Sharks in Sochi
Roundup of how the four Sharks players at the Olympics performed Friday at Sochi.
ANTTI NIEMI: Niemi was in uniform for Finland's 6-1 victory over Norway but did not see action. Kari Lehtonen started in goal, and Tuukka Rask (who started in the tournament opener) stayed in street clothes. Does that mean Niemi might be in net for the Finns' final round-robin game against Canada, the toughest match for both teams in their round robin bracket? Seems unlikely.
Next: Finland plays Canada at 9 a.m. Pacific time Sunday.
JOE PAVELSKI: The USA team was idle Friday but held a practice session. Pavelski is expected to stay on a line with Toronto Maple Leafs players Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk for the big game against Russia, which is being hyped here as a revenge match for the 1980 "Miracle On Ice" upset by the USA in Lake Placid -- even though none of the players in either uniform are old enough to remember that game.
Next: USA plays Russia at 4:30 a.m. Pacific time Saturday.
PATRICK MARLEAU: He played a significant role in Canada's 6-0 rout of Austria and is having a great tournament through two games. Canadian coach Mike Babcock has been experimenting with Marleau on several lines. Friday he was nominally alongside Rick Nash of the New York Rangers and Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks. But as Babcock kept mixing and matching, Marleau found himself assisting on all three goals scored by Jeff Carter of the Los Angeles Kings. Marleau had only one shot on net Friday but now has four assists in Canada's two games.
Next: Canada plays Finland at 9 a.m. Pacific time Sunday.
MARC-EDOUARD VLASIC: Vlasic had 16:16 of ice time against Austria, fourth most among the seven defensemen dressed by Canada. Once more, Vlasic didn't make the score sheet, but he was a plus-two on the night, continued to contribute on the penalty kill and was able to put a couple shots on the net. In other words, it was the same sort of solid Vlasic game that Sharks fans see on a regular basis. Next: Canada plays Finland at 9 a.m. Pacific time Sunday.
-- Mark Purdy