2014 Sochi Olympics Hockey Groupings Announced

The excitement for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi (Russia) is already starting to build. On Tuesday, the groups for the men's ice hockey competition were unveiled.

Here are the three groups, according to the IIHF:

Group A: Russia (1), Slovakia (6), USA (7), Slovenia (18)
Group B: Finland (2), Canada (5), Norway (8), Austria (15)
Group C: Czech Republic (3), Sweden (4), Switzerland (9), Latvia (11)

The format will be the same as in Vancouver 2010. The four teams with the best records (the group winners and the second-place team with the best record) advance to the quarter-finals, the remaining eight teams will play a qualification game.

At first glance, it seems like the most competitive batch of teams will be Group A. Russia, the United States and Slovakia are all capable of finishing in first place in that group to reach the quarterfinals. Russia will be under a lot of pressure to start well and earn a place in the medal round in front of their home fans.

The defending gold medal winners from Canada are in the easiest group, and the only team they will have to worry about is Finland. Sweden will be the favorite to win Group C, and the Czech Republic should not have too much trouble finishing in the top two for an opportunity to reach the medal round.


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