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USA Hockey, led by team captain Zach Parise, is ready for the Sochi Olympics

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SOCHI, Russia: The U.S. Men’s Olympic Hockey Team is stoked to compete in the Sochi Olympics.

At a press conference in Sochi today, Coach Dan Bylsma and four players reiterated that they are ready to compete on this world stage

Upon arriving in Sochi after a long, chartered flight yesterday, the team has already practiced on both days. “It was a great flight over, a lot easier than I thought it would be,” said Dustin Brown.

Bylsma reflected on how his players were chosen for Team USA, “We thought we could be a fast team, a smart team, and a tough team to compete against – in order to win the gold in Sochi.

And he realizes the squad will need to quickly gel. “The team that comes together as a group and figures it out in the next several days will be the most successful.”

Newly name Team Captain Zach Parise said, “I was excited and humbled to get the call. There is certainly no shortage of leadership in our group.”

As the leader, Parise wants nothing more than to win the gold here after just missing the gold at the 2010 Winter Olympics. “There is a hunger that you have, after coming so close in Vancouver. It was a tough way to finish.”

Brown mirrored Parise sentiments, “Sometimes a loss like that will motivate you more than anything else.”

Ryan Suter, whose father played on the Lake Placid 1980 Winter Olympics hockey team, said, “I feel very fortunate to have another chance to win a gold medal. The Olympics is the greatest experience.

Patrick Kane, fifth in overall points as of the NHL break, said, “All of us up here has the same goal in mind, to win the gold. I am looking forward to the chance ahead.

Team USA opens its pool play on Thursday against Slovakia, before battling against Russia on Saturday, and then Slovenia on Sunday, February 16.

Follow me on Twitter as I begin reporting on-site in Sochi.



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