Group A - United States, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia.
Group B - Canada, Finland, Norway, Austria
Group C - Sweden, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Latvia
Looking at the groups, I'd have to say group A should be the most competitive. I think most would agree the US and Russia are in the top 4 for best rosters heading to Sochi, and Slovakia has a handful of players that are very good players in the NHL, compared to Norway which has none and Switzerland which has some NHL players but no proven stars yet. Switzerland does always seem to play very well as a team though despite this.
I forgot to check the add poll option, if a MOD could add one that'd be great, thanks.
I'll go out on a limb and say Group C. Underrated nation in Switzerland who always gives the Top 5 a solid run for their money. I wouldn't be surprised at all if they were able to sneak into the medal round.
I don't usually follow International hockey outside of the big tournaments, but how did Austria and Slovenia get into the Olympics? How did Germany not make it over these teams?
Only the top 9 seeds, following the 2012 World Championships, are guaranteed a berth at the Olympics. Coming into this year's qualifying tournaments, they were (in order): Russia, Finland, Czech Republic, Sweden, Canada, Slovakia, USA, Norway and Switzerland.
Seeds 10 through 12 (Germany, Latvia and Denmark) then hosted a prequalification tournament. Three groups of four teams play a three game round robin, the winners of each group earn qualification to Sochi. The results are as follows:
Group D: Austria, Germany, Italy, Netherlands
Group E: Latvia, Kazakhstan, France, Great Britain
Group F: Slovenia, Belarus, Denmark, Ukraine
On the final day, needed only a point to gain qualification, Austria lost to Germany in overtime. That would be why the Germans failed to qualify.
Group A is going to be ridiculous. I should be in Europe at that time. Find a place that has a ferry boats from Varna to Sochi. It's about 600 miles by boat or 1300 miles by car.
Any other Muricans wanna take an adventure?