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 a totally different complexion this year, with NHL players ineligible to compete. Therefore, you’d better brush up on your Continental Hockey League (KHL) understanding, because that is where the majority of players getting involved in this championship are playing their aggressive hockey.
It’ll come as no surprise to bettors the Olympic Athletes out of Russia – do we must call them , by the way? – would be the favorites, minding the deepest and most talented roster from the contest. A whopping 15 players come in SKA Saint Petersburg of the KHL, such as legendary forward Pavel Datsyuk and Ilya Kovalchuk and up-and-comer Vadim Shipachyov.
Canada is a co-runner-up in the odds division at +450. The two-time defending Olympic champions were the country most negatively impacted by the lack of NHL representation, but still have a gifted 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 at +450, and should give Canada a serious run for its money in the struggle for silver. The Swedes are not too heavy or as talented up front as the Russians or even Canadians, but boast an impressive defense corps headed by consensus No. 1 draft prospect Rasmus Dahlin and a gifted goaltending trio that includes ex-NHLer Jhonas Enroth.