The NHL season is around the corner, and this season brings a special time for hockey fans, the Winter Olympics. The Winter Olympics bring NHL fans together from across the country to no longer talk smack, and no longer rag on players from rival teams, but to cheer for the one thing they all have in common, their country.
The Olympics are a special time, every four years, we get more emotionally evolved in sports than ever before. This year the emotions will run high, as usual, as 12 teams will skate together in Sochi going for the ultimate prize in International Sports: the gold medal.
Russia, Slovakia, U.S.A., and Slovenia will square off in Group A. Group B will consist of Finland, Canada, Norway, and Austria. And finally, Group C will consist of Czech Republic, Sweden, Switzerland, and Latvia.
So who are the favorites in Sochi this year?
It’s hard to bet against the American team after what happened last time. And with the depth in net, the Americans should have nothing to worry about. The emergence of Patrick Kane will be a huge help in the offensive zone for the U.S. The U.S. is solid from top to bottom, from the net, through the defensive zone, and into the offensive end. The Americans are my favorite to win Group A, and be followed by the Russian team into the second round of the finals.
Team Canada is always a favorite for obvious reasons when talking about winning the gold. Sidney Crosby, Jordan Staal, Steven Stamkos, and other superstar names on the roster there’s no going wrong with putting money on team Canada. Canada is my favorite to win the gold this year, but having the best roster doesn’t always guarantee anything, but Canada have won two gold medals in the last three Olympics. Canada is my favorite to come out on top in Group B, and Finland is a strong favorite to get into the second round behind Canada.
While looking at Group C, it’s hard to overlook Sweden, even without the likes of Daniel Alfredsson or Nicklas Lidstrom. Sweden’s roster will be held together by stars like Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin, Erik Karlsson, and many other house hold NHL players. The Swedes have a solid roster from top to bottom, and the net will be very well protected by the world’s best goaltender, Henrik Lundqist. Sweden is a large favorite in Group C, and behind them getting into the second round will likely be the well rounded Czech Republic team.