Men’s Ice Hockey
Where: Gangneung Hockey Centre, Kwandong Hockey Centre.
When: February 10-25
Favorites: Olympic Athletes from Russia (+100), Canada (+450), Sweden (+450)
The men’s Olympic hockey tournament takes on an entirely different complexion this year, with NHL players ineligible to compete. So, you’d better brush up on your Continental Hockey League (KHL) knowledge, since that’s where nearly all players getting involved in this championship are playing their aggressive hockey.
It’ll come as no surprise to bettors that the Olympic Athletes out of Russia – do we must call them that, incidentally? – are the favorites, boasting the deepest and most talented roster in the competition. A whopping 15 players come in SKA Saint Petersburg of the KHL, including legendary forward Pavel Datsyuk and Ilya Kovalchuk and up-and-comer Vadim Shipachyov.
Canada is a co-runner-up in the odds department at +450. The two-time defending Olympic champions were the nation most negatively affected by the lack of NHL representation, but nevertheless have a talented roster relative to the rest of the area. Stars comprise former NHL 20-goal scorer Wojtek Wolski, longtime Buffalo Sabre Derek Roy, and one-time No. 3 pick Gilbert Brule.
Sweden is the other co-runner-up in +450, and ought to give Canada a serious run for its money from the battle for silver. The Swedes are not too deep or as talented up front as the Russians or even Canadians, but boast an impressive defense corps led by consensus No. 1 draft prospect Rasmus Dahlin and a talented goaltending trio that includes ex-NHLer Jhonas Enroth.
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