Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Olympic Quarterfinal Preview

I'll need to sleep early to get up to watch Russia-Canada on TV, so here's a quick rundown:

Canada will win if...

1. Luongo holds his own in goal. Russia has the most talented shooters in the tournament, and it's not even close. If he can limit them to 3 goals or less, expect Canada to come out on top

2. Crosby's line shines. Sidney Crosby's line always seems to find some brief chemistry but not for an extended period of time. The Crosby-Eric Staal-Jarome Iginla line played well against Germany, and if they can play well against Russia, expect Canada to match Russia goal for goal at a minimum.

3. Their defense contains Russia's explosive offense. We haven't seen it yet, but it's not exactly an international secret that Ovechkin-Malkin-Semin and Kovalchuk-Datsyuk-Afinigenov is probably the most talented, best offensive top-6--dare I say in Olympic history? The Russians though haven't got much beyond them. Now we'll see whether including guys like Scott Niedermayer and Dan Boyle was right over a guy like Mike Green.

Russia will win if...

1. Their defense holds Canada's deep attack back. They need to limit opportunities against.

2. Ovechkin is magical. He already had his first career hit that probably deserved an assist, against the Czech Republic. He, Evgeni Malkin, and Alexander Semin make a great line, and it will be tough for Canada to shut them down or even limit them. The trick is not to get too fancy and to put the pucks in the net.

3. Nabokov pitches a shutout. Rewind a few years and Ovechkin scores the GWG in a 2-0 Russia blanking of Canada, Nabokov in net. Nabokov, in a contract year, has been great for San Jose and for Team Russia. He'll need to be even better to beat Canada.


Switzerland, despite only two NHL players (Jonas Hiller, G, and Mark Streit, D), played it tight with the US and with Canada in the group stage. Nevertheless, the USA continues to improve and Switzerland's offense isn't exactly great. The USA's speed and skill puts them over the top.

Czech Republic-Finland
If Jaromir Jagr doesn't play, Finland wins easily. They've got great goaltending and an inspired veteran offensive corps. Jagr will only make it close. Tomas Vokoun probably can't steal this one.

Sweden is deep. Sweden is talented. Sweden at this rate looks like the gold medal favorite, with all due respect USA. Can't root against my man Nicklas Backstrom either.

Russia 4, Canada 3. You know I can't root for Sidney Crosby or for Mike Richards, right?

USA 4, Switzerland 1. Ryan Miller continues to impress.

Finland 4, Czech Republic 2. Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu continue to play great, as Finland doesn't miss suspended puck-moving defenseman Joni Pitkanen.

Sweden 4, Slovakia 1. Henrik Lundqvist knows Marian Gaborik's every move. I hope.

No comments:

Post a Comment