Canada finished round-robin play undefeated with two wins in regulation and a 2-1 overtime win against Finland on Sunday.
You’d think that would be enough to keep everyone satisfied with how the team is playing, but complaints still arise because the offense isn’t quite all there. Yes, the defense is scoring well, but with guys like Sidney Crosby out there, you expect more from the guys up front.
VIDEO: Canada needs OT to beat Finns
Coach Mike Babcock wonders what that is all about as he told reporters following the win against Finland.
With a team a loaded as Canada is, expectations are understandably high. They’re coming off a gold medal win in 2010 and have, arguably, the deepest offense in the Olympic tournament.
Now that the elimination rounds are coming up, everything is analyzed under an electron microscope to find what’s wrong and what could be better. Instead, Canada just keeps winning despite the seeming bumps in the road. If they have any hiccups in this part of the tournament, however, it could lead to serious disappointment.
Sweden came away with a 5-3 win against Latvia, but it wasn’t the kind of confidence-building blowout some were expecting to happen.
Latvia held an early 2-1 lead before Sweden came back to control the game, but it wasn’t without trepidation. As Slava Malamud at IIHF.com shares, the Swedes gave full marks to the Latvians for how they played.
“We know Latvia is a good team and if you make mistakes, they can come fast at you,” said Loui Eriksson. “It’s been three games in four days, so we will take all the positives we can from the three wins and bring them to the quarterfinal.”
Latvian forward Zemgus Girgensons said they wanted to do their part to frustrate the Swedes. Keeping the score close and not relenting did just that. A moral victory will have to do for now.
Sweden finished the opening round undefeated and are set up to possibly be the top seed for the playoff round. As for Latvia, they didn’t win a game during round-robin play and are set up to face the No. 6 seed in the next round.
Switzerland used to be the team in the Olympic hockey tournament that would put in a good effort but come up short in the end.
At the 2014 Sochi Olympics, however, things have changed. In three games they’ve given up just one goal and scored twice. The Swiss came away with two wins in round-robin play and their 1-0 loss to Sweden was their lone blemish.
With Jonas Hiller and Reto Berra holding things down and the Swiss defense playing extra stingy, the players know they’re a team that can’t be looked past now. Nino Niederreiter and Mark Streit
Streit’s statement is a big one. In the past, the Swiss could feel proud of a well-played loss against powerful teams like Canada, Russia, or the United States. Now, the bar for success is that much higher and they’re gunning for a medal in hockey.
See highlights of Switzerland’s 1-0 win against the Czech Republic at NBCOlympics.com
The Swiss came away with a silver medal at the 2013 World Championships after losing to Sweden 5-1 in the gold medal game. To get there they beat the United States in the semifinals.
The improvement has been steady and if they keep playing smothering defense with outstanding goaltending, they can earn their first medal since the 1948 Olympics.