Olympic Hockey, Day 3 Preview: USA Looks To Improve Offensive Chemistry

Three more games are on the docket on the third day of preliminary, round-robin competition at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. USA, Canada and Russia are all in action. Here are the games, the storylines and a look at the standings as we begin day three.

Today's Games and Storylines

3 PM ET / Noon PT : USA vs Norway in Group A action

Broadcast details: Live coverage on USA Network

In Team USA's victory over Switzerland in the first game of the Olympic tournament, the major hole in the team turned out to be the one that solidified the victory. America's three goals were scored by Bobby Ryan, David Backes and Ryan Malone, showing off the secondary scoring on this club that most people thought would be their downfall.

Instead, the problem that came out of their 3-1 victory on Tuesday was that the top line didn't produce. Zach Parise, thought to be the most potent scorer on the USA squad and a member of that top line, said that he didn't think he and linemates Patrick Kane and Paul Stastny were 'good at all.' It's probably just a chemistry issue at this point since, basically, these guys have never played with each other.

So on that front, they're extremely lucky that they have the Swiss and now Norway today as tune up matches before facing off against Canada on Sunday. Comparing the outcome of today's game against Norway with that of Canada's 8-0 demolition of the Norwegians on Tuesday could be bit of a barometer towards seeing how good this American team can be.

7:30 PM ET / 4:30 PM PT : Switzerland vs Canada in Group A action

Broadcast details: Live coverage begins at 8 PM ET / 5 PM PT on CNBC

Switzerland has one hope and one hope only against the monster Canadian team. His name is Jonas.

Jonas Hiller, of course, the young Swiss phenom goaltender who plays for the Anaheim Ducks in his down time will literally need to stand on his head today of Switzerland wants to win. They're a pretty gritty team, the Swiss, which you wouldn't really expect from such a neutral place. But they can play some solid defense and give a better team fits if that better team isn't clicking on all cylinders.

Just ask the Americans, who defeated Switzerland 3-1 on Tuesday in a game that was much closer than they would've preferred. Canada will need to be on their A game to get by Hiller and Switzerland, and it certainly won't be as easy as blowing by Norway was in their first outing.

12:00 AM ET / 9:00 PM PT : Slovakia vs Russia in Group B action

Broadcast details: Live coverage begins at 12:30 AM ET / 9:30 PM PT on CNBC

In the night cap, it's the high-flying Russians a team that most are overlooking in this tournament, the Slovakians. They took the ice just a night ago and fell to their arch rival, the Czech Republic, in an extremely entertaining contest, but they showed glimpses of being a team that could challenge for a medal.

It's safe to say that, at the very least, Slovakia will be a much tougher task for Russia than Latvia was on Tuesday. They're better on every side of the puck, and that should be kind of scary to the Russians who did allow two goals to Latvia, widely considered the worst team in the tournament.

Don't be shocked if this game is a close one, and at the same time, don't be shocked if the Russian offense finds all of its magic and runs away by 10 goals.

Standings


Group A

GP W L OTW OTL GF
GA
PTS
Canada 1 1 0 0 0
8
0
3
United States
1
1
0
0
0
3
1
3
Switzerland 1
0
1
0
0
1
3
0
Norway 1
0
1
0
0
0
8
0



Group B

GP W L OTW OTL GF
GA
PTS
Russia
1 1 0 0 0
8
2
3
Czech Republic
1
1
0
0
0
3
1
3
Slovakia
1
0
1
0
0
1
3
0
Latvia 1
0
1
0
0
2
8
0



Group C

GP W L OTW OTL GF
GA
PTS
Finland 1 1 0 0 0
5
1
3
Sweden 1
1
0
0
0
2
0
3
Germany
1
0
1
0
0
0
2
0
Belarus 1
0
1
0
0
1
5
0


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