Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Update (Day 16)

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Heading into the Olympics the men’s hockey tournament was likely going to be something interesting.

This was the first year since 1994 that NHL players weren’t allowed to play in the tournament and that led to a lot of interesting possibilities.

For some fans, it meant that there was no real reason to watch but for those that simply love the game it gave them every reason to watch.

There would be no NHL All-Star teams in this tournament leaving teams like Canada and USA without their best players.

In the past, those great players were able to play as the NHL took weeks off to allow their players to try to achieve one of the major hockey accomplishments.

Despite the demand from fans and the players, the NHL decided that it was in their best interest to keep the players in North America.

So for a team like Canada, the roster was going to be made up of names that sounded familiar but not the best names.

The Canadians and Americans had built teams out of the best players in the NHL with no room for other from any other league.

Teams like Russia and Sweden would see a majority of NHL players on the roster while filling things out.

That was no longer the case and so these usually dominant teams were going to have to make due with European domestic league players.

That was surely going to cause an interesting dynamic in the tournament because the players making up most of the teams were all going to be closer in skill level.

It wasn’t NHL against Liiga or NHL against the DEL, it was going to be players from all of those leagues playing against each other.

The difference between talent was not going to be there and that means that a lot more teams were going to have a real shot.

Heading into this year’s tournament the overwhelming favourite was the Russians who were still allowed to take from their major domestic league.

That major domestic league is the KHL which is also considered the next best thing to the NHL giving the OAR team access to some very good players.

Some of the biggest names in the NHL that had recently retired were going to be a part of the OAR team and so they were clearly going to be the favourites.

The Canadians, Americans and Swedes could all be good but there was no guarantee that any could play for gold.

Right away things were different though and from the first day, people got a glimpse of what the tournament was going to be like.

OAR took a loss to the Slovakians while the USA lost to the Slovenians giving two losses to two of the biggest teams.wolympic-sidebarolympics-sidebar

It was a massive surprise for so many and the tone had been set that no team could take anything for granted.

That only continued as the tournament went on and a true underdog emerged from the rest of the small countries.

The Germans had won only two medals in the history of the Olympic Games hockey tournament and both were bronze.

Their last came as West Germany in 1976 but since then they were never really in the fight to be great.

That all changed this year when they announced their arrival in the quarter-finals.

That is when they beat the Swedes in overtime and beat one of the biggest hockey nations in the world.

That earned them a date with a bigger hockey country in Canada who were expected to easily win the game and play for gold.

The Germans went up 4-1 early and held off the comeback to put them into the gold medal game for the first time ever.

They were a true underdog story as they have never been in the gold medal game and were rarely a major player on the international stage.

Germany fought right until the end as their final game was going to be against the favourites in OAR who made good on their expectations.

It was an instant classic for a gold medal game with both teams going back and forth and forcing an overtime period.

The game ended the way that many expected though as the Russians were able to score the overtime goal and take the gold medal.

Germany couldn’t complete the underdog story but the tournament still ended in an unexpected way.

OAR stood on top while Germany took silver and Canada took bronze in what was an entertaining tournament that might continue into 2022.

 

The Canadian Story:

Overall Record

The Canadians came into the Game with a goal to earn more medals than any other Team Canada at the Olympics. The Winter Games have always been the strength of Canada but they have struggled to compete with the top medal countries. This year they finished the games in third place with a record 29 medals helping continue their growth.

Out of the Medals

The 4-man bobsled team was sitting in a decent spot as the final runs began with Justin Kripps sitting in fourth place. He looked to earn the 30th medal of the games for Canada but it wasn’t to be. He struggled in the final runs and dropped two spots in the rankings finishing sixth in the competition.

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