SOCHI, Russia -- It might be the single most dramatic day on the Olympic hockey schedule: quarterfinal day.
Four games, eight teams, the choices stark. Win and you're guaranteed two more games and the gold medal is still in sight. Lose and you and your medal dreams go home. Finished. Just like that.
"We've set up a lot and we've had a lot of controlled neutral zones, but we think we can play quicker. And turning that into a forecheck more aggressively than we have," Bylsma said.
Those are elements that seem to fit the personality of this team and should prove difficult for a Czech defense that isn't particularly mobile. If the U.S. can bring the same physicality that we saw in its first two games against Slovakia and Russia, life will be very difficult for a skilled but not overly physical Czech lineup.
"It kind of seemed like we just got better and better as it went [in the preliminary round]," U.S. defenseman Brooks Orpik said Tuesday. "That's the key to tournaments like this, I think. I think you kind of see guys' confidence growing and growing as you go because in a short tournament like this, confidence is huge, especially in net, and both those guys [Miller and Quick] have been great for us."
While Miller got the start in the third game against Slovenia, it was Quick who was so strong in the first two games, stopping 51 of the 54 shots he faced. He was also terrific in the shootout against Russia.