1) In 2010 we were the youngest team in the tournament and were #1 team leading up to the Gold match where we were 1 goal away from winning and beating one of the best teams Canada could probably send. Our new generation of US players are probably the best group of talent we have ever had.
2) Our blueprint is far smarter. Its really no secret to success. We just stopped thinking we could put out the best 12 forwards, the best 6 d-men, and the the best goalie and expect to win games against teams like Sweden, Czech, Finland or worse... Russia and Canada. We started to minimize the amount of great talents and started focusing a bit more on necessary skills.
We started seeing more importance in guys who have a habit of backchecking, who have a skill in forechecking, who are elite at faceoffs, who love to shut down the opposition. We put in hard working athletes and mixed it in with our top end skill and we have a great thing going. A lot of promise
I dont know what you're talking about but you obviously did not watch the 1996 World Cup of Hockey. THAT is a championship team.
Dont get me wrong, you have a good team, but you probably have about a 20 percent chance of winning in Sochi.
Bronze: Canada over Russia
I think goaltending is Canada's ultimate downfall and this USA team is deeper and more talented than the 2010 squad that was undefeated until the gold medal game. The bigger ice surface does worry me a bit, however.
All the best teams on paper have never been in top-4 at the same time and they won't be in Sochi either. It's very unlikely that all CAN, SWE, USA and RUS are in medal games. There are at least two reasons for that:
1) it's unlikely that they all end up in different QF pairs
2) it's unlikely that they all would win their QFs
In addition, the tournament is played on big ice outside NA. I bet that both NA teams won't make to the medal games. I don't know which team wins or which teams will be in medal games, but I know which combinations are unlikely or not more probable than others.
It's surprising that even the "experts" fall in to that best-on-paper trap year after year. CZE, SLO, FIN and now also SUI are fully capable of beating the CAN, SWE, RUS and USA on ice especially in single game.
1) it's unlikely that they all end up in different QF pairs
When you look at the groups, it's indeed quite highly unlikely that this will happen.
What is the most surefire way to ensure that the best four teams on paper don't meet in QFs? Sweden, Canada need to win their groups and out of RUS/USA one needs to win and the other finish as the best runner-up.
Currently, the group setup is pretty heavily slated against that happening. One out of CAN/FIN is the most likely to be the best runner-up, and even if they aren't, then SWE/CZE have slightly better odds.
Now, if the best runner-up comes from either group B or group C, the 2nd best runner-up should come from group A so that they can avoid meeting one of the other four. Again, not the best odds. Slovakia won't make it easy.
One more thing that can happen in the group stage is that SWE-CZE, CAN-FIN, USA-SVK or RUS-SVK ends in the favor of the "challenger". This will also almost certainly guarantee a "big four" QF showdown. The Swiss can also end up being a spanner in the works.
Simply put: Those who predict that the best four teams on paper will make up the final four have not exactly done their homework. To predict against that to happen is not even wishful thinking. No, it's actually something that is built in the system. For the top four to really finish in the top four does not require things to go in favor of the odds... it's going to take beating them.
GOLD: Canada (picking the right players wins it all, goalie will emerge)
SILVER: Russia (sick talent among top 9 forwards, defense can't keep up with forwards)
BRONZE: Sweden (dancing defense and great goaltending, top lines won't shine as in WC, big ice aces pushes Canada in semi)
Gold: Sweden, their d-men alone are better offensively than most of the forwards in other teams, the tournament is on big ice and Swedes have the best starting goaltender (arguably) also their forwards are among top 3 in the world too.
And this is coming from a guy who hates Swedish hockey team the most.
Silver/ Bronze Finland or Canada. Finland doesn't look like a finalist contender on paper but we have always played better than what we are on paper. For example Finland has won 4 medals in the past 5 Olympics, only missed one at Salt Lake City. also we probably have the best goaltending tandem in the tournament even if we had to pick our 3rd & 4th best goalie xD. And for Canada i just think they are the best team of the remaining ones.
Of course i don't see why USA, Russia, Czech etc. couldn't win a medal either i just think that Can, Swe & Fin are the most likely ones to be in the top 3.
Considering there are at least four teams that are considerably better on paper, not just a little, and two more that looks at least equally good, not counting the swiss either, i believe that what you finns will have to get realistical about is that your multi-medaling core are more or less senior citizens at this point, needing canes to the games in Sochi.
So - tell us how it will really be, oh great prognosticator...
It will be as it was already stated once: One of the top four teams predicted here is likely to grab the gold (while there are technically 7 or 8 teams with a chance, some have better chances than the others) - but it's actually highly unlikely that all the medalists will consist of them. Not because they wouldn't be good enough for it, but because the system and the way the preliminary groups are set almost guarantee that some will face against each other as early as in the QFs.
So yeah. Study the system, then make your predictions. It's far more likely to see some of the "lesser" top teams such as CZE/FIN/SVK make it to the semis than have all four of CAN/RUS/SWE/USA battle it out. Of course some of them will make it and be heavy favorites for gold, but not ALL of them.
FiLe: it's nice to see that someone here understands my point and probabilities. It's really surprising how many fans and so called experts don't understand what is the difference between rosters and ice hockey played on ice.
It's likely that gold goes to SWE/CAN/RUN/USA. Maybe I'd bet for Sweden, but they might as well lose their QF like in 1998, 2002 and 2010. That's why I don't guess anything else that in medal games there are 2-3 teams from RUS/SWE/CAN/USA and 1-2 teams from CZE/SVK/FIN/SUI.
There are 8 teams capable of winning the gold, though. Getting to top-4 requires winning just the QF game. All these countries have goalies capable of standing on their heads. Boston didn't allow Crosby, Malkin and Iginla make a single point when the Penguins were swept. That was four games. Unlike in NHL, olympic teams don't have time to properly train together and there are only three games before QF, so the super stars have even less advantage over the others.
Last edited by roto: 07-28-2013 at 01:17 PM.
Let's assume that CAN, SWE, USA and RUS all play in different QF pairs. It's unlikely (maybe <40%), but let's assume so.
Example QF pairs:
CAN-SUI: probability for CAN-win: 75%
Combined probability for wins of all top teams is ~16%. Prequisite is that they must be all in different QFs, so the total probability is 6%.
Yes, we all have different opinions of those QF probabilities, but the total probability is very low anyway. Those QF games aren't any best-of-seven series after long regular season. They are just one game after "regular season" of 3-4 games.