The play in games are over, the top seeded teams have their byes, and now it’s time to get to the meat and potatoes of the Olympics. While most of the medals have been handed out – the winter sports spectacular that occurs every four years is pretty much nothing more than a hockey tournament and the closing ceremonies at this point.
After play-in today, we are down to the elite eight. Wednesday all eight teams play for the right to make it to the semi-finals. The Final four will then play to see who will go for gold and who will struggle for bronze.
NBC Sports will cover the games all day tomorrow (ok, well all morning), with Team USA playing on USA.
The first game on the docket tomorrow is an early morning game if your on the East coast – with Sweden vs Slovenia playing at 3 AM. Slovenia comes into the final days of the tournament with only one NHL player and is a long shot to make it past the quarterfinals.
With the bracket being locked (meaning teams will not be reseeded) the winner of Sweden/Slovaki will face the winner of Russia vs Finland. They wont be off the ice long before knowing who their next opponent will be as the Russians skate on home ice at 7:30AM. While Russia placed fifth and had to play into the quarterfinals – they should easily make the medal round and even the gold medal game.
The other side of the bracket has us destined for a Team USA vs Team Canada semi-final matchup; with no hope for a Vancouver 2010 rematch for Gold.
Team USA will skate against the Czech Republic on USA while Team Canada squares off against long shot Latvia on NBC Sports. Both games are scheduled for noon Eastern time.
Latvia enters the final days of the Olympics with only one win in four games – but the win came at the right time.
The Buffalo Sabres are still well represented in the elite eight – with two on team Sweden (Henrik Tallinder and Jhonas Enroth), Zemgus Girgensons on Team Latvia, and of course Ryan Miller on Team USA.