With the men’s Olympic hockey set to start in a number of hours, there’s no better time for us to roll out our tournament predictions. Especially when you consider that we’ve been talking about this tournament for about 2 full years. Below are each writers Gold, Silver and Bronze Medal predictions. Of course, we’d love to hear your thoughts (you know, if you agree with us or not), predictions and more. Folks, get ready for the greatest hockey tournament you’ve ever seen!
Burgundy’s Olympic Predictions
Gold- Canada; Canada might just have the most well rounded team in this tournament and they’ll need to be firing on all cylinders to defeat Sweden in the Gold Medal game. I believe Canada will move pucks better than any other team and their talent mixed with grit will put them over the edge. I predict Sidney Crosby to be the dominating force Canadians hope he’ll be.
Silver- Sweden; Team Sweden is one of the older teams in the tournament and I believe their experience (and Henrik Lundqvist) will get them through to the Gold Medal game. However, as smart and as well coached as the Sweden team is, I don’t think they’ll be able to keep up with the pace Canada will set in the Finals. Plus, for whatever reason, Crosby always scores a few goals on Lundqvist… yeah, you heard it here first!
Bronze- Russia; No one is giving Finland any love whatsoever, so I’m predicting the Fins meet Russia in the Bronze Medal game. Given the depth the Russians have, I believe they’ll win the Bronze medal by defeating Finland in a closer than expected game. I think the Russians won’t win their semi-final game because their defense and goaltending isn’t good enough. In fact, when you consider the talent they carry in forwards, their defense isn’t even comparable (aside from Markov). This will be the #1 thing that hurts Team Russia in 2010.
Fantana’s Olympic Predictions
Gold- Russia; There’s too much offense on this team to be able to contain it all. If you manage to shut down Ovechkin and Semin, players like Datsyuk and Kovalchuk will step up and lead the way. Their defense isn’t the best in the tournament but I think their goaltending is strong enough to bail the D out.
Silver- Canada; Canada is sending a great team to the Olympics this year and they will definitely make up for the disaster in Turino 4 years ago. Having said that, I don’t think they quite stack up against a strong Russian squad, though it will be close. 2nd place is no shame and I think this is where Canada, as a country, needs to learn that it’s no longer our game.
Bronze- Sweden; In the Bronze Medal game, I think you’ll see a great match with the U.S. and the Swedes going head to head. Both teams are lead by solid goaltending and exciting young players who are emerging as superstars around the world. In the end, I give the edge to Sweden because they’re a little bit older and a little bit more experienced on such a large stage.
Champ’s Olympic Predictions
Gold- Russia; What can we say, the Russians have more fire power than the US army. These guys will just come wave after wave with speed and all out talent and will embarass a good number of teams. This will be the year the Russians return to the top of hockey internationally.
Silver- Sweden; The Gold Medalists from 2006 return with a very strong team and will benefit from players currently playing well for their respective teams such as Daniel Alfredsson. Good goaltending and good defence will help this team do well throughout the tournament.
Bronze- USA; Team USA is going to surprise a lot of teams riding Ryan Miller throughout the tournament. I would be surprised if Tim Thomas or Jonathan Quick even see any action. Look for team USA to be a very fast team that many will under estimate.
Notes: What about Canada you ask? As I said I believe the “jinx” will unfortunately hit the men’s hockey team as well as I believe they will be “shocked” in the quarterfinals once again. My heart truly hopes this does not happen as Champ would love nothing more than to celebrate a gold medal like in ’02, but my gut tells me it will be for not. Let’s hope I’m very very wrong!
Baxter’s Olympic Predictions
Gold- Canada; All round best team. Motivation to win at home should be enough to be a difference maker. Watch for other forwards to capture the limelight as Crosby will be a marked man the entire tournament.
Silver- USA; Ryan Miller will steal games for the Americans. Offense is not much to write home about, but his stellar goaltending will be good for a few key games.
Bronze- Russia; Surprise upset prediction. Goal scoring will be not an issue, but preventing goals against will be their challenge.
Stay classy, Olympic Hockey.