My journey has begun to the Winter Games in Sochi and I'm excited to be working my second straight Games (Vancouver, 2010). Security getting through the Aeroflot terminal at MIA was no problem, extremely quick and easy.
My flight to Russia takes 11 hours as we land in Moscow and then it's another two and a half hours to Sochi. With the 9 hour time difference the trip will take about 25 hours.
Covering the hockey tournament and specifically Team USA for Westwood One (Sirius/XM Channel 92), our first game will be on Thursday, 4:30pm Sochi time or 7:30am East Coast Time. The United States plays Slovakia, captained by Boston's Zdena Chara. The Panthers' Tomas Kopecky will also suit up for the Slovaks. They have a good team but one the USA should handle. I expect Ryan Miller to start in goal. He was incredible in 2010 and the main reason the US played in the gold medal game before losing to Canada in overtime.
There will be plenty of pressure on the Russian team playing on home ice. They certainly have the talent with players like Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk, Washington's Alex Oveckin and Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin. Their goaltending will likely tell the story of their Olympic success.
As for my predictions? I'm Red White and Blue through and through so I am picking a gold medal rematch between USA and Canada with the Americans on the winning side this time. Going with the home team Russians for the Bronze medal. The Swedes and Finns are always tough teams. Their players are smart and with Henrik Lundquist and Tuuka Rask in net respectively, either could easily medal. Panthers young gun Aleksander Barkov will suit up for Finland.
I will be reporting on other games and doing post-game interviews so the days will be long and the hockey plentiful! Just the way I like it.
And with that, it's off to Moscow and eventually Sochi for me.
Florida Panthers TV PBP
CBS-4 TV Miami sports
WINZ Miami morning radio host
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