I wanted to start of my doing an extremely brief review of a few teams that did not make it to this point.
Russia – The Gold Medal favorite going into this event. This was disaster of equal proportions to when Canada finished 7th in Torino. Two things killed the Russians in my view. #1 they got a horrible draw in getting Canada in the quarterfinal, but they did make thier own bed in losing to Slovakia in a round robin. And #2 The KHL players were exposed. I know Russia wanted to promote their league but on the NHL sized surface they looked out of place. Expect them to make a big push on home soil in 2014.
Sweden – The defending champs. This one was easier to figure out. Forsberg showed that he can still play at a high level. But this team's age really caught up with them. I would be shocked if we don't see a roster switch over of 70%+ by the time 2014 rolls around.
Czech Republic – Goaltending just wasn't good enough. Tomas Vokoun played alright but didn't dominate like he needed to for the Czech's to have a real chance. The pysche of this team was rocked when Ovechkin crushed Jagr in their game against Russia.
Switzerland – Played the style of game that they needed to play to give themselves a chance. Jonas Hiller was very good for most of the tournament and held the swiss in. They now need to develop some skill and they could be a real threat in 2014.
Now looking ahead to the Medal games. We'll start with Finland vs Slovakia for the Bronze. Finland got bombed by the USA and could never recover. The speed and physical presence of the Americans in the first period along with some horrible play by Miikka Kiprusoff spelled their end early. The Fins are an old team and looked it.
On the other slide Slovakia was a great Luongo save away from sending their game against Canada into overtime. Jaroslav Halak has been solid all tournament and the Slovaks have shown they can play tight and try to win the game on special teams.
Fearless prediction: This game means more to Slovakia in my opinion. A bronze medal would be a great accomplishment for their program, and they built a team that the entire roster has had NHL experience, not to mention 12 of their players played Major junior hockey in Canada. Kiprusoff will bounce back with a strong game but I don't think it will be enough. I'll take Slovakia to win 3-2.
Looking at the Gold Medal game we get a rematch from 2002 in Canada vs the USA. The Americans have exceeded expectations and have shown that a young fast team that will hit can win at this level. Ryan Miller has been very good all tournament and should be again.
Canada hung on to get to the Gold Medal game. I would be shocked if Chris Pronger plays more than 8 minutes as he is too slow to handle the young American forwards. If Roberto Luongo can rise up to the challenge and play a solid game and not give up any bad goals the Canadians have a chance.
Fearless prediction: Canada dominated the round robin game but Miller was excellent and Martin Brodeur was not on his game. Lets hope the referees put the whistles away and let these guys play. (The refs have been very good so far in my opinion) If Canada can dominate the play again they should be ok. I'll take Canada to win 4-2.
Have a good one!
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About the Author
Written by Shane Hoopfer
Die hard Flames fan since 1980, and a closet baseball junkie. Also a big Dolphins, and Stampeders fan!