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PHT staff Olympic predictions: Who’s going to win gold?

Feb 12, 2014, 10:29 AM EDT

Sidney Crosby #87 of Canada celebrates with his captain Scott Niedermayer #27 after scoring the matchwinning goal in overtime past Ryan Miller #39 of the United States during the ice hockey men's gold medal game between USA and Canada on day 17 of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics at Canada Hockey Place on February 28, 2010 in Vancouver, Canada.
(February 27, 2010 - Source: Alex Livesey/Getty Images North America) Getty Images

Here are the picks from Jason Brough, James O’Brien, Joe Yerdon, Ryan Dadoun, Cam Tucker and yours truly for who’ll be golden at the 2014 Winter Olympics from Sochi…

Brough

Gold Medal Game: Canada beats Sweden

I’m keeping this simple. The two best teams on paper playing for gold. The best team on paper winning gold. Yeah, yeah, I know the best teams on paper don’t always win, but a lot of the times they do. Like in 2010, for example. Even without Steven Stamkos, Team Canada is still stacked up front, and there’s no matching its blue line. Goaltending could be problematic, but no team is without a potential Achilles’ heel. Canada’s goaltending could also end up being quite good.

Bronze Medal Game: United States beats Russia

Not the game the hosts wanted to play in, and it will show when they lose it. The fan in me hopes I’m wrong, because the Russians playing for gold at home would be a sight to behold. I just don’t think they’ve got the depth to make it that far.

O’Brien

Gold medal game: Canada beats Russia

As powerful as Russia’s offense and home-ice advantage will be, Canada is so deep and dynamic that even a seasoned nitpicker would struggle to uncover sore spots.

Bronze medal game: United States beats Sweden

Several other hockey powers have receded*, so the bronze comes down to a coin toss between Sweden and the U.S. Tre Kronor’s D combo of Erik Karlsson and Oliver Ekman-Larsson should make gorgeous music, but for some reason I have trouble betting against Team USA. That reason rhymes with Patrick Kane.

* – Points at Czech Republic

Yerdon

Gold medal game: United States beats Sweden

I’ll be plain about this: I’m making a very homer pick. Deal with it. That said, Team USA has a team very capable of winning gold. The offense is solid, the defense has strengths and the goaltending is great. The Americans’ speed on the big ice will be a major factor. The Swedes will be excellent but American brawn and nastiness will win out.

Bronze Medal Game: Russia beats Canada

Am I trolling? No. Well, maybe. Still, the Russians wants payback and they’ll be angry after not getting a shot at gold. They’ll want (need?) hardware and getting out of Canada makes for a perfect script. Except, you know, in the bronze medal game.

Dadoun

Gold Medal Game: Sweden beats Russia

At home and with the advantage of the bigger ice surface, I think Russia is going to end up doing very well in this tournament. That being said, Sweden has a significantly stronger defense and a more reliable goaltender in Henrik Lundqvist. Losing Johan Franzen and Henrik Sedin hurts, but the Swedes’ offense is still strong, making them a balanced squad.

Bronze Medal Game: Canada beats the United States

It’s 2010 all over again, but with the stakes lowered. The States’ goaltending and defense is capable of frustrating Canada, but in the end Canada’s legion of skilled forwards will be hard to contain.

Tucker

Gold medal game: Canada beats Russia

It would be the dream match-up. The Russians will certainly be motivated to win gold, not just because they are the host nation of these Olympics but how their competition came to an end four years ago in Vancouver. It would also pit two of the game’s best players against each other, in Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin. Canada’s goaltending is the obvious question mark if it hopes to repeat as gold medal champions. But the depth up front and on defence should help nullify any potential short-comings in the crease.

Bronze medal game: Sweden beats Finland

Sweden’s lineup is as stacked as any in this tournament, even with Sedin and Franzen out due to injury. That should help the Swedes get back to the medal podium in men’s hockey in Sochi, and they’ll defeat their most fierce rivals, Finland, in the process.

Halford

Gold medal game: Canada beats United States

I’m along the same simple lines as Brough — two best teams playing for gold, though I think the Americans are better than the Swedes; more in-form snipers (Phil Kessel, Joe Pavelski and James van Riemsdyk, most notably) and hard-skating forwards will get the U.S. to the final. In the end, however, Canada’s unparalleled depth on defense will be too much to overcome.

Bronze medal game: Sweden beats Russia

I saw the Russians as the fourth-best team heading into the Olympics, and that’s how I see it finishing. Major reservations about their blueline and bottom-six forwards; Sweden has the more complete team and stronger/more experienced goaltending with Lundqvist.

  1. greej1938l - Feb 12, 2014 at 10:36 AM

    I very much dislike you Tucker.

    • tronn25 - Feb 12, 2014 at 7:23 PM

      I’m just surprised that none of them picked the penguins

  2. ipaintrinks - Feb 12, 2014 at 10:52 AM

    for once I agree with yerdon.

  3. jpelle82 - Feb 12, 2014 at 10:55 AM

    i dont think the 2 north american teams will be competing for gold…though i really hope thats what happens.

  4. purpleguy - Feb 12, 2014 at 10:56 AM

    The gold has to be Canada’s to lose. If it isn’t the US, I’ll root for Canada. After all these years, I still want the Ruskies to lose.

  5. jpdoc26 - Feb 12, 2014 at 10:56 AM

    Heart: USA over Canada
    Head: Canada over Russia

  6. c9castine - Feb 12, 2014 at 11:48 AM

    i think USA is going to win buts let save all the BS predictions…

    puck drops today.

  7. stakex - Feb 12, 2014 at 12:26 PM

    I think everyone expecting a US vs Canada gold medal game is going to be really disappointed.

    A quick look at history: In the four Olympics in which NHL players have participated. Canada has played (and defeated) the US for gold twice… in 2002 and 2010. Both of those years, the ice surface being used was NHL sized. In 1998 and 2006 however, both the US and Canada failed to medal. The difference? Larger ice surface. Historically speaking, North American teams really struggle on the bigger ice…. and this year the ice surface is bigger.

    As such, I think the crowd pleasing (at least in NA) matchup of US vs Canada for gold is unlikely, and nothing more than wishful thinking. I would have to go with Sweden VS Russia is the gold metal game with either Canada or the US playing in the bronze medal game against a Euro team (Finland or Czech Republic perhaps).

    • JoeAvg - Feb 12, 2014 at 2:43 PM

      Sorry stakex, but as someone here pointed out the other day, the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake were played on international sized ice. That being said, yeah it makes a big difference ( Nice article on it here ). But I hope you’re wrong. Would love to see a US vs Canada rematch.

    • jpelle82 - Feb 12, 2014 at 3:30 PM

      it wasnt quite international sized in salt lake…it was an average between the nhl and international width…it was definitely nhl length. international is 64x30m (210x98ft). salt lake was 60x28m (200x91ft). nhl is 60x26m (200x85ft). so it was literally 6 ft wider…not a real huge difference but still a difference worth making an argument over if you want. not by any means international size though, you could tell by the space behind the net if you watched it and i would still call it north american before i called it international.

  8. pdmjr - Feb 12, 2014 at 1:17 PM

    Sweden will win it all.

  9. bsaures - Feb 12, 2014 at 6:02 PM

    Before seeing the outcome of the Sweden game today i would have said canada beating sweeden in the final but if they cant bury a team like the Czech then theyare in trouble

    • c9castine - Feb 12, 2014 at 11:02 PM

      they didn’t look that great. first game but still. their defense is clearly top notch but their forwards lacked grit. they looked soft.

      • bsaures - Feb 12, 2014 at 11:25 PM

        OFfensively their defence is good but defensively only Krnowall is a true elite defensive dman on the squad. The forwards arent physical enough either like you said. Canada and the US can grind them down over the course of a game.

      • c9castine - Feb 12, 2014 at 11:35 PM

        i disagree. ekman-larsson is excellent both ways, hjarmlsson and oduya are very good, tallinder is just ok, and karlsson as he proved may not be great defensively but can impact the game in a big way. but i agree that they are susceptible to being worn down easier than the other top teams.

      • bsaures - Feb 12, 2014 at 11:49 PM

        Ekman larsson is above average but he is also a offence oriented dman. Hjarmlsson hasnt had to be a top defender because of Seabrook and Keith so its hard to truly know his ceiling. Oduya is good but not shutting down Crosby, Getzlaf, Tavares good which is what they need as all 3 of those guys play on different lines and along with their line mates are huge threats to score. All the offensive dman in the world cant help you if you cant get out of your own end

  10. phillyphanatic77 - Feb 12, 2014 at 7:55 PM

    No ones giving them a chance with the big boys but I think Rask and his netmates could make things difficult for some teams. Going off the board with a darkhorse pick of Finland winning gold on the backs of their stellar netminders.

  11. jimw81 - Feb 12, 2014 at 8:18 PM

    who finishes fifth place?

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  3. M. Fleury (1536)
  4. D. Alfredsson (1490)
  5. J. Harding (1359)
  1. C. Price (1244)
  2. D. Setoguchi (1160)
  3. M. Staal (1160)
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