feel like the USA is fighting with Canada, Russia and Sweden for a place on the podium. The American team doesn’t just want to be on the podium, though — they want to win the gold medal, which is something they missed out on four years ago.

A 7-1 victory to start the tournament was a good way to kick off the Olympics for the men’s hockey team. If the team plays like they did against Slovakia for the rest of the tournament, there’s no reason to think it won’t be standing on the podium when it’s all said and done. The only question is which spot will the team be standing on?

Greg Higgins is an Olympic writer for rantsports. Follow him on Twitter.

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