February 13th is the magic day. It is when the Preliminary rounds for the Womens Ice hockey begin and the official start to the ice hockey events. February 28th is the date when it all will be decided. Now I do not follow womens ice hockey, so my input there is pretty much useless.
Now for the men. I pretty much have my choices on who I think will win what. I will hold on to that until later though. first, I will say many teams look very strong this year. As usual, I see one of the big 7 countries to win. The big 7 are, USA, Canada, Russia, Czech Republic, Sweden, Finland, and Slovakia. All 7 have good teams this year. (please keep in mind the rosters I have found are unofficial so there may be some differences in actual lineups but the mentioned players will most likely play) I regretfully have to rule out Czech Republic from the medal round. They have a team that could play with many NHL teams but they lack that top line talent that all of the other teams have and I think the offensive lack on the top line will hurt them. Their top line will most likely be Jagr, Hudler, and Hemskey. Jagr who at one point was one of the best to play, is past his ability to carry a top line. Hudler Is a decent second liner at best, and Hemskey is a low end top liner. Goal tending and Defense are about the same as offense. My next choice to not make the medal rounds is team Slovakia. Unlike Czech Republic, they have that capable top line in Marian Hossa, Gaborik, and Demitra but they don’t seem to have a second line that can play with other teams second lines. I think Hossa and Gaborik by themselves can handle the top line but they wont let you take one player off the top line and skate 4 on the second. On the d side of things I think Slovakia has a much better core than most other teams but I dont see them good enough to make up for the lack of a decent second line. Next to not make the Medal round is the 2006 Silver medal winners Finland. They have a pretty good top 2 o lines, but lack the depth that the other big 7 teams have. They have one of the better goalie lineups and a decent D lineup. Now, we get to the medal games. We have Canada, USA, Russia, and Sweden. If you have seen the rosters already I think you know what my match ups will be.
Canada vs Russia for the gold
USA vs Sweden for Bronze.
First, my assessment of the Bronze medal game. Sweden first. Concidering about half of the team plays for the Red Wings (yes that was a joke but they seriously have 5 players from the Wings) And being a wings fan all 20 years of my life, they are who I want to wint the gold. These guys have 2 lines full of top liners. They have a very impressive offensive lineup. The Sedins, Mats, Sundin, TOmas Holmstrom, Zetterberg, Franzen, Alfredson, Naslund, Backstrom, The Sedins and Alfredson should make up the third line, Zetterberg Holmstrom and Franzen I think should make up the top line just to keep Wings together. Mats Sundin, Naslund, and Backstrom getting the second line. Defensively they are VERY srton also. They have arguably the best D man in the last 20 years in Lidstrom. One of the better D lineups in the games. They lack of Goaltending though compared to Canada and Russia will hurt them. I see them edging out Team USA by 1 goal.
Team USA. They have an excellent top line on bot offense and Defense but that is about where it ends. They have decent goaltending with Tim Thomas and Ryan Miller. (note that all of these are based on the other teams lineups and not all NHL goalies since a #2 goalie is unlikely to play in the games) They lack in the area of depth, but their top line is good enough to get them 4th.
Now to the Gold medal game. It is a very difficult choice. Both teams have offensive power that can be matched by nothing short of an all star team which is pretty much what this game will be. So the fact that the NHl will not have an all star game, this in my opinion will by far make up for it. The Russians offense is lead by two of the best in the game and who I think will work very well together. They names are Pavel Datsyuk and Alex Ovechkin. You throw Malkin in the mix and you have easily the greatest top line to play since Howe, Lindsay, and Abel in the 50’s. The D is nothing short of awesome also as is the goaltending.
Canada. If there was ever a top line to match up against Russia. How about this. Crosby, Nash, Iginla.Second line, Thornton, Getzlaf, Toews. Thind line, Richards, Staal, Marleau. Three lines that can play with Russia. D Niedermayer, Pronger, Keith, Seabrook, Boyle, Weber.
Goalies. Canada has in my opinion the greatest lineup of goalies to ever be on a team. Brodeur, Luongo, Fleury. three of the top 10 goalies in the world playing for team Canada. This is the reason I am picking Canada to Win gold come the end of February.
Thank you all for taking time to read and have a fantastic week.
Tags: Canada, Hockey, Olympics, USA, Women's Sports