medal projections

2014 medal projections: Hockey

Once upon a time, the Olympics were the only time the world’s best athletes faced each other in many sports. That’s not true in most sports these days, but it applies to men’s hockey. The men’s World Championship takes place during the NFL playoffs, thereby depriving the tournament of most of the world’s best players. And those tournaments play a big role in the rankings that we need to take with a whole bunch of salt.

The women’s competition is a little easier to predict. The best players are all available for international events, and the USA and Canada keep playing each other. They’re also unquestionably the top two teams in the world. Finland has finished third in 10 of the 15 World Championships and two of the four Olympics. Russia finished third in 2013 and is playing at home.

Into the boards we go …

MEN

Gold: Sweden
Silver: Canada
Bronze: Russia

Also considered: Finland, USA

2013 world ranking: Sweden, Finland, Russia, Czech Republic, Canada, USA, Switzerland, Slovakia

2013 World Championships: Sweden, Switzerland, USA, Finland, Canada, Russia, Czech Republic, Slovakia

2010 Olympics: Canada, USA, Finland, Slovakia, Sweden, Russia, Czech Republic, Switzerland

WOMEN

Gold: USA
Silver: Canada
Bronze: Finland

Also considered: Russia

2013 world ranking: USA, Canada, Finland, Russia, Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, Slovakia

2013 World Championships: USA, Canada, Russia, Finland, Switzerland, Germany, Czech Republic, Sweden

2010 Olympics: Canada, USA, Finland, Sweden, Switzerland, Russia, China, Slovakia

KEY PLAYERS

Men

Canada: Sidney Crosby (C, Pittsburgh), Ryan Getzlaf (C, Anaheim), Steven Stamkos (C, Tampa Bay – injury concern), Corey Perry (RW, Anaheim), Martin St. Louis (RW, Tampa Bay), Duncan Keith (D, Chicago), Drew Doughty (D, Los Angeles), P.J. Subban (D, Montreal), Carey Price (G, Montreal), Roberto Luongo (G, Vancouver)

Czech Republic: Jaromir Jagr (RW, New Jersey), Jiri Hudler (C, Calgary), David Krejci (C, Calgary), Patrik Elias (LW, New Jersey), Radim Vrbata (RW, Phoenix), Marek Zidlicky (D, New Jersey)

Finland: Mikko Koivu (C, Minnesota), Valtteri Filppula (C, Tampa Bay), Jussi Jokinen (LW, Pittsburgh), Olli Jokinen (C, Winnipeg), Saku Koivu (C, Anaheim), Kimmo Timonen (D, Philadelphia), Tuukka Rask (G, Boston), Antti Niemi (G, San Jose)

Russia: Alex Ovechkin (LW, Washington), Evgeni Malkin (C, Pittsburgh), Pavel Datsyuk (C, Detroit), Ilya Kovalchuk (LW, SKA St. Petersburg), Alexander Semin (RW, Carolina), Andrei Markov (D, Montreal), Alexei Emelin (D, Montreal), Sergei Bobrovsky (G, Columbus)

Slovakia: Marian Hossa (RW, Chicago), Zdeno Chara (D, Boston), Jaroslav Halak (G, St. Louis)

Sweden: Henrik Lundqvist (G, NY Rangers), Daniel Sedin (LW, Vancouver), Henrik Sedin (C, Vancouver), Henrik Zetterberg (C, Detroit), Nicklas Backstrom (C, Washington), Erik Karlsson (D, Ottawa)

USA: Patrick Kane (RW, Chicago), Zach Parise (LW, Minnesota), Ryan Kesler (C, Vancouver), Phil Kessel (RW, Toronto), Ryan Suter (D, Minnesota), Ryan Miller (G, Buffalo), Jonathan Quick (G, Los Angeles)

Women

Canada: Marie-Philip Poulin (2013 World Championship leading scorer and MVP), Catherine Ward (top-scoring defenseman at 2013 Worlds), Hayley Wickenheiser (20-year veteran), Gillian Apps (bruiser). Had some turmoil with coach Dan Church stepping down in late December.

Finland: Jenni Hiirikoski (2013 World Championship defensive award), Noora Raty (140 saves at 2013 Worlds), Michelle Karvinen (team-leading three goals at 2013 Worlds)

Russia: Nadezhda Alexandrova (2013 World Championship goaltending award; 98.63 save percentage at Worlds), Yekaterina Smolentseva (three goals at 2013 Worlds), Anna Shibanova (active defenseman)

USA: Brianna Decker (six goals in 2013 Worlds), Amanda Kessel (six assists in 2013 Worlds), Jessie Vetter (starting goalie)

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2 replies »

  1. I don’t know if this is “a thing” but I am suspicious Olympics are tossing home countries extra gold medals at times, if this has always been true, it seems worse. China, London and Sochi, especially Sochi spent enormous amounts of money to host. I wouldn’t know how to project it, but I believe at events that are judged Russia will exceed expectations. In hockey, a gold would be very meaningful to Russian fans and Putin. I wouldn’t be surprised if Russia benefited from favorable and well timed penalty calls by the referees in close knockout games….

    2008 Beijing China 51 gold. Dropped to 38 gold 2012 London
    2008 Bejing Great Britain 19 gold. 2012 London 29 gold

    some of that can be attributed to home country edge, less travel, same time zone, familiar food, etc But I think its more than that. Especially at judged events

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