There’s no question that there will be tremendous pressure put on Team Russia in the 2014 Winter Games, but is that a bad thing? It didn’t bring down Canada in 2010, in fact it might have been the push they needed to win the gold.
Meanwhile, Canada’s results outside of North America haven’t been nearly as good. Since the NHL started allowing their players to participate in the Olympics in 1998, there has been two tournaments in North America and two outside of the continent. Canada won gold in Vancouver and Salt Lake City while they failed to even get a medal in Nagano or Turin.
There are varying theories as to why that is, but Team Canada GM Steve Yzerman took issue with the idea that Canada simply isn’t motivated enough when they leave North America.
“Yes, we won in the U.S.A. in 2002 and Canada in 2010, but we also had great opportunities to capture the gold in Turin and Nagano, especially in Nagano, where we had a really strong team and could have gone all the way, but we lost to the Czechs in a shootout,” Yzerman said, according to the KHL’s website.
It’s hard to read too much into Canada’s — and for that matter the United States’ — lack of success at Nagano and Turin as these are short tournaments and we haven’t seen enough of them to necessarily have a reliable pattern. Canada remains a strong team and one of the favorites to win gold.