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“I’m hoping to get a start at some point,” Price acknowledged.

Babcock declined to say who will be between the pipes for Canada during the preliminary rounds.

The Canadians appear to have an easy path to the quarterfinals.

They open with Norway, which has only one NHL player on its roster, on Thursday and then play Austria, which has just three players from the league, the next day. Following a one-day break, they’ll play a Finland team that is missing two of its best players - Valtteri Filppula and Mikko Koivu - because of injuries.

In the elimination round, though, there probably will not be any pushovers because perhaps more than half of the 12 teams in the tournament have a shot to end up winning gold.

Canada and the host Russians are regarded as the favorites.

The Canadians may have a better combination of forwards and defensemen, but they won’t have home-ice advantage with roaring fans rooting them on as they did four years ago.

“The opportunity to play in the Olympics, to be an Olympian, in your home country is a dream come true,” Babcock said. “I’m sure the Russians are optimistic they can do the same thing (we did). It’s very hard. There’s a ton of pressure.”

Fans back in the hockey-crazed country, though, will be staying up late or waking up early to watch games on TV that they’ll expect Crosby and Co. to win.

“Hopefully we do bring home a gold medal,” general manager Steve Yzerman said.


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