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Olympic hockey predictions

Feb 12 • Hockey, Sports • 408

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With the Olympics underway and the hockey tournament starting Wednesday, there are a lot of things to think about. A common question many find themselves pondering is will the Canadians dominate this year’s Olympics, and live up to their hype?

The Canadian team captured the gold medal against the Americans in Vancouver in 2010, off an overtime goal from Sidney Crosby.

The questions continue with, will Team USA have enough offensive punch and play well as a team defensively to be able to compete for the gold medal? Or are the Russians going to capture the gold medal on home ice?

Well, the wait is over and now it’s time for predictions. Teams Canada and Russia are definitely front-runners for the gold medal. With the offensive power that those two teams have, they will pose a threat to each team they face.

Canada has been said to have the easiest schedule for any team and is almost promised a spot in the gold medal game. Russia, on the other hand, has a little harder of a schedule, but there is no reason you won’t see them in medal contention.

The more interesting story is how Team USA is going to handle not only playing in Russia, but having one of the harder schedules in the tournament. There are a lot of questions for the US.

Who is going to be in net? With Ryan Miller and  Jonathan Quick both coming into the Olympics healthy and wanting to play, the coaches have one of the biggest decisions to make. I don’t believe that Team USA has the offensive firepower like Canada or Russia, but the team’s defense is notable. I think that the U.S. is going to medal, but I see the team having a better chance capturing the bronze medal in Sochi.

Teams Finland and Sweden are probably going to have a chance at a medal this year also. I wouldn’t be surprised if they  upset a big team like Canada or Russia.

Both teams found themselves in the gold medal game during the 2006 Olympics, but each squad has a better chance to take home bronze.

However, if you told me I had to pick who wins what medal, I would have to say that  Russia is going to win gold. Playing on home ice and having what will probably be the most explosive offense with players like Evgeni Malkin, Pavel Datsyuk and Alexander Ovechkin, it is going to be hard for any team to try to stop that kind of offensive attack.

For the silver medal, I’m going with Team Canada. I just don’t think the Canadians will be able to defeat team Russia on their home ice, in front of a loyal fan base.

The bronze medal will be on its way back to the U.S. because of its defensive power and what is probably the best goaltending in the tournament. It will be interesting to see if the U.S. offense will be able to propel the team to place higher than third.

Lastly, a team that isn’t being talked about a lot that could make a run to challenge the Americans for bronze will be the Czech Republic. The dark horse team has a solid group of veteran players that will rise to the occasion on the biggest stage for hockey.

 

CONRAD THIBAULT

thibault001@knights.gannon.edu

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