2014 Olympics: USA in tough group with Russia and Slovakia

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With the 2012 IIHF World Championships in the book, we now know the groups for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Group A: Russia (1), Slovakia (6), USA (7), Qualifier

Group B: Finland (2), Canada (5), Norway (8), Qualifier

Group C: Czech Republic (3), Sweden (4), Switzerland (9), Qualifier

The numbers in the brackets are the world rankings that were used to create the groups – the same rankings that are essentially meaningless since the last time each country had all its best players together was the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.

Anyway, the eight teams with the best records (the top two teams of each group and the two teams ranked third with the best record) advance to the quarterfinals.

Instant analysis:

Tough draw for the USA.

Easy one for Canada.

That, of course, assumes NHL players will participate. (Which they totally will since everyone would freak out if they didn’t.)

Related: IIHF happy to wait out NHL commitment to the Olympics