For most Americans, hockey is a strange, intricate world with its own traditions and customs. It is also one of the best parts of the Winter Olympics, with some the fiercest and best competition you'll ever see.
We'll have regular updates and GIF guides after the major games, catered to the casual hockey observer. But maybe you want to really throw yourself into the Olympic tournament, really give it a whirl, and our dispatches won't be enough. These are the websites and people on Twitter you should check in with daily:
Who: Puck Daddy
Why: Yahoo! Sports' hockey blog may be one of the best sources for hockey coverage on the Internet. Greg Wyshynski, the godfather of hockey blogging, is in Sochi and finding angles to the games you probably won't get from traditional reporters. Today Wyshynski interviewed American forward Paul Stastny, who finally beat his NHL Hall-of-Famer father's home country (Slovakia) in international competition. His deputies, Sean Leahy and Harrison Mooney, provide some of the best analysis available.
Why: Lebrun and Friedman may not be household names in the states, but they're two of the most recognizable faces in Canadian hockey coverage. Both reporters are in Sochi and will keep you up to date on every line-up change, injury, and tournament development. They also get the most interesting quotes from coach and player scrums, before and after the games. Essential follows, both of them.
Why: Baker has been consistently one of the best reporters in Sochi and, as Grantland's chief hockey reporter, it's only a matter of time before she turns her eye towards the stick and puck. You should be reading every dispatch she files from Russia, but especially pay attention for her hockey coverage. If you need a sampling, try her brilliant feature on Russian superstar Ilya Kovalchuk, who abruptly left the NHL last year to play in Russia. He'll anchor a national squad who some foolishly expect to miss the podium.
Who: Sleeping Giant
Why: Written by the hockey world's enfant terribles, Chemmy and Ryan Lambert, The Sleeping Giant is the most jingoist hockey blog around. If you want your coverage bleeding red white and blue, sweating eagles and pissing the Constitution, well, you've found the right place. The Sleeping Giant's unique take on Team U.S.A. hockey is like poetry, but better. A sampling after today's 7-1 whooping of Slovakia:
In their final warmup game before the Olympics officially begin, the United States of America easily dispatched by a score of 7-1 an Albuquerque, New Mexico, high school junior varsity team that was chosen at random to play against some of the greatest talent in the wo…
What’s that? This was an Olympic game? Okay, well anyway, this was an Olympic game so it’s nice to see the Americans pad their goal differential against anyone, even if the opponents in question were a bunch of malnourished childr…
You get the idea. Just don't expect an extensive update when the U.S. loses to Canada in the gold medal game.