Sochi 2014: Pre-qualification
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11-17-2012, 05:35 PM
Join Date: Oct 2009
Group D is a no-brainer. Unless Germany ***** it up royally, they have no trouble winning the group.
In Group E, Latvia is the clear favorite. They have a squad full of seasoned KHLers. France is the main challenger, but will still need superior teamplay if they wish to edge over Latvia. They've got maybe one full unit's worth of players who play in decent leagues. If the lockout persists, the edge gets even clearer. Latvia will have what little NHL talent they've got as well, because those guys already are in Europe, while France's best talent is stuck in the AHL. The only edge France has is in netminding, as Huet is something Latvia can't match in their own end.
Kazakhstan has a chance to pull maybe one upset and shake up the group, but it'd take 'em tremendous effort to beat both France and Latvia.
F is definitely the toughest group. Every participant has a decent chance to come out on top, but Denmark and Belarus still some more than Ukraine or Slovenia. I'd say the position of the favorite depends on the lockout. If it's still on, I'd give the edge to Denmark, otherwise to Belarus. Denmark's top-shelf talent is better, but if they get called back across, Belarus has the depth edge.
Whatever happens, one thing is sure. If the lockout is still on, this thing is far more interesting to follow.
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