OK, here we go. My NHL playoffs predictions this year have been so bad, and my World Junior ones were pretty dismal (USA for gold, they end up in the relegation round), so I guess this is my chance to redeem myself. Or continue making hilariously awful predictions to close out my season. First, let's rank the preliminary round:
|Rank||Stockholm Group||Helsinki Group|
I'm predicting strong tournaments for Slovakia and Germany, poor ones for Latvia, Belarus and a disappointment for the Swiss. Top four in each group advance to the quarterfinals, and last in the group means you're relegated. I'm not being entirely original putting the two teams that were promoted from Division 1A last year to go back down. I'm not entirely sold on Finland's team this year, but in front of a home crowd I think it's good enough to claim the 2nd spot in their group. But in seven games, I can't see Canada not having the best record there. In Stockholm, Sweden is loaded and motivated, I can't see a crash landing for them, this should be a great team. That said, they won't like my predicted quarterfinal opponent, a somewhat mediocre Czech entry that is still very tough to play against and with plenty of offensive weapons. I'm also somewhat hopeful for the Americans this time around, getting them into the quarterfinals ahead of the Swiss on the strength of some strong offensive weapons, particularly on the PP. Denmark, Norway and Latvia could all be mixed around in a blender, I'm just going on what I feel about their rosters to be honest. The disciplined Germans should find their way into the quarterfinals, and I'm giving them the 3rd spot just for kicks.
The quarterfinals play out as 1 vs 4 and 2 vs 3 in each group before they mix the teams up for the semifinals in Helsinki. I'll take Sweden and Russia (shocking) to move out of Stockholm, and Canada and Finland (another shocker) to continue on in Helsinki. I can't forsee much different given the results I gave, but I'm sure the Sweden vs. Czech Republic and Canada vs. USA games would be very good games.
In the end, that leaves a semifinals that is tough to read who would play who, I'm going to rank the teams as follows:
1. Sweden, 2. Canada, 3. Russia, 4. Finland
So Sweden and Finland meet in a rematch of last year's Championship in one semifinal, and Canada plays Russia. Here's my medal prediction:
|Gold: Canada||Silver: Sweden||Bronze: Finland|
I'll continue to make predictions as the tournament progresses and these results turn out to look really silly.