Deadspin's headline says it all: "USA Men's Hockey Loses To Slovenia. Slovenia!" Five practices were supposed to prepare the Americans for this, but the preparation wasn't enough to fend off the fatigue as the United States blew a two-goal lead and lost a 3-2 stunner in overtime Wednesday night in the Olympic opener for both teams. Slovenia captain Jan Mursak scored the tying goal with 1:37 left in regulation and the winner 38 seconds into overtime. No one expected this kind of showing from Slovenia, which looked overmatched in the first two periods and is mostly known for having a star in Los Angeles Kings captain Anze Kopitar. There was no Kopitar, though—this is the first Olympics since 1994 without NHL players, reports the AP, which offers a detailed rundown of the game.
Time (which rounds up some incredulous internet reaction to the loss) explains the NHL wasn't into the idea of having to take a three-week Olympic break and so it barred its players from participating. This leaves a US team comprised of college players and those who play for leagues other than the NHL. Deadspin's assessment: "It’s a bad, bad loss, even if the group stage doesn't eliminate anyone and only serves to determine the seeding for the knockout rounds." After each team's first game, Slovakia is atop Group B, followed by Slovenia, the US, and the Russians. The Americans face Slovakia on Friday. The US women are off to a much better start: They bested the Russians 5-0 on Tuesday.
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