2014 Olympic Men's Hockey Day Four: United States vs Russia, Sweden vs Latvia, Slovakia vs Slovenia

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Seven of the nine Blues participating in the Olympics are playing today, with the earliest game at 2:00 AM Central Time.

Who wants to stay up late/get up early for Slovakia v. Slovenia! It's Jaroslav Halak hoping to undo some of the damage that the Americans did on him Thursday against Anze Kopitar and a bunch of other guys.

It seems that the scheduling gurus saved their bigger games for later, though it is inexplicable why Sweden vs Latvia is on at the prime time of 11:00 Central while the bigger match-up of the United States vs. Russia is on at 6:00.

Players to watch for the US? Let's say that David Backes, T.J. Oshie, and Kevin Shattenkirk are doing ok - but keep your eyes on Phil Kessel. America's most awkward Olympian had a goal and two assists Thursday. Also keep your eyes on Jonathan Quick. He's back in the net again today, and it will be a much bigger challenge than Slovakia was. No one wants to have to deal with Alexander Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, Alexander Radulov, Pavel Datsyuk, and Ilya Kovalchuk coming at you. Hopefully the US's defense is prepared for this challenge. Factor in a very loud home crowd, and this won't be the cakewalk the US had Thursday.

Sweden is taking on Latvia today beginning at 11:00 Central, and despite the fact that Henrik Zetterberg is out for the tournament with a herniated disk, I wouldn't worry about Tre Kronor too awful much. Their offense was stagnant against Switzerland, but their defense and the goaltending from Henrik Lundqvist was perfect. They'll need to click on all levels against Latvia, who hasn't won a game yet but are still tough opponents to deal with.

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