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Everything you need to know about 2014 Olympic hockey tournament

By Adam Gretz | Hockey writer

More NHL offseason: Rumors | Top 50 Free Agents | Buyout Tracker | Trade Tracker

The NHL finally announced Friday that it is sending its players to the Winter Olympics for the fifth time.

Here is everything you need to know about the tournament that will be taking place in Sochi, Russia.

When: Feb. 12-Feb. 23 (NHL shuts down between Feb. 9 and Feb. 26).

The Teams:

Group A: Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, United States

Group B: Austria, Canada, Norway, Finland

Group C: Czech Republic, Latvia, Sweden, Switzerland

The ice: Unlike the 2010 tournament, which was played on an NHL-size rink in Vancouver, the 2014 games will use the International ice size (60 by 30 meters) as well as IIHF rules. IIHF rules include no-touch icing, no trapezoid rule (goalies rejoice!), and no fighting.

The referees: The NHL-NHLPA-IIHF agreement on the 2014 games will allow seven NHL referees and six NHL linesman to be integrated into the IIHF on-ice referee crews.

The schedule (all times ET):

Wednesday, Feb. 12: Czech Republic vs. Sweden (12 p.m); Latvia vs. Switzerland (12 p.m.)

Thursday, Feb. 13: Finland vs Austria (3 a.m.); Russia vs. Slovenia (7:30 a.m.); Slovakia vs. United States (7:30 a.m.); Canada vs. Norway (12 p.m.)

Friday, Feb. 14: Czech Republic vs. Latvia (3 a.m.); Sweden vs. Switzerland (7:30 a.m.); Canada vs. Austria (12 p.m.); Norway vs. Finland (12 p.m.)

Saturday, Feb. 15: Slovaka vs. Slovenia (3 a.m.); United States vs. Russia (7:30 a.m.); Swizterland vs. Czech Republic (12 p.m.); Sweden vs. Latvia (12 p.m.)

Sunday, Feb. 16: Austria vs. Norway (3 a.m.); Russia vs. Slovakia (7:30 a.m.); Slovenia vs. United States (7:30 a.m.); Finland vs. Canada (12 p.m.)

Tuesday, Feb. 18: Qualification playoff. Four games TBD.

Wednesday, Feb. 19: Quarterfinals. Four games TBD.

Friday, Feb. 21: Semifinals. Two games TBD.

Saturday, Feb. 22: Bronze Medal game (10 a.m.)

Sunday, Feb. 23: Gold Medal gamme (7 a.m.)

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