Best Bets for Thursday at the 2014 Sochi Olympics:
The U.S. opens pool play with a game against Slovakia. Canada and Russia are the expected gold-medal finalists, but it wouldn't surprise if the U.S. was around at the end. The thing about Olympic hockey is you get to see lines such as Patrick Kane, Dustin Brown and Phil Kessel. Jonathan Quick will be in goal.
The U.S. could win gold if Heather Richardson can shake off her lackluster performance in the 500 meters and win the 1,000 meters. A gold could soften the disappointment of Shani Davis' eighth-place performance in the men's 1,000. Brittany Bowe could also make the stand for the U.S.
MEN'S FIGURE SKATING
Patrick Chan of Canada is the odds-on favorite to win the men's competition, which starts with the short program Thursday. While the gold is Chan's to lose, strong contenders include Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan and Javier Fernandez of Spain. Jeremy Abbott and Jason Brown will compete for the U.S.