I love this time of season. Non stop hockey action from the NHL – instead of a lousy, boring NHL All-Star game – we get to witness the best of the best go at it in the Winter Olympics.
Back in 2010 was quite possibly the best hockey I have ever witnessed and I can only hope this season it will be the same or – if it’s possible – better!
Before I get into my predictions for each group, know this. I did not consider stats or trends into my predictions. Simply because they won’t mean a thing in the Olympics. It’s a short tournament and I base my predictions off of gut feeling, schedule and current rosters. That’s it. Enjoy.
I spent some time looking over the schedule for all 12 teams and whoever made the groupings should probably be shot. But I’m convinced whoever made these groupings and schedule is pro Team Canada. No, I’m not saying that because I am American I am saying that because they will easily be 3-0 going into the Qualification rounds. That’s if Finland doesn’t beat them to the punch first.
Since I am talking about Canada and Finland already let’s take a look at Group B.
Austria, Canada, Finland and Norway
Let’s be honest and lay it out there. Team Austria and Team Norway isn’t going too far this year. They don’t have the depth that Team Canada and Team Finland possess. It’s as simple as that.
Both Finland and Canada will beat up on Austria and Norway before dueling it out with one another. One of these two teams will easily be 3-0 going into the qualification rounds. Finland does have the goaltending and offense to keep up with Canada but Canada has the offense, defense and goaltending to come out victorious. And they benefit from an easy schedule unlike Group A and C.
Team Canada rolls through their group and goes 3-0
Much like Group B, Team Sweden also benefits from an easy schedule in Group C. And should easily roll through their group going into the qualification rounds.
Czech Republic, Latvia, Switzerland and Sweden
Again, let’s be honest and lay it all out there. If Team Sweden can’t go 3-0 before the qualification rounds, then there is something wrong in hockey. Sweden is stacked from offense, to defense right to goaltedning. I look at their roster and I almost feel like I am looking at an NHL roster.
Sweden should roll through the Czech Republic in their first game considering the Czech have no defense. In their second game they will play Switzerland, another easy win. Then cap it off by playing Latvia. A game where they will feel like they are practicing.
Now examining the Czech Republic and Switzerland it’s really a coin toss on who finishes with the better record before the qualification rounds. But I would lay my money on Czech Republic only because they have more experienced NHL players on the roster.
Team Sweden rolls through their group and goes 3-0
I didn’t purposely scatter the groups around just to confuse you. I saved Group A last simply because it’s the hardest to predict. In my opinion, the most talented group in the Winter Olympics.
Ah, who am I kidding? The only teams that matter are Team USA and Team Russia.
Russia, Slovenia, Slovakia, and USA
When I first looked at the schedule I wrote Team USA off. But then I looked further into their group and if it weren’t for the Russians, my American boys would roll 3-0 before the qualification rounds. But wait….they still will roll 3-0.
It’s Russia’s time to shine in the hockey world. They are hosting the Olympics and anything short of gold will be a disappointment. Ilya Kovalchuk was my favorite hockey player until he left the NHL and went to the KHL. Why did he? Who the puck knows. But he has a full season in the KHL under his belt now and building relationships with players he will pay with and against in the Olympics.
In my opinion that gives him the edge and experience over any player in the Olympics this season.
Team Russia will start off their destiny for gold by playing Slovenia, should be an easy victory. But in their second game they will have to face Team USA who will also enter that game 1-0 after defeating Team Slovakia.
February 15th at 7:30 am est is going to be one of the biggest hockey games in Olympic history. If you have been a hockey fan since the 70’s or even know what I am talking about, you know why I am saying this will be the biggest game of the tournament. If you don’t, go find a hockey book.
This game will decide which team will have the deeper Olympic run and I’m not saying this because I’m American – I am saying this because it’s true – the Americans will defeat Russia. (unless the Russians cheat)
Team USA rolls through their group and goes 3-0
As for who will win medals, it’s far too early to tell. Just because I have Sweden, USA and Canada going 3-0 that doesn’t mean Russia, Finland or the Czech won’t make an impact in the qualification rounds.
Teams adjust just like NHL teams adjust in the playoffs. Sure it’s a shorter time period but these teams will find a way.
Be sure to check back as the tournament rolls on to see our final predictions
Pucking Hockey is a registered trademark company. Pucking Hockey is a registered copyright company. All Rights Reserved.