Team USA gets assigned to the host group — Group A for the 2014 Winter Olympics Hockey Tournament. Meanwhile, Canada gets Group B.
The Groups in Russia will look like this (seeds in parenthesis):
Group A: Russia (1), Slovakia (6), USA (7), Slovenia (18)
Group B: Finland (2), Canada (5), Norway (8), Austria (15)
Group C: Czech Republic (3), Sweden (4), Switzerland (9), Latvia (11)
There’s really nothing else to write about, except that the tournament will take on the same format it did in Vancouver back in 2010. Entertaining to say the least.
Officially, how it works is that the four teams with the best records (the group winners and the best second-place team in any of the groups) will advance to the quarterfinals after pool play. From there, the eight remaining teams will play a qualification game to earn a spot in the quarters. — consider them play-in games, if you will.
With rosters months away from being announced, there’s really nothing else to report.
Also keep this in mind: it’s not even certain that NHL players will participate. There’s been a May deadline set by the NHL and the NHLPA, but a decision could come later than that for sure.
Chris Peters, hockey blogger at CBSsports.com writes,
It would seem the IOC needs the NHL more than the NHL needs the Olympics.
It is widely known that the majority of NHL players would like to see continued participation in the Olympics. Even many of the players not asked to go as part of their national teams seem to be supportive since it means a two-week break in the middle of a typically grueling season.
What the players want is certainly going to weigh heavily into the decision for the NHL, but it doesn’t change the fact that the league has a right to seek more in return from the IOC and IIHF.
I’ll keep an eye on the announcement on whether or not NHL’ers will be allowed to participate and any other olympic hockey-related news.