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Greetings from the men's Olympic hockey opener

February 16, 2010 | 12:01 pm

Ryan Nice atmosphere here at Canada Hockey Place, scene of the U.S.-Swiss hockey game that will open the men's tournament today.

Lots of cowbells, lots of red Canadian jerseys -- Canada will play Norway in the second game here today -- and a good amount of red-and-white Swiss flags. Some Swiss flags have been draped from the railing in the upper and middle decks, giving the arena a festive feeling. The announcer said a few minutes ago that noise-making devices were banned, but the cowbells are a great touch.

Seen in the warm-ups: Ryan Miller will start for the U.S., with Tim Thomas backing him up. The third goalie, Jonathan Quick of the Kings, is not in uniform.

Early in the warm-ups, while many players were stretching, No. 54 of the U.S. and No. 1 of Switzerland appeared to be staring at each other. They were U.S. forward Bobby Ryan and Swiss goalie Jonas Hiller of the Ducks, perhaps not accustomed to finding themselves on opposing sides.

Incidentally, though most players got to keep the numbers they wore with their NHL teams, a few had to switch. Dustin Brown of the Kings took 32, since Chris Drury had 23 and has seniority. Joe Pavelski of the Sharks took 16 instead of 8.

More later at www.latimes.com/sports.

-- Helene Elliott in Vancouver

Photo: Defenseman Ryan Whitney stretches prior to Team USA's game against Switzerland on Tuesday. Credit: Kyle Terada / US Presswire

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