Looking to return to the podium after missing out in Sochi, the United States men’s hockey team–this team locked and loaded with players outside of the NHL–begins its 2018 Olympic campaign with a matchup against Slovenia, who will be appearing in the Olympics for the second time in the country’s history.
In the United States, the game starts Wednesday morning at 7:10 a.m. ET and will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network. If you don’t have cable or a cable log-in, you can watch a simulcast of NBCSN live online by signing up for one of the following cable-free, live-TV streaming services:
FuboTV: NBC Sports Network is included in the “Fubo Premier” channel package. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial, and you can then watch the game live on your computer via the FuboTV website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the FuboTV app.
DirecTV Now: NBC Sports Network is included in each of the four main channel packages. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial no matter what package you choose, plus you can get a free Amazon Fire TV if you prepay two months. Once signed up, you can watch the game live on your computer via the DirecTV Now website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the DirecTV Now app.
Sling TV: NBC Sports Network is included in the “Sling Blue” channel package. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial, and you can then watch the game live on your computer via the Sling TV website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Sling TV app.
In addition to being able to watch the NBSCN simulcast via the above streaming services, you can also watch the game live on your computer via NBCOlympics.com, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the NBC Sports app. To watch this stream, you’ll have a 30-minute free preview before needing to sign in to your TV provider, but you can use your FuboTV, DirecTV Now or Sling TV credentials to do that.
The decision to have NHL players sit out the Olympics for the first time since 1994 obviously makes this tournament significantly more unpredictable, but it’s still fairly safe to say that this opening game is one that will help Tony Granato’s squad get Group Play started on the right foot. While oddsmakers peg the Red, White and Blue as +900 to take home gold, Slovenia is tied with South Korea for the longest odds at +25000.
While current NHL players are absent from the Games, the USA still has some players that will be recognizable to many fans. Captain Brian Gionta spent 15 years in the NHL with the New Jersey Devils, Montreal Canadiens and Buffalo Sabres, racking up 289 goals and 299 assists, while James Wisniewski is a veteran defenseman who also spent more than a decade in the NHL.
Both are getting interest as potential NHL signings following the conclusion of the Olympics, while the 39-year-old Gionta is garnering high praise from teammates who are barely half his age.
“He looks pretty young,” 21-year-old forward Ryan Donato said. “He’s one of those guys that although he may have a lot of NHL experience and played in the league for a long time and played with my dad even, he’s one of those guys that always keeps the energy up and is flying around during practice and probably is one of the guys that’s still in the best shape out of all of us, too.”
In addition to the NHL experience that Gionta and Wisniewski bring, Team USA also has some likely future NHL talent on the team in Harvard’s Donato, St. Cloud State’s Will Borgen, Boston’s Jordan Greenway and Denver’s Troy Terry.
Slovenia, meanwhile, made it to the quarterfinals in Sochi in what was the small country’s Olympic men’s hockey debut in 2014, but with Los Angeles Kings captain Anze Kopitar no longer on the roster, things are going to be significantly more difficult for Kari Savolainen’s team.