Men's Olympic Hockey Predictions

The Second City Hockey team discusses the Men's Hockey Tournament

The day is here and we can usher in another installment of one of the great international tournaments. We've been poring over rosters, discussing snubs, groups, linemates, and goalies for what feels like forever. Personally, I've spent the last month shirking work responsibilities to create a George Costanza nap station underneath my desk. Not a doubt in my mind it comes in handy with the early morning starts.

Time to drop the puck on this thing.

Michael Stonecutter

Best Group Round Game:

I am certainly looking forward to that early wake up on Saturday for USA v Russia. The home team against our boys, the star players, THE NARRATIVE, and the kegs and eggs will make for an awesome morning. It's going to be an up and down barn burner that should be the highlight of the round robin play. Outside of jingoism, I am spotting the Sweden v. Czech Republic game as one to watch. I'm anxious to see the Swedes play as got the easy group draw and the Czechs will be their biggest test.

USA Player You Will Cheer For That Will Make You Hate Yourself:

David. Backes. He is going to be integral to team USA success, but's David Backes. I'm grinding my teeth just typing that.

All Tournament Team:

Sidney Crosby CAN, Alex Ovechkin RUS, Evgeni Malkin* RUS, Duncan Keith CAN, Oliver Ekman-Larsson SWE & Henrik Lundqvist SWE

* MVP Pick

OEL is the only surprise here. He will thrive for the Swedes on the big ice, and do just a smidge better than teammate Erik Karlsson. His silky smooth skating and good vision will put him in the top defender of the tournament conversation. As for MVP, Geno is going to pile up points and I think the Russians will play for a medal. That about sews up the honors for him.

Medal Winners:

Gold- Sweden

Silver- Canada

Bronze- USA

Do I ever hope I am wrong. I hope the salty taste of Vancouver motivates the Americans to lay waste to the competition and take home gold. I'm going to back our boys to the bitter end, but it's no secret that the roster has some questionable participants. The line combos haven't been to my liking, and I'm nervous that the goals aren't going to be there. I'm not sold on Quick's aggressive tendencies playing behind a defense he doesn't know. I think the deficiencies in Russia's back end catch up to them in the elimination round. Sweden's top to bottom solid roster and comfort on international ice take them to the gold over Canada. For the love of jebus I hope I'm wrong.

Greg Boysen

Best Group Round Game:

I think the best two preliminary games will be the United States vs Russia on 2/15 and Finland vs Canada on 2/16. These will be the two games with the most NHL star power on both sides during group play. The United States gets a crack at the host team, and don't think that the old school hockey fans in Russia have gotten the taste out of their mouths from 1980. I really think Finland is the dark horse in this tournament with their one-two punch of Tuuka Rask and Antti Niemi between the pipes. This game will be fun to watch with the high powered offense of Canada going against the world class goaltending of Finland.

USA Player You Will Cheer For That Will Make You Hate Yourself:

There are quite a few guys on Team USA that make my skin crawl during the course of a normal regular season. You have Jimmy Howard from our long time rivals the Detroit Red Wings. But with him playing in the East and forgetting to bring his glove hand out with him in overtime of Game 7 last year, I don't hate him any more. There is Ryan Kesler, the head diving instructor for the Vancouver Canucks. Kesler was a beast in the 2010 games and I will have no problem cheering for him if that version shows up in Sochi. The problem is, Kesler has been broken too many times and is not the same player he was four years ago. There is T.J. Oshie, who I probably would be a fan of if he played anywhere else, but as long as he wears that music note on his chest he can go scratch. You have the horrible Dustin Brown, who has no business being on this team because he is a highly overrated player who has flat out sucked this year and he is dirty little shit too. None of these players can even scratch the service of self loathing that having to cheer for David Backes will induce. Backes is the captain of the St. Louis Blues, the most wretched hive of scum and villainy put together since the Mos Eisley Cantina scene in the A New Hope. No, thank you....

All Tournament Team:

Jonathan Toews CAN, Alexander Ovechkin RUS, Evgeni Malkin RUS, Ryan Suter USA, Erik Karlsson SWE & Henrik Lundqvist SWE

Medal Winners:

Gold- Sweden

Silver- Russia

Bronze- Finland

Everyone loved the all North American gold medal game in 2010, but that is not going to happen this time around.  The last time Canada and the US played on the larger international ice surface, in 2006, they finished 7th and 8th respectively.  I think the European teams will have an advantage on the larger rink and will sweep the medals.

Mike Shoro

Best Group Round Game:

You cannot go wrong with either the Feb. 15 USA v. Russia game or the Feb. 16 Canada v. Finland game, but I am going to go with USA/Russia as the game to choose between the two. Both teams could realistically medal in the tournament, although USA would probably be considered the underdog. The Russians will be playing in front of a raucous home crowd on international ice, and they have a solid roster. The Russians have a ton of firepower up front with Alexander Ovechkin, Ilya Kovalchuk, Evgeni Malkin, Valeri Nichushkin, Alexander Radulov and Alex Semin. Their blueline is a little on the weak side, but they will be tough in net with Sergei Bobrovsky and Semyon Varlamov. While the American roster has a couple of holes thanks to some suspect roster selection, there is still enough on its roster to give the Russians a rough group-round test.

USA Player You Will Cheer For That Will Make You Hate Yourself
Take your pick of David Backes, Dustin Brown, Ryan Kesler or Brooks Orpik. The first three cannot control their primal urges to instinctively throw their elbows, violently hit a defenseless player into the boards and/or reflexively fall down when an opposing player comes within ten feet of him. The fourth is a human pylon and will make you want to cry and scream and pull your hair out.

All-Tournament Team

TRILL KESSEL USA, Alexander Ovechkin RUS, John Tavares CAN, PK Subban CAN if Mike Babcock decides to let him play, Erik Karlsson SWE, Henrik Lundqvist SWE

MVP Pick

If USA gets to a medal game, it will be because of Phil Kessel. TRILL KESSEL should go off and it will be great. With that said, it is more likely that someone like Alexander Ovechkin takes it home for the host country. He will score several enigmatic goals that will probably lead him to yet another enigmatic MVP selection.
Medal Winners

Gold: Sweden

Silver: Russia

Bronze: Canada

Sweden is stacked from top to bottom. The Swedish blueline features Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Alexander Edler, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Johnny Oduya, Niklas Kronwall, Jonathan Ericsson and Erik Karlsson. Their forwards include Henrik Zetterberg, Marcus Kruger, Nicklas Backstrom, Gabriel Landeskog, Daniel Sedin, Loui Eriksson, Patrik Berglund and Daniel Alfredsson. Oh, and they have Henrik Lundqvist in goal. The only other team comparable in roster completeness is Canada, who I think gets upset and misses the gold medal game. I think Russia takes home ice and runs with it all the way to the gold medal game, ultimately falling to team Sweden. Canada defeats USA in a really dumb and stupid way to win the bronze.