Updates After Round 1 of Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey

Team: Games Played; Wins-Overtime Wins-Overtime Losses-Losses; Goals For-Goals Against; Goal Differential; Points

Group A:

  1. USA: 1; 1-0-0-0; 8-0; +8; 3
  2. Canada: 1; 1-0-0-0; 5-1; +4; 3
  3. Germany: 1; 0-0-0-1; 1-5; -4; 0
  4. PR China: 1; 0-0-0-1; 0-8; -8; 0

Games:

USA 8 PR China 0

Canada 5 Germany 1

Next:

Canada verse USA

Germany verse PR China

Group B:

  1. Denmark: 1; 1-0-0-0; 2-1; +1; 3
  2. Russian Olympic Committee: 1; 1-0-0-0; 1-0; +1; 3
  3. Czech Republic: 1; 0-0-0-1; 1-2; -1; 0
  4. Switzerland: 1; 0-0-0-1; 0-1; -1; 0

Games:

Russian Olympic Committee 1 Switzerland 0

Czech Republic 1 Denmark 2

Next:

Denmark verse Russian Olympic Committee

Czech Republic verse Switzerland

Group C:

  1. Finland: 1; 1-0-0-0; 6-2; +4; 3
  2. Sweden: 1; 1-0-0-0; 3-2; +1; 3
  3. Latvia: 1; 0-0-0-1; 2-3; -1; 0
  4. Slovakia: 1; 0-0-0-1; 2-6; -4; 0

Games:

Sweden 3 Latvia 2

Finland 6 Slovakia 2

Next:

Sweden verse Slovakia

Latvia verse Finland

Analysis:

Group A:

USA: The USA did not win by as much as they should have against PR China if this was the USA’s regular team and PR China’s regular team, but given the context of both nations’ 2022 Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey teams, this was a good, but not great display by Team USA. USA scored a lot, but should have had more goals as they only went 2 for 4 from the power play against what might be the weakest team in this year’s Olympics. Furthermore, Team USA did not control enough of the puck nor did Team USA defend well enough. PR China should have had some goals, but there were a lot of misses and great saves by USA’s goalie. Still, a team with many college players beat a team with all KHL players, which is quite impressive.

Canada: Canada revenged their 2018 Olympic Semi-final loss against Germany by winning 5-1. Given that Germany is expected to do well due to no NHL players present, this was an impressive win. Canada was expected to win, but not by 4 goals. But, even with the win, it is tough to tell which Canada this is, as well as which USA, Germany, and PR China this is. With the lack of NHL players and with USA’s and Canada’s decision to go with many collegiate players, these two nations are vastly different than their usual team. And, Germany, while they should do well given the limitations that do not as much apply to them, Germany has the ability to be a Gold Medal contender, and has the ability to not finish Top 10! And then, PR China is the odd puck out given that they have many naturalized players and are new to playing at this level. This group is hard to tell where each team is at. This could either be the best group by far or the worst group by far, or something in between. And this makes Canada unexpected too, even after playing once.

Germany: Germany played bad for what they expected from their national team. Had this been usual circumstances, than this result would be expected, but without NHL players, a 4 goal loss to Canada is unacceptable. Germany needs to reevaluate so they can put up good performances against the USA and PR China. With PR China in the Group, Germany could win by enough that if they win their next 2 games, Germany could get the bye as the best 2nd place team.

PR China: PR China played more competitively than many expected, and even though they lost 0-8, it was not as bad as the scoreboard suggested. There are a lot of things this PR China team can work on. It is just unfortunate their first game had to be against the USA, even if it is a much depleted USA. PR China is expected to be the worst national team at the Olympic Men’s Hockey Tournament this year. But they don’t look too out of place.

Group B:

Denmark: Denmark is so far the surprise of the tournament. Their defense looks good. Their attack does not look good enough yet. But, they also are playing in the toughest defensive group. Denmark got their first win after Round 1, but still look to be outside of medal contention as the Czech Republic has been struggling a lot lately, and now the Czechs do not even get to use their NHL players. Denmark looks to be the #6 team overall and the #3 team in the Group.

Russian Olympic Committee: The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) had a less than inspiring win over Switzerland, but still won. Switzerland could be really good this year, or may just be middle of the pack. Either way, Switzerland is talented, and the ROC looks to be just getting their feet wet. A 1-0 win means the ROC has great defense, but might struggle with the attack. By the time the knockout rounds come around, I am sure the ROC will know how to score more. The ROC looks to be the #1 team in the group and the #1 team overall.

Czech Republic: The Czech Republic continues to disappoint in ice hockey like they have done recently. Usually, the Czechs are very good, but last World Championship, and now so far at this Olympics, there appears to be something majorly wrong with this national team. The Czech Republic looks to be struggling a lot on the attack, and probably a lot on defense as 2 goals given up against Denmark does not suggest great defense, but does not suggest bad defense necessarily either. The Czechs look like the #10 team overall and the #4 team in this group, not due to their talent, but due to their play.

Switzerland: Switzerland might be the #2 team at the tournament because the ROC is supposed to be quite amazing. But, until Switzerland scores a goal, it is too soon to rank them too high. Switzerland looks to have an elite defense, but not a great attack. Switzerland is playing like the #2 team in the Group, and the #5 team overall.

Group C:

Finland: Finland are the favorites coming out of Round 1 of the group stage for Group C. Finland beat the third best team in this group, most likely, by 4 goals cementing their place as not only Group Favorties, but the #2 favorite here at the Olympics. Finland possesses better attacking ability right now than any national team at the Olympics, which may make it the favorites with another superior performance like they had against Slovakia. Yes, the Americans scored the most, but the Finish did it against better competition, as least that we know of.

Sweden: Sweden struggled to beat Latvia, but still did. This is a good result given that Olympic Hockey, especially without NHL players, is very unpredictable and very difficult. Sweden does not look as good as Finland or Canada or the Russian Olympic Committee, but still looks like they may be that good, and possibly Latvia is much better than we think. To clarify, the win over Latvia was impressive, just not as impressive as Finland’s and Canada’s +4 goal wins over what appears to be superior national teams, as well as not as impressive as the Russian Olympic Committee’s 1-0 win over a potentially very good Switzerland.

Latvia: If Sweden is as good as they should be this Olympics, then Latvia should be able to compete against all teams if they can put up a similar performance. Latvia may not be the best nation, but they have a lot of good players and if they are used to playing together, they can use this familiarity to get some wins here. Latvia is looking like the #3 team in the Group and a Top 8 team at the Olympics after this first result.

Slovakia: Slovakia started well, but Finland took over. Slovakia should be the #3 team in Group C, but after Round 1, looks like the #4 team in the Group and the #9 team at the Olympics. They do look better than Germany for now, but only because Finland is expected to be better than Canada at this Olympics. If not, Slovakia will fall below their expected position on the overall table which is #9.

Overall Rankings after Round 1:

  1. USA
  2. Finland
  3. Canada
  4. Sweden
  5. Denmark
  6. Russian Olympic Committee
  7. Latvia
  8. Czech Republic
  9. Switzerland
  10. Slovakia
  11. Germany
  12. PR China

Power Rankings After Round 1:

  1. Russian Olympic Committee
  2. Finland
  3. Canada
  4. Sweden
  5. Switzerland
  6. USA
  7. Denmark
  8. Latvia
  9. Slovakia
  10. Czech Republic
  11. Germany
  12. PR China

Knockout Round Seeds So Far:

  1. USA
  2. Finland
  3. Denmark
  4. Canada
  5. Sweden
  6. Russian Olympic Committee
  7. Latvia
  8. Czech Republic
  9. Switzerland
  10. Slovakia
  11. Germany
  12. PR China

3 Stars of Round 1:

Sean Farrell (USA): 3 Goals and 2 Assists in USA’s win over PR China.

Ivan Fedotov (Russia): 33 saves in shutout victory for Russia over Switzerland.

Mikko Lehtonen (Finland): second highest +/- ratio (+3) and key defender for Finland’s victory.

Published by CK 22

I like history, politics, foreign diplomacy, sports, and more. Basically, the most popular things, plus also geography.

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