Men’s Ice Hockey
Where: Gangneung Hockey Centre, Kwandong Hockey Centre.
After: February 10-25
Favorites: Olympic Athletes from Russia (+100), Canada (+450), Sweden (+450)
The men’s Olympic hockey 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) understanding, because that is where nearly all players taking part in this championship are playing their competitive hockey.
It’ll come as no surprise to bettors that the Olympic Athletes out of Russia – do we must call them that, by the way? – are the favorites, minding the strangest and most talented roster in the competition. A whopping 15 players come in SKA Saint Petersburg of their KHL, including legendary forward Pavel Datsyuk and Ilya Kovalchuk and up-and-comer Vadim Shipachyov.
Canada is a co-runner-up at the odds division at +450. The two-time defending Olympic champions were the nation most negatively impacted by the shortage of NHL representation, but still have a talented roster comparative to the remainder of the field. 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 in the struggle for silver. The Swedes are not as heavy or as talented up front as the Russians or Canadians, but boast an impressive defense corps headed by consensus No. 1 draft prospect Rasmus Dahlin and a talented goaltending trio which includes ex-NHLer Jhonas Enroth.
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