Carlson, USA gear up for showdown with Russians

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The USA men's hockey team is getting ready for a major Olympic showdown with the Russians.

It's one of the hottest tickets at the Olympics. Fans want a seat in the Bolshoy Ice Dome to watch Russia go for the gold. Their next game is a showdown Saturday with the United States.

The top American NHL players have come together to form a superstar team. They are on a mission, despite having just three practices together.

"It's tough. We have a lot of guys who have played together throughout the season. We have a lot of guys returning. That was the secret to success in Vancouver, we had a lot of guys come together and we need to do that again," said Ryan Callahan.

The tournament is wide open. Most hockey experts feel like Canada and Russia will compete for the gold, but the Americans have the first shot at the Russians.

"They are always tough. Always one of the favorites when you play an international tourney," said Zach Parise. "They have the extra motivation at home and they had a rough showing in Vancouver. They have a lot to play for."

A Cathedral High School graduate will be in the middle of it all. John Carlson plays for the Washington Capitals now, but he started with the Indiana Ice.

"I was a senior in high school and still have great friends there. It was a big year in my hockey career and I really enjoyed it," Carlson said.

Carlson scored the USA's first goal and added an assist in a route of Slovakia in their Olympic opener.

Saturday's face-off is scheduled for 7:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time.