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PyeongChang 2018 Olympics Ice Hockey - Predictions, TV Networks

This page offers analysis and predictions for the ice hockey events at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. Canada won both events in Vancouver four years ago. The 2018 PyeongChang Olympics (ice hockey) is scheduled for February 14-25.

TV Networks

United States - NBCSN/MSNBC/NBC
Canada - CBC & Radio-Canada
Sweden - Kanal 5
Finland - Yle
Switzerland - SRG SSR

Trends / Predictions

Men

✪ The biggest blow to this year's Olympic tournament is the fact the world's top professional league (NHL) won't make its players available for the Games. This will inevitably affect two-time defending champion Canada as well as former champion United States, because most of their top players are plying their trade in the NHL. With Russia being banned from PyeongChang and the KHL indicating they might not release its Russian players to play under a non-Russia banner, we could have three hockey powerhouses relegated to average teams at this year's Games. The countries most benefited from these developments are Sweden, Finland and Czech Republic -- all of which have strong domestic leagues and are regular medal contenders at major competitions. Sweden and the Czech Republic won the Olympic tournament before, while Finland was a two-time world champion.

Top teams (outside the Big Three): Sweden, Czech Republic, Finland, Switzerland, Germany
Top leagues (excluding NHL & KHL): Elitserien (Sweden), SM-liiga (Finland), Czech Extraliga, Slovak Extraliga
IIHF World Rankings: 1. Canada | 2. Russia | 3. Sweden | 4. Finland | 5. USA

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Scenario #1 - KHL allows its players to participate
Staff's prediction: Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR) wins gold medal

Scenario #2 - KHL bans its players from participating
Staff's prediction: Sweden wins its third Olympic gold in men's ice hockey
Projected finish: 1. Sweden 2. Finland 3. Canada

Women

✪ There are no controversies on the women's side, as the main attraction remains the rivalry between Canada and the United States. Since the women's game made its Olympic debut at the 1998 Games, the two countries have combined to win all the gold medals available. The United States won the inaugural gold, but Canada has won the last four gold medals at the expense of her fierce rival (who finished runner-up thrice). Since the last Olympics, however, the U.S. has beaten Canada three consecutive times at the world championships. If the trend holds, the Americans should finally regain the gold medal and put a dent in Canada's Olympic dominance.

Most successful countries at Olympics: 1. Canada (4G, 1S) | 2. USA (1G, 3S) | 3. Sweden (1S, 1B) | 4. Finland (2B) | 5. Switzerland (1B)
Performance in last 3 worlds: 1. USA (3G) | 2. Canada (3S) | 3. Finland (2B)

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Staff's prediction: USA wins Olympic gold in women's ice hockey
Projected finish: 1. USA 2. Canada 3. Finland

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