TEAM USA IS GOING FOR GOLD
The games are set and Team USA will play the winner of Slovakia verse Czech Republic. The road to gold will not be easy as a 2nd round matchup with Canada is imminent.
The U.S. and Canada are scheduled to play next on Wednesday at 12pm versus tomorrow’s respective winners. My two gold medal favorites should walk away victorious and set up an incredible match up between North America’s powerhouses.
Olympic brackets will likely produce a Europe versus North America finals. It will also ensure that there is no way both North American teams will walk away with the Gold and Silver.
“THIS IS OUR TIME”
Team USA looks poised to repeat the feat of the 1980 Miracle on Ice squad. They are the deepest and most complete team in the tournament. The chemistry between Kessel and Pavelski is growing after every shift. Patrick Kane also looks like he is on the verge of an offensive explosion, while the “Leadership Line” of Parise, Backes and Callahan provide that high energy unit all winning teams need.
On the blue line, Ryan McDonagh and Ryan Suter form a formidable shut down pairing on any team. After goose-egging the tandem of Ovechkin and Malkin, I don’t believe there is any unit they can’t stop. Put in acrobatic goaltender Jonathan Quick as the last line of defense and you have the best chance for Gold in Team USA’s history.
Canada is standing in the way of destiny. Of course, if you ask any Canadian, we are standing in the way of their birthright. No other team in the tournament is as gifted or talented. However, that’s their Achilles Heel. Players are out of their roles. You want proof, look no further than NYR’s own, Rick Nash. He has no goals, playing under 15 minutes a game and being used a penalty killer.
The bulk of the Canadian offense is coming from their blue line. Drew Doughty leads Canada with 4 goals. Shea Weber has also added to the back line offense, but you can scheme defensively for that. You can expect the U.S. forwards to block shots and give them no room if they face-off for Gold.
As for Sweden, Russia and Finland, it looks like my dark horse pick (Finland) is becoming a favorite. Russia is not deep enough to compete. Sweden has Henrik Lundqvist which can’t be dismissed, but the loss of Henrik Zetterberg will lead to Finland getting to the Gold Medal game. The Finns flat out can play and have great goaltending in Rask and Lehtonen.
Loyal readers of this site have seen some of my best “Hockeydamus” moments. I originally had the U.S. and Canada playing in the Gold Medal game, but that is no longer possible. Here is my revision, the U.S. will beat the Czech’s, Canada will beat Switzerland and the U.S will beat Canada in a thriller.
Sweden and Finland will face-off for the right to challenge Team USA. In the end, the United States will defeat the same team they did in 1980 for Gold!
Gold – Team USA
Silver – Team Finland
Bronze – Team Canada