As usual, Team Canada goes into the Olympic Games (with NHL participation) as the best team on paper. They have the most talent and the most depth of any country in the world. Of course as everyone knows, that doesn’t guarantee anything.
Canada finished 4th in 1998, 1st in 2002, 7th in 2006 and 1st in 2010. As has been much publicized, they won both tournaments played in North America and lost both tournaments in Europe. They have won on big ice before though (Salt Lake City played on international sized ice) and actually played well in 1998 (they beat Sweden 3-2 and USA 4-1), despite the 4th place finish.
So how will Canada fare in 2014? They have the best team on paper, sure, but they might be susceptible in goal. Carey Price has enjoyed a great season so far, but he is unproven in the playoffs. Roberto Luongo could also get the call, but might not be at his best after returning from two straight injuries.
Canada may also run into trouble given their easy schedule. Finland is their only real test in the opening round, which leaves them vulnerable to not being battle tested against a good team in the quarterfinals.
Still, if Canada figures out how to play on the big ice, they should win gold.
Here are the odds for where Canada will finish (odds courtesy of 888 Poker):
2nd place +260
3rd Place +425
4th Place +425
5-8th place +750
Very interesting to note that Canada has the same odds to finish 3rd as they do to finish 4th. I guess the odds-makers know Canada’s reputation for not giving a crap about the bronze medal.
If you’re betting on individual players on Team Canada, the team is likely to roll 4 lines as they did in 2010. Sidney Crosby and Steven Stamkos (if healthy) are really the only two locks to be on the 1st unit power play. Everyone else is questionable to receive significant power play time because of Canada’s incredible depth.
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