NHL to soon decide on 2018 Olympic participation, plus the latest on Jonathan Quick, Anze Kopitar, Erik Johnson and more.

ESPN.COM: Russia’s Men’s hockey team is a team united as they deal with the pressure of attempting to win gold on home ice.

TSN.CA: The NHL will reportedly decide within the next six months if it will participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: At least they won’t let this issue drag on for years. Whatever is decided it is best to have this addressed quickly.

NBC SPORTS: Jason Brough believes if NHL players want ongoing Olympic participation they need to speak up.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m sure some will, especially those currently participating in the Sochi Olympics, but they’ll likely wait until after this year’s tournament is over. Besides, they’ll likely allow the NHLPA to do the talking for them on this issue.

Jonathan Quick to get the start in Team USA's opening game.

Jonathan Quick to get the start in Team USA’s opening game.

USA HOCKEY: revealed via Twitter Jonathan Quick will be the starter for Team USA’s opening game against Slovakia.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS:  Ondrej Pavelec has not only been passed over as the Czech Republic’s starter in their opening game against Sweden, he also won’t be dressed for the game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pavelec is the Czech’s only NHL goalie. Any interesting choice by Czech coach Alois Hadamczik.

DETROIT FREE PRESS: Tomas Tatar believes his Slovakia squad could play the spoiler in this year’s tournament.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Anze Kopitar and Team Slovenia are ready for their Winter Olympics debut in men’s ice hockey.

NOTE: News involving Team Canada will appear in “Canadian Corner”.

NHL.COM: Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson received a two-game suspension for slashing NY Islanders forward Frans Nielsen.

NEWSDAY: Nielsen suffered a broken hand from the slash and is expected to miss a month.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Punishment doesn’t really fit the crime here. 

NBC SPORTS: Former NHL defenseman Janne Niinimaa has announced his retirement as a professional player. He last played in the NHL in 2006-07, playing in 743 games and amassing 319 points with the Philadelphia Flyers, Edmonton Oilers, NY Islanders, Dallas Stars and Montreal Canadiens. He spent the past six seasons playing in Sweden and Switzerland.