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Puck Daddy

Puck Daddy Olympic Viewing Guide: Finally, it begins

Sean Leahy
Puck Daddy

Here is the Puck Daddy Viewing Guide: Spotlighting five things to watch for during tonight's slate of games. Make sure to stop back here for the nightly Three Stars when the games are finished.

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AP

Create-a-Caption: "Russian fans cheer for the women's ice hockey team at Shayba Arena during their game against Germany."

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Czech Republic vs. Sweden, 12 p.m. EST

Latvia vs. Switzerland, 12 p.m. EST

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Five things to know about today's Olympic games ...

1. Ondrej Pavelec to watch from press box. The Winnipeg Jets netminder is the only Czech goalie to play in the NHL, so it's a bit of a surprise that head coach Alois Hadamczik has decided to not dress Pavelec for their opening game. Jakub Kovář of the KHL's Avtomobilist will get the start, with Alexander Salak backing him up.

2. The Czechs are old. Jaromir Jagr and Petr Nedved are the two gray beards over 40 years old. Tomas Kaberle, Marek Zidlicky, Michael Rozsival and Patrik Elias are 35 and older. That's either a good thing if you think experience is a big factor or a bad thing because, you know, they're old.

3. Sedins split. The Sochi Games will be first international tournament that Daniel and Henrik Sedin have not played together since the 1998 World Junior Championship. Henrik had to withdraw last week with a nagging rib injury, leaving Daniel to find that ESP-type chemistry with someone else on the Swedish squad.

4. Nino Niederreiter's time to shine. As we pointed out in our Switzerland preview, Niederreiter has a knack for stepping up his game on the international stage. In 28 games representing the Swiss, he's scored 10 goals, including five in their silver medal win in the 2013 IIHF worlds.

5. Latvian fans are the best. They're loud, boisterous, probably inebriated, but they'll be the funnest fans in the tournament. Shame we'll only get to enjoy them for three games.

Bold prediction: The Swedes get off to a strong start, but the Latvians are the biggest newsmakers with an overtime upset of the Swiss.

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