Thursday, February 16, 2006

2006 Turin Winter Olympics
Men's hockey: Upset territory

Well, two days in and already we've seen two 'upsets' in the Olympic hockey tournament, which is leading some to make dire predictions for the favoured teams that lost.

Team USA tied a plucky Latvian team yesterday, one that is going to give all of the big teams fits, and today, the Czech Republic lost 3-2 to Switzerland. (Russia lost 5-3 to Slovakia yesterday as well, but I hardly consider that an upset given the quality team the Slovaks have this year.)

The thing is, as long as the top teams qualify for the quarter-finals (nearly a given with Italy and Kazakhstan holding the bottom in each group), these round-robin upsets hardly matter. What they may mean, however, is that teams finishing at the top of their groups (say Canada in Group A and the Slovaks in Group B) may meet a much tougher opposition than you'd expect.

Canada v. Sweden in the first elimination game, perhaps?


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