Now that Canada’s Drew Doughty has become the latest Olympic hero with his overtime goal against Finland, how does the men’s tournament bracket shake out?
Let’s take a look.
With the preliminary round concluded, here are the rankings, with the top four teams earning byes until Wednesday:
7 Czech Republic
With all teams off on Monday – and there’s a good chance the coaches from Sweden, USA, Canada and Finland will give their players a complete day off – elimination games begin on Tuesday with these matchups:
Russia vs. Norway
Switzerland vs. Latvia
Czech Republic vs. Slovakia
Slovenia vs. Austria
As for the four teams that earned playoff byes, they’ll be back in action on Wednesday and these are their potential matchups:
Sweden vs. Slovenia-Austria winner
USA vs. Czech Republic-Slovakia winner
Canada vs. Switzerland-Latvia winner
Finland vs. Russia-Norway winner
The biggest surprise of the preliminary round is that Finland earned a bye and host Russia did not. Four years ago, the Canadians also had to come out of the “losers’ bracket” after falling to the Americans in the preliminary round. Canada went on to win four straight elimination games to win gold on home soil.
“Playing is better than training,” Russian forward Ilya Kovalchuk told reporters after Team Russia’s shootout win over Slovakia. "We'll go out and focus. Now we can't lose, all the games could bring elimination.”
Now that the seeds are set, who will win and who will go home?
Based on what I’ve seen so far, here’s my Olympic bracket sheet. What’s yours?:
Sweden over Slovenia
USA over Slovakia
Canada over Switzerland
Russia over Finland
Russia over Sweden
Canada over USA
Bronze Medal Game
USA over Sweden
Gold Medal Game
Canada over Russia