Has Russia overtaken the #1 spot in World Hockey?
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12-05-2012, 10:33 AM
Join Date: Nov 2012
To be the #1 nation in hockey, you need a mixture of things such as success at the junior level and men's level internationally, depth in terms of quality players, impact players in professional leagues with the NHL being the best, etc.
I think that depth is often overlooked as a major factor. Sweden, Russia, Canada, Finland and the US can all assemble very competitive teams. The pool of impact players to choose from is much larger for Canada however. Doesn't mean they're guaranteed to win because certain teams can go on winning streaks or push forward through a hot goaltender, etc. Canada could really ice two teams and, again, doesn't mean they would both be guaranteed to medal, but, like other darkhorse teams, if something goes right and they gain momentum then watch out.
Oh, and performance at the World Championships in the Spring hardly count. The timing is atrocious where essentially anyone the Canada and the US send over have just ended a long gruelling season, and the mental focus is just not there (or at least diminished).
Also, the format is pretty dumb with no bye to the semifinal anymore. Seems to favor random winners even more. For example, last year, Canada wins most of its matches in the roundrobin, outscoring its opponents by a wide margin, placing first in its group. Then, they have enter their elimination match against Slovakia and have a bad game. Result: out of medal contention, automatic 4th place in the tournament.
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