Men’s Ice Hockey Schedule Sochi 2014 XXII Olympic Winter Games
Russia and USA battle for supremacy in Group A
When it comes to Country vs. Country rivalries few can top the one that exists between the USA and Russia. These two “world powers” will clash on February 15th in the Preliminary Round. Russia has 16 NHL players, including Pavel Datsyuk and Alex Ovechkin, while the USA 25-man roster all play in the world’s premier Puck League. Slovenia, in there first visit to the Olympic Hockey stage – Los Angeles Kings superstar Anze Kopitar is their lone NHL player, and Slovakia who actually boast 12 NHL players, are in tough in this Group.
Group A Winner: Russia squeaks out a Sochi home ice victory over the rival USA
(All times are local Sochi time – Nine hours ahead of the Eastern time zone)
Canada headlines Group B as they look to strike back-to-back Gold
We’ll talk more about the Canucks prior to their opening round match on Thursday. As for the best of the rest, Finland is the only country in the field to medal in the last two Olympics – a Silver in Tourin 2006 and a Bronze in Vancouver 2010. The Fins (14 NHL players) boast one of the best keeper crews in the tourney. NY Rangers LW Mats Zuccarello is Norway’s lone NHL player and they’ve never finished higher than 8th (Sapporo 1972). Austria (3 NHL players) is playing for the first time since they finished 12th in the 2002 Utah XIX Olympics.
Group B Winner: Canada is as Golden and Sweet as Maple Syrup in this uninspiring Group
Jimmie Ericsson leads Sweden as the top chalk in Men’s Ice Hockey Group C
Unless you follow International Hockey, you’ve probably never heard of Ericsson, the lone non-NHL player on Sweden’s Olympic roster. Ranked #1 in the world, the Swedes will need Henrik “King” Lundqvist to shine in a competitive Group C. For the first time in the NHL Olympic era, Nicklas Lidstrom (retired) will not suit up for the Blue & Yellow. A fast rising Switzerland squad with eight NHL alumni, and the Czech Republic, who are aging but still stacked with 17 NHL players, will challenge the Swedes (without Henrik Sedin) in this group. Latvia will be gamey but are highly over-matched and will occupy the cellar in this highly skilled C Pool.
Group C Winner: The Swedes – World Champions in 2013 – hold off the Swiss squad
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