Sharks in Sochi

Roundup of how the four Sharks players at the Olympics performed in Sochi 2014.

ANTTI NIEMI: Served as backup goalie for Team Finland in its 2-1 loss to Team Sweden. He was scheduled not to dress, but when regular starter Tuukka Rask became sick with the flu, Kari Lehtonen stepped in for Rask and Niemi was on the bench. After the game, Niemi discussed his situation and tried not to sound frustrated when discussing his zero minutes of playing time in the tournament: "I wasn't told about my role before I came here. It seems like this is my role, so I'm trying to do what I can to help the team." Lehtonen looked good but not great Friday, but if Rask is out of sick bay, it's likely Niemi will be a healthy scratch again. Next: Finland plays Team USA in bronze medal game at 7 a.m. PST Saturday.

JOE PAVELSKI: Along with his USA teammates, Pavelski had an exasperating day in the 1-0 semifinal loss to Canada. Pavelski has centered the hottest scoring line in the entire Olympic tournament, between Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk. But they were stymied when Mike Babcock, Team Canada's coach, matched up that line against Jonathan Toews, Jeff Carter and Patrick Marleau. Pavelski was 2 for 10 on faceoffs. And too often, his line was bottled up when Canada controlled the puck in its offensive zone. He and USA need a quick refresh and reset for Saturday's bronze medal game against a Finland team that is banged up but dangerous.


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PATRICK MARLEAU: Often cast in a defense-first role for Canada as a checking line specialist, Marleau has had a very good tournament. He had only one shot on net in Friday's 1-0 victory but used great stickwork on successful penalty kills, won both faceoffs he took and helped shut down the Pavelski line in particular. With so many good scorers on both teams, Marleau seemed a bit surprised at how things unfolded on the 15-foot wider international ice sheet. "You never know what to expect," he said. "You'd think with the bigger ice there'd be more room out there, but there wasn't today." Sharks fans had to either smile or wince when Marleau was whistled for a holding-the-stick penalty against Pavelski in the first period. It was Marleau's first penalty of the tournament. Next: Canada plays Sweden at 4 a.m. PST on Sunday.

MARC-EDOUARD VLASIC: He's become a rock on the Canada blue line as Drew Doughty's defensive partner on all but a couple of shifts. He's moved the puck well and avoided any penalties. Of all the Sharks here, Vlasic might have benefited the most from his Olympic experience. When asked after Friday's game if Canada's players felt more pressure to win the gold medal than players from any other nation, Vlasic said: "I think winning a gold medal for your country is something everyone wants to do. You've just got to want it more than the opposition. And everybody wants to beat Canada in this tournament."