Canucks Army’s Guide to the Olympics

2014-sochi-logo

Most of you are functioning members of society, and are thus more than capable of navigating the internet to find these sorts of things out for yourselves. But there’s some of you out there that are lazy, and it’s those of you that may therefore potentially make use of this post.

Just past the jump I’ll attempt to succinctly summarize the schedule of play for the Men’s Olympic hockey tournament set to be played over the next two and a half weeks, with a Canucks-centric look at who will be playing, when they’ll be playing, and all of that jazz. 

The action will be finally – and I really do mean finally (!), because roughly 72 hours without hockey has made me feel light-headed, and a little bit woozy – starting on Wednesday morning with 2 games, before proceeding to ramp things up to 4 games/day all the way through the weekend.

So let’s get to it..

THE TEAMS

AUSTRIA

Coming in: They’re in Group B, and are ranked 15th by the IIHF.

History: Have never medalled (best finish was 5th in 1928). Didn’t qualify for 2010. 

NHL Connections: Ex-Canuck Michael Grabner made the team. He’ll be fun to watch on the big ice, as will his lack of ability to finish breakaways, which he clearly learned from the very best as he made his way through their system. There’s also Thomas Vanek (whose name you’ll be hearing plenty more once the NHL resumes business), and Michael Raffl (who may remember had 2 assists against the Canucks back on December 30th).

Odds to Win: 750/1

CANADA

Coming in: They’re in Group B, and are ranked 5th by the IIHF.

History: Have won gold twice in NHL Era, including the 2010 games in Vancouver (!!)

NHL Connections: At this point we don’t know exactly who will be in net for them in the meaningful games, but we do know that Roberto Luongo will get one of the first two games. Meanwhile, it sounds like Dan Hamhuis will be more of an insurance asset than anything, as he’s set to start the tournament as the 8th defenseman.

Odds to Win: 19/10

CZECH REPUBLIC

Coming in: They’re in Group C, and are ranked 4th by the IIHF.

History: Won gold back in ’98, finished 7th in Vancouver.

NHL Connections: There are no Canucks on this team, but there are definitely a few connections. First off is Petr Nedved, who is somehow still playing 24 years after the Canucks took him 2nd overall. Amazing. As is the knowledge that Lukas Krajicek is still kicking around in the KHL, and will be suiting up for this team. And finally, there’s noted Canuck killer Martin Hanzal, who basically single-handedly changed the course of the team’s season..

Odds to Win: 12/1

FINLAND

Coming in: They’re in Group B, and are ranked 2nd by the IIHF.

History: Always up to stuff and a total nuisance to play against, but no gold medals in the NHL era. Won bronze in Vancouver.

Connections: Sami Salo is on this team, which is way cool. As is Ossi Vaananen – who the Canucks claimed off of waivers back in ’09, and played 3 games for the team – which is somehow way less cool. Also, Teemu Forever.

Odds To Win: 11/1

LATVIA

Coming in: They’re in Group C, and are ranked 11th by the IIHF.

History: Have never actually won a medal, and their best finish as a country was 9th back in ’02. Wound up being 12th (out of 12 teams) in Vancouver.

Connections: Hey, it’s our good buddy Ronaldu Ķēniņu (whom the Canucks signed this past summer). The extent of our analysis at the time was “well, he has a cool name!”, and we don’t really know much more about him 6 months later. Maybe he’ll do something noteworthy in this tournament, but it seems highly doubtful. Of note, though, is that Sandis Ozolinsh is amazingly still playing professional hockey! I guarantee there are at least a handful of you out there that just had your mind blown. 

Odds to Win: 400/1

NORWAY

Coming in: They’re in Group B, and are ranked 9th by the IIHF.

History: Never medalled, with an 8th place finish in ’72 being their best thus far. They were 10th in ’10. 

Connections: Um, Mats Zuccarrello? I will say that Per-Age Skroder will easily make it onto the All-Name team for this tournament, though. Norway won’t be getting a medal in hockey, and considering that they’re the only nation ahead of Canada in the medal count at the moment, that’s good news.

Odds to Win: 200/1

RUSSIA

Coming in: They’re in Group A, and are ranked 3rd by the IIHF.

History: Have several gold medals from their time as the Soviet Union, but haven’t won one since ’92. They finished 6th in 2010 after being completely and utterly dismantled by the Canadian team in the quarters.

Connections: There aren’t really any connections to the Canucks on this team. Check the Top-6 up front out, though. Good god that’s basically a wet dream to any and all fans of the game. I hope they do well because I’d hate to see what’ll happen over in Sochi if they don’t..

Odds to Win: 12/5

SLOVAKIA

Coming in: They’re in Group A, ranked 8th by the IIHF.

History: Finished 4th back in ’10 (thanks in large part to Pavol Demitra’s magnificent peformance, may god rest his soul). That was their best result to-date.

Connections: No real connections here, either. I will note that they have 6 forwards named “Tomas“, which is certainly something. I guess we could mention Andrej Meszaros, who was one of the best players I’ve ever seen in a Vancouver Giants uniform and a prime example of why you shouldn’t overrate players coming out of your backyard. He’s a bad hockey player.

Odds to Win: 33/1

SLOVENIA

Coming in: They’re in Group A, ranked 17th by the IIHF (lowest in the tournament)

History: This is their first ever Olympic appearance! Yahoo! Go Slovenia!

Connections: Man, it sure is a shame that Gasper Kopitar was cut from this team. With Anze representing his country, and their father being the coach of the team, the “Keeping up with the Kopitars” plot would’ve really could’ve potentially had some legs!

Odds to Win: 1000/1

SWEDEN

Coming in: They’re in Group C, ranked 1st overall by the IIHF. Tre Kronor!

History: Won gold back in ’06 most recently, finished 5th in Vancouver.

Connections: Alex Edler was picked to the team despite the fact that he’ll be forced to miss the first two games following that ugly knee-on-knee hit he landed on Eric Staal last summer. I guess when you combine that with the fact that his play this season has been considered shaky at best, it’s a testament to how well regarded he is by people outside of the Vancouver microscope. Daniel Sedin will also be on this team, but Henrik Sedin will not. That’s a shame because they’ve got a pretty awesome team assembled, but I still think they’re poised to make some waves. Even if they randomly brought Henrik Tallinder over Victor Hedman(?!).

Odds to Win: 9/2

SWITZERLAND

Coming in: They’re in Group C, ranked 7th by the IIHF.

History: They haven’t won an Olympic medal since 1948 (!), but won silver at least year’s World Championships. 18 members of that team will be playing in this tournament, and they’re a legitimately burgeoning hockey nation.

Connections: The Canucks have done a fine job of cornering the Swiss Defenseman market, but unfortunately they have Raphael Diaz and Yannick Weber, and not Roman Josi. Still, both of them figure to play prominent roles on a team that has 8 NHL players on it. They gave Canada all sorts of trouble taking them to a shootout in Vancouver, and I’m looking forward to seeing how they handle themselves in Sochi.

Odds to Win: 25/1

UNITED STATES

Coming in: They’re in Group A, ranked 6th by the IIHF.

History: Last won gold back in 1980, but did get their hands on some silver medals in Vancouver. Though from what I hear, those are much less shiny and cool than the gold ones their Canadian counterparts received!

Connections: Ryan Kesler is playing on a line with Patrick Kane and Dustin Brown, which – when combined with his comments from the 2010 games – means that you can go back to hating his guts for the next 2.5 weeks.

Odds to Win: 6/1

ROUND ROBIN SCHEDULE

Every team plays three times, once against the other three teams in their group. 3 points are awarded for a regulation win, 2 points for an overtime or shootout win, 1 point for an overtime or shootout loss, 0 points for a regulation loss.

The teams are then ranked 1 through 12 based on total points, goal differential, most goals scored and, if needed, 2013 IIHF World Ranking. These are important for the next round, so every single game has a bearing on who plays who in the playoff round. (And if you’re a “lesser” team, the final standings are used to determine the 2014 World Rankings, and ultimately will influence the qualification for the 2018 Olympics.)

If you were planning on getting some sleep during these games, well, then I suggest you make other plans!

  • Wed., Feb 12 – 9am PT: Czech Republic vs. Sweden (Bolshoy Ice Dome) [Sportsnet One]
  • Wed., Feb 12 – 9am PT: Latvia vs. Switzerland (Shayba Arena) [Not Televised]
  • Thu., Feb 13 – Midnight PT: Finland vs. Austria (Bolshoy Ice Dome) [Sportsnet]
  • Thu., Feb 13 – 4:30am PT: Russia vs. Slovenia (Bolshoy Ice Dome) [CBC]
  • Thu., Feb 13 – 4:30am PT: United States vs. Slovakia (Shayba Arena) [TSN]
  • Thu., Feb 13 – 9am PT: CANADA vs. Norway (Bolshoy Ice Dome) [CBC]
  • Fri., Feb 14 – Midnight PT: Czech Republic vs. Latvia (Bolshoy Ice Dome) [TSN/CBC]
  • Fri., Feb 14 – 4:30am PT: Sweden vs. Switzerland (Bolshoy Ice Dome) [TSN]
  • Fri., Feb 14 – 9am PT: CANADA vs. Austria (Bolshoy Ice Dome) [10am] [CBC]
  • Fri., Feb 14 – 9am PT: Norway vs. Finland (Shayba Arena) [Sportsnet]
  • Sat., Feb 15 – Midnight PT: Slovakia vs. Slovenia (Bolshoy Ice Dome) [Sportsnet/CBC]
  • Sat., Feb 15 – 4:30am PT: United States vs. Russia (Bolshoy Ice Dome) [CBC]
  • Sat., Feb 15 – 9am PT: Czech Republic vs. Switzerland (Bolshoy Ice Dome) [TSN or Sportsnet One]
  • Sat., Feb 15 – 9am PT: Sweden vs. Latvia (Shayba Arena) [TSN or Sportsnet One]
  • Sun., Feb 16 – Midnight PT: Austria vs. Norway (Bolshoy Ice Dome) [TSN2]
  • Sun., Feb 16 – 4:30am PT: Russia vs. Slovakia (Bolshoy Ice Dome) [maybe Sportsnet]
  • Sun., Feb 16 – 4:30am PT: United States vs. Slovenia (Shayba Arena) [maybe Sportsnet]
    Note: Sportsnet is only airing one of the two 4:30am PT games.
  • Sun., Feb 16 – 9am PT: CANADA vs. Finland (Bolshoy Ice Dome) [CBC]

STANDINGS

Team  GP Record GF GA Diff. PTS IIHF
Rank
Austria 0 0-0-0-0 0 0 0 0 15th
Canada 0 0-0-0-0 0 0 0 0 5th
Czech Republic 0 0-0-0-0 0 0 0 0 4th
Finland 0 0-0-0-0 0 0 0 0 2nd
Latvia 0 0-0-0-0 0 0 0 0 11th
Norway 0 0-0-0-0 0 0 0 0 9th
Russia 0 0-0-0-0 0 0 0 0 3rd
Slovakia 0 0-0-0-0 0 0 0 0 8th
Slovenia 0 0-0-0-0 0 0 0 0 17th
Sweden 0 0-0-0-0 0 0 0 0 1st
Switzerland 0 0-0-0-0 0 0 0 0 7th
United States 0 0-0-0-0 0 0 0 0 6th

PLAYOFF SCHEDULE

The playoff schedule is set, although the teams and times are a bit fluid, as the IIHF tends to work with the local hosts to ensure some good times. For instance, Russia, Canada and the USA all play at the same times every day. Based on standings, the qualifiers and quarterfinals are all played at midnight, 4:30am and 9am PT, with a pair of games in the 9am slot each day.

  • Tues., Feb 18 – time TBA: 5th place vs. 12th place [CBC]
  • Tues., Feb 18 – time TBA: 6th place vs. 11th place [CBC]
  • Tues., Feb 18 – time TBA: 7th place vs. 10th place [CBC]
  • Tues., Feb 18 – time TBA: 8th place vs. 9th place [CBC]
    Note: one of the qualification games won’t be televised.
  • Wed., Feb 19 – time TBA: 1st place vs. 8th/9th winner [TSN]
  • Wed., Feb 19 – time TBA: 2nd place vs. 7th/10th winner [CBC]
  • Wed., Feb 19 – time TBA: 3rd place vs. 6th/11th winner [CBC]
  • Wed., Feb 19 – time TBA: 4th place vs. 5th/12th winner [TSN2]
  • Fri., Feb 21 – time TBA: 1st/8th/9th vs. 4th/5th/12th (Bolshoy Ice Dome)
  • Fri., Feb 21 – time TBA: 2nd/7th/10th vs. 3rd/6th/11th (Bolshoy Ice Dome)
    One game will be on TSN, the other game will be on CBC.
  • Sat., Feb 22 – 7am PT: Bronze Medal Game (semi-final losers) (Bolshoy Ice Dome) [CBC]
  • Sun., Feb 23 – 4am PT: Gold Medal Game (semi-final winners) (Bolshoy Ice Dome) [CBC]

CONCLUDING THOUGHTS

Just like our buddies over at Flames Nation (whom we took this template from, and thank greatly for it!), we’ll be keeping this page updated as the tournament goes along. Maybe you’ll get some use out of having all of the information handy in one place.

Anyways, here’s some additional reading that I’d like to pass along prior to the action getting underway:

  • Hmmmmm anyone think that Carey Price getting the first look Thursday has anything to do with who might have the upper hand? I know the coaches will say that it’s open but you have to give your assumed top goalie the first look.