15 September 2016

2016 World Cup of Hockey Predictions

The World Cup of Hockey returns this Saturday after a 12-year absence and will take place over the following two weeks in T-Dot. The previous editions of the World Cup of Hockey have seen the United States and Canada winning it all but will we see somebody else claiming the title this year?

Here are my predictions for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

TV Schedule

Group A
This grouping is relatively easy to figure out as there are two clearly superior teams and they are the Canadians and the Americans. Canada is the favorite to win the whole tournament and it is easy to see why (and not just because they are the host team) due to their experience and their depth. The United States has plenty of skill offensively to overwhelm Europe and the Czechs. Speaking of Europe, they lack depth and are weak in net while the Czech Republic has seen their thin roster grow even thinner thanks to injuries.

1 Canada (3-0)
2 United States (2-1)
3 Europe (1-2)
4 Czech Republic (0-3)

Group B 
Group B should be more fun as it looks to be a little more wide open although there is a favorite here as well. Sweden has a case of their own to be considered the tournament favorite because of their balance and having a guy like Henrik Lundqvist in net certainly doesn't hurt. I would be relatively surprised if they didn't make it out of group play but the second team is a tougher guess. I do like Finland with their strong goaltending but you can't rule out the speed and exuberance of North America or the offense of the Russians.

1 Sweden (2-1)
2 Finland (2-1)
3 North America (1-2)
4 Russia (1-2)

A1 Canada vs. B2 Finland
Be it Tuukka Rask or Pekka Rinne in net for the Finns, if either gets hot then they have got a shot to pull off the upset here. That said, there is just too much depth offensively for Team Canada for them to fall here in my opinion
Pick: Canada

B1 Sweden vs. A2 United States
The United States has been inconsistent with puck possession in their pre-tournament exhibitions and if that is the case here against the Swedes, they'll be in tough shape. Even if Jonathan Quick is lights-out, I like Sweden here to advance to the Finals.
Pick: Sweden

A1 Canada vs. B1 Sweden
In this best-of-three series, I would be surprised if we saw either team sweep out their opponents here. Yes, Canada may be the favorite and has the home-ice advantage but I like the Swedes here to claim the championship. They have got the experience as a unit and I have more faith in the play in goal than I do with the Canadians.
Sweden in 3

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