Feb 16, 2014, 2:17 PM EST
The group stage is over and the seeding for the playoffs has been determined. Every team still has a shot at the gold medal but, from this point onward, it’s win or go home.
Seeds five through 12 will play in the qualification round while one through four get byes to the quarterfinals. The bracket is now locked and will not be adjusted per round to assure that the highest seed team always plays the worst squad. For example, if the 12th seed Norwegian team defeats Russia, the Norwegians will still face the fourth seeded Finnish squad, not the first seeded Swedes.
No. 8 Slovenia vs. No. 9 Austria
Just getting to this point is a victory for both teams, as Slovenia won its first-ever Olympic game in the group phase (over Slovakia) while Austria won at the Winter Games for the first time in 12 years (against Norway). This game won’t have much in the way of star power as Slovenia has just one NHLer — Los Angeles’ Anze Kopitar — while the Austrians have three in Thomas Vanek, Michael Grabner and Michael Raffl.
Winner plays Sweden
No. 5 Russia vs. No. 12 Norway
The Russians have been underwhelming so far. They lost in a shootout to the United States and barely beat Slovakia, the latter result costing them a bye to the quarterfinals (but that might not be such a bad thing.) If nothing else, Russia can take comfort in the fact that Canada followed a similar path in the 2010 round robin and still ended up winning the tournament. As for the Norwegians, they’ve fallen on hard times since hanging tough with Canada in the tournament opener and were outscored 9-2 in losses to Finland and Austria.
Winner plays Finland
No. 6 Switzerland vs. No. 11 Latvia
A rematch from the opening game of the group stage, in which Simon Moser scored with eight seconds remaining to give Switzerland a 1-0 win. The Swiss have been air-tight defensively — allowing just one goal all tournament — but the Latvians have been competitive in every game thus far and, four years ago in Vancouver, nearly pulled a huge opening-round playoff upset by taking the Czechs to OT before losing.
Winner plays Canada
No. 7 Czech Republic vs. No. 10 Slovakia
Group mates at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, the Czechs beat the Slovaks 3-1 on goals from their big guns: Patrik Elias, Tomas Plekanec and Jaromir Jagr. Neither team has been very impressive in Sochi, though the Slovakians gained a measure of confidence by taking Russia to a shootout in their final group game. The Czechs have been hampered by illness and questionable coaching decisions, but are getting good tournaments from Plekanec (two assists in three games) and Jagr (two goals in three games).
Winner plays U.S.
If you want to see all the potential matches at a glance, the Globe and Mail’s James Mirtle has drawn up the bracket:
Nov 28, 2014, 11:37 AM EST
“And I say that with all due respect to the players we have.”
Nov 28, 2014, 11:35 AM EST
Nov 28, 2014, 11:22 AM EST
After missing the last 11 games with a separated shoulder.
Nov 28, 2014, 11:19 AM EST
“Need a little more traffic, need second efforts.”
Nov 28, 2014, 11:01 AM EST
Former King, Devil and ‘Cane joins HC Lokomotiv.
Nov 28, 2014, 10:45 AM EST
Eat some leftovers and watch some quality afternoon hockey.
Nov 28, 2014, 9:50 AM EST
He could return in about a week if things progress well.
Nov 28, 2014, 8:59 AM EST
Some numbers behind Nashville’s hot start.
Nov 28, 2014, 8:14 AM EST
Friday’s list of link savings.
Nov 28, 2014, 1:35 AM EST
Has appeared in five games with Chicago this season.
Nov 28, 2014, 12:15 AM EST
Forsberg scores the OT winner.
Nov 27, 2014, 10:50 PM EST
Shea Weber covered the puck in the crease.
Nov 27, 2014, 10:35 PM EST
Flyers play host to the Rangers Friday afternoon.
Nov 27, 2014, 9:30 PM EST
Was a healthy scratch in nine games.
Nov 27, 2014, 8:30 PM EST
X-rays on knee cap came back negative.
Nov 27, 2014, 7:30 PM EST
Struggled in the American Hockey League this season.
Nov 27, 2014, 6:30 PM EST
Expected to formally announce his retirement next Thursday morning.
Nov 27, 2014, 5:15 PM EST
Talented center would be a prized pickup at the deadline.
Nov 27, 2014, 4:00 PM EST
Patrick Roy doesn’t own part of a junior team anymore.
Nov 27, 2014, 2:41 PM EST
Incident occurred during Wednesday’s Jets-Sabres game.
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