The men's hockey tournament at this year's Sochi Olympics has completed the pool play portion, and tomorrow the playoffs will begin.
By virtue of their round robin records (so much alliteration today) and goal differentials the top four seeds are, in order, Sweden, the United States, Canada, and Finland. These four teams will all get a day off tomorrow, earning a bye straight in to the quarterfinals, which will take place on Wednesday. Their opponents will be determined by the winners of the qualifying round taking place tomorrow. Here's the schedule, and the path to gold for the winners.
Tomorrow's Schedule - Qualification Round
(9) Slovenia vs. (8) Austria
3:00am ET - NBCSN - Winner gets (1) Sweden
Thomas Vanek has been virtually invisible thus far for Austria, with just one assist through three games. Can he step things up in a loser-leaves-town game versus Slovenia?
(5) Russia vs. (12) Norway
7:00am ET - NBCSN - Winner gets (4) Finland
Norway didn't earn a point during the round robin play, while the Russians (an their fans) will be rabid for a big win to move on in the tournament. This one should be fun.
(6) Switzerland vs. (11) Latvia
12:00pm ET - MSNBC - Winner gets (3) Canada
Zemgus Girgensons and Ted Nolan have been one of the most competitive teams in the whole tournament, hanging with the big boys in each of their tough round robin games. Unfortunately, like the Buffalo Sabres, they've also lost most of those games. Rooting for Latvia as a Sabres fan is like putting on a comfy old sweatshirt.
(7) Slovakia vs. (10) Czech Republic
12:00pm ET - NBCSN - Winner gets (2) USA
Two teams battle for the right to lose to AMERICA in the quarterfinals. Which team would you rather see on Wednesday morning, fellow patriots?
If you're more interested in the path to the gold medal game, this handy chart from James Mirtle of the Globe & Mail works pretty well.
A reminder that this is the bracket for the rest of the Olympic hockey tournament, which gets a day of rest today pic.twitter.com/B6YCteq0QZ— James Mirtle (@mirtle) February 17, 2014
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