Contribution by P.Giannosa
Starting tonight, the 2014 Winter Olympics are set to take place in Sochi, Russia. One of The Olympic’s major events is the Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament featuring twelve different countries who will be competing for a Gold Medal. The tournament will start next Wednesday, February 12th and finish with the Gold Medal game being held on Sunday, February 23rd.
The Olympic Men’s Hockey tournament has been known to be intense and grueling, especially for Medal winning teams. The players on these Olympic Medal winning teams play their heart out for their Countries and have been known to sometimes play up to seven games over an eleven day span. Meanwhile, most NHL players are at home kicking back hanging out with their families, maybe doing a little shopping at Home Depot and Bed Bath & Beyond, that is if they have the time for it.
2010 Olympic Hockey Tournament Run-Down
For those who didn’t pay attention to the Men’s Hockey Tournament four years ago in Vancouver, Canada, I’m sorry you missed out. Here’s a quick run down, so you can catch up. Finland beat Slovakia for the Bronze Medal (I know blah, blah, blah who cares) and then those Crazy Hozers from the North, Team Canada unfortunately beat the U.S. to capture the Gold in overtime.
The buzz during the entire tournament was that Team Canada was unstoppable because of their star-studded NHL roster. The Russians were also heavily favored, by again having quite a few NHL stars suiting up for their respected squad. Unfortunately for them, those Comies lost to Canada 7-3 in the Quarterfinals. Then we have Team ‘MERICA., who wiped the floor with Finland beating them 6-1 in the Semis allowing them to advance to the Gold Medal game against Canada.
The 2010 Gold Medal game was No Joke probably the best Hockey game that I have seen in the past four years. It was a fast, gritty, and hard-fought game at both ends of the ice. It was obvious that players were competing extremely hard wanting to Capture the Gold for their respected countries. The game came down to the wire and then by a last-ditch effort from Zach Parise, he was able to tie up the game for the U.S. with just 25 seconds left in regulation forcing the game into overtime. Unfortunately, the U.S. ended up losing the close match to Canada thanks to “Detroit’s Most Loved Player to Hate” Cindy Crosby shooting one past goalie Ryan Miller. All in all, the 2010 Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament was very successful for both the NHL and the Olympics while in the international spotlight. An old tradition that brings countries together by pitting the World’s most skilled players against each other competing for their countries and for hockey fans worldwide.
Men’s 2014 Hockey Olympic Preview
This Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia starts today with the opening ceremony being held tonight around 8pm. The Men’s Hockey Tournament can be considered one of the main highlights of the Olympics, many are hoping for another fun and exciting hockey tournament that will go down as one of the best the Olympics has ever seen. Expect early favorites (thanks to rosters stacked with the NHL’s best players) to win the Gold this year including teams Sweden, Russia, U.S.A., and Canada. If interested in team breakdowns and the schedule of the 2014 Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament please continue reading. Hopefully this is somewhat news for you and you can get some enjoyment out of it.
TOP 6 COMPETING TEAMS
Team Russia led by Captain and hometown hero”The Magic Man” Pavel Datsyuk (that is if he’s healthy for it) are looking to make a splash in the tournament especially with having the home ice advantage. A talented group of forwards including Datsyuk, Alexander Ovechkin, Ilya Kovalchulk, and Yevgeni Melkin, will look to score quickly and by a lot. Having an early lead and handling the puck well in front of the 2013 Vezina Trophy winner as the NHL’s goalie of the year Sergie Bobrovski, will allow the team to play relaxed and smart helping them to advance to later rounds in the tournament.
To be completely honest this team might be the sleeper pick of the tourny. Slovakia is composed of a defensive core headed by big man Zdeno Chara who is no stranger to the tough competitive international play. Vetran Power Forward Marian Hossa will lead the scoring attack along with the skilled young guns from HockeyTown Tomas Jurco and Tomas Tatar. Having talent at both ends of the ice will make it tough for teams to beat Slovakia.
Team Canada the reigning Gold Medal Champs, once again built by Detroit’s most beloved sports star Steve Yzerman and coached by the Red Wing’s own Mike Babcock, Canada is ready to make another historic Olympic run on the international stage. Captained by Sid the Kid, Canda has the most talented roster of all the teams competing and again have high expectations to win the Gold. Team Canada will be sending another star-studded NHL line up to Sochi including Rick Nash, Jonathan Toews, Claude Giroux, Shea Weber, Duncan Keith, Carey Price, and Robert Luongo. The team will be a tough opponent for all teams they face and they are confident that they can once again become Olympic Gold Medal Champions.
A team that has made its presence known as of late in the Olympic Hockey Tourny, Finland’s challengers will have a difficult time facing any of the three rostered goaltenders (especially if they get on fire) Kari Lehtonen, Antti Niemi, and Tuukka Rask. Goaltending is the obvious key to this team however they still have a solid offense captained by Teemu Sleanne (competing in his sixth Olympics=Geezer) competing along side with former Wing Valtteri Filppula and Wild captain Miko Koivu.
Team Sweden, another favorite to win the Gold, will have a strong offensive attack that is supported by a great defensive core. Sweden will be fun for us Detroit Hockey fans to watch and root for because the team is mostly consists of Red Wing players. Henrik Zetterberg, will captain and lead the exciting offense made up of NHL stars including Daniel Alfredsson, Nicklas Backstrom, and by both Sedin brothers (Daniel and Henrik). The notable Defense is composed of the skilled Nicklas Kronwall, big man Jonathan Ericsson, and former winner of the 2012 Norris Trophy as best defenseman of the year Ottawa Senator Erik Karlsson. Not to mention former Vezina Trophy winner, Henrik Lundqvist will be their netminder adding a strong presence between the pipes that won’t make it easy for opposing goal scorers.
Last but not least, we have the gritty and speedy Team U.S.A. The 2010 Gold Medal runner-up, Team ‘Merica will be hungry and ready to win this month in Sochi. Being lead by captain Zach Parise and many returnees from 2010 Silver Medal lineup including teammate D-Man Ryan Suter, puck handling extraordinaire Patrick Kane, 2012 Stanley Cup Champ Dustin Brown, Michigander Ryan Kesler, and former Mighican State Spartan goalie Ryan Miller. Red Wing Jimmy Howard and King’s goalie Jonathan Quick will also challenge Miller for the coveted starting goaltending spot for the U.S., my guess is that Quick will win out and be our go-to goalie of choice. With high hopes in Sochi, team U.S.A. would again love to be that surprising underdog upsetting any team that comes in their path and win its first Gold Medal since the 1980 “Miracle on Ice”.
2014 Men’s Ice Hockey Olympic Grouping/Schedule
Below is the complete schedule of the tournament including the Medal games.
12 PM ET Czech Republic vs. Sweden
12 PM ET Latvia vs. Switzerland
3 AM ET Finland vs. Austria
7:30 AM ET Russia vs. Slovenia
7:30 AM ET Slovakia vs. USA
12 PM ET Canada vs. Norway
3 AM ET Czech Republic vs. Latvia
7:30 AM ET Sweden vs. Switzerland
12 PM ET Norway vs. Finland
12 PM ET Canada vs. Austria
3 AM ET Slovakia vs. Slovenia
7:30 AM ET USA vs. Russia
12 PM ET Sweden vs. Latvia
12 PM ET Switzerland vs. Czech Republic
3 AM ET Austria vs. Norway
7:30 AM ET Russia vs. Slovakia
7:30 AM ET Slovenia vs. USA
12 PM ET Finland vs. Canada
3 AM ET Playoff qualifications
7:30 AM ET Playoff qualifications
12 PM ET Playoff qualifications
12 PM ET Playoff qualification
3 AM ET Quarterfinal
7:30 AM ET Quarterfinal
12 PM ET Quarterfinal
12 PM ET Quarterfinal
7 AM ET Semi Final
12 PM ET Semi Final
10 AM ET Bronze Medal Game
7 AM ET Gold Medal Game