X

Olympic Hockey 2018 Tournament Men's Groups, Bracket, Schedule and Odds

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistFebruary 13, 2018

Russia's forward Ilya Kovalchuk (C), defenceman Bogdan Kisilevich (L) and forward Vadim Shipachev (R) celebrate a goal during the Channel One Cup of the Euro Hockey Tour ice hockey match between Russia and Finland in Moscow on December 19, 2015.  / AFP / ALEXANDER NEMENOV        (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images)
ALEXANDER NEMENOV/Getty Images

The allure of the Olympic men's ice hockey tournament may have dwindled due to the absence of NHL players, but it still carries intrigue.

The 12-team tournament that begins on Wednesday features a favorite to win gold in each of the three groups for pool play, a move that should keep Olympic Athletes from Russia, Canada and Sweden away from each other until the semifinals.

Former San Jose Sharks, New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings player Tony Granato is in charge of a United States squad that is made up of players from college, the AHL and abroad.

Below is everything you need to know about the Olympic men's ice hockey tournament.

       

Groups

Group A

Canada

Czech Republic

Switzerland

South Korea

          

Schedule

Thursday, February 15

Czech Republic vs. South Korea (7:10 a.m. ET)

Canada vs. Switzerland (7:10 a.m. ET)

      

Friday, February 16 (Game takes place in Pyeongchang on Saturday, February 17)

Canada vs. Czech Republic (10:10 p.m. ET)

       

Saturday, February 17

Switzerland vs. South Korea (2:40 a.m. ET)

      

Sunday, February 18

Czech Republic vs. Switzerland (2:40 a.m. ET)

Canada vs. South Korea (7:10 a.m. ET)

      

Group B

United States

Olympic Athletes from Russia

Slovenia

Slovakia

      

Schedule

Wednesday, February 14

United States vs. Slovenia (7:10 a.m. ET)

Olympic Athletes from Russia vs. Slovakia (7:10 a.m. ET)

      

Thursday, February 15 (Game takes place in Pyeongchang on Friday, February 16) 

United States vs. Slovakia (10:10 p.m. ET)

      

Friday, February 16

Olympic Athletes from Russia vs. Slovenia (2:40 a.m. ET)

      

Saturday, February 17

Olympic Athletes from Russia vs. United States (7:10 a.m. ET)

Slovakia vs. Slovenia (7:10 a.m. ET)

      

Group C

Sweden

Finland

Norway

Germany

      

Schedule

Wednesday, February 14 (Game takes place in Pyeongchang on Thursday, February 15)

Finland vs. Germany (10:10 p.m. ET)

      

Thursday, February 15

Norway vs. Sweden (2:40 a.m. ET)

      

Friday, February 16

Finland vs. Norway (7:10 a.m. ET)

Sweden vs. Germany (7:10 a.m. ET)

      

Saturday, February 17 (Game takes place in Pyeongchang on Sunday, February 18)

Norway vs. Germany (10:10 p.m. ET)

      

Sunday, February 18

Sweden vs. Finland (7:10 a.m. ET)

      

Bracket

After pool play, the teams will be ranked, with the top four squads receiving byes into the quarterfinals. 

      

Playoff Round (Monday, February 19 and Tuesday, February 20) 

No. 8 vs. No. 9

No. 5 vs. No. 12 

No. 6 vs. No. 11

No. 7 vs. No. 10

      

Quarterfinals (Tuesday, February 20 and Wednesday, February 21)

No. 1 vs. winner of No. 8 vs. No. 9

No. 4 vs. winner of No. 5 vs. No. 12

No. 3 vs. winner of No. 6 vs. No. 11

No. 2 vs. winner of No. 7 vs. No. 10

      

Semifinals

No. 1 vs. No. 8 or No. 9 winner vs. No. 4 vs. No. 5 or No. 12 winner

No. 3 vs. No. 6 or No. 11 winner vs. No. 2 vs. No. 7 or No. 10 winner

     

3rd-Place Game (Friday, February 23)

Loser of semifinal No. 1 vs. Loser of semifinal No. 2

      

Final (Saturday, February 24 at 11:10 p.m. ET)

Winner of semifinal No. 1 vs. winner of semifinal No. 2

      

Odds (via Oddsshark)

Olympic Athletes from Russia (+225; Bet $100 to win $225) 

Canada (+275)

Sweden (+400)

Finland (+800)

Czech Republic (+900)

United States (+900)

Switzerland (+3,300)

Germany (+6,600)

Slovakia (+6,600)

Norway (+10,000)

Slovenia (+25,000)

South Korea (+25,000)

       

Loaded Roster Makes Olympic Athletes from Russia the Favorite

While the NHL players won't be showing up in South Korea, there will be a large contingent from the KHL in South Korea, especially on the Olympic Athletes from Russia roster.

The Russian domestic league is represented by every player on the Russian roster, including 15 players from league leader SKA Saint Petersburg.

The big names on the roster are Ilya Kovalchuk and Pavel Datsyuk because of the time they spent in the NHL, but you should keep an eye on Vadim Shipachyov, who provided 11 assists at the 2017 IIHF World Championships.

Alexander Zemlianichenko/Associated Press

The United States is the top competition for the Russians in pool play, but given the talent gap between the two rosters, it may not be a close affair to close out action in Group B.

Olympic Athletes from Russia's claim to the Olympic hockey throne will be tested by two-time defending champion Canada and 2006 gold-medal winner Sweden, one of which should face the Russians in the semifinals.

       

Can the Americans Use 1980 as Motivation?

There are a few similarities between the 2018 United States men's hockey team and the 1980 group that upset the Russians on the way to a gold medal on home soil.

The group of collegiate and minor-league players will try to conjure up the spirits of the past and use them as motivation in a tournament they aren't supposed to medal in.

Games against Slovenia and Slovakia to start pool play should help the Americans gain confidence before their first real test against the Olympic Athletes from Russia.

While it may seem like a small goal, the United States should try to earn the fourth seed and a bye into the quarterfinals.

PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09:  Head coach Tony Granato of the Men's USA Ice Hockey Team works practice ahead of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Gangneung Hockey Centre on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea.  (P
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

That accomplishment is attainable if the Americans rack up goals on their first two opponents with goal differential being one of the tiebreakers that determines playoff seeding.

Once they get into the elimination round, anything is possible from a quarterfinal exit to a shock run into the final spurred by an upset over one of the top seeds.

If the Americans use 1980 as a model for success in 2018, it could help them overcome the gap in talent that they'll face against the top medal contenders .

      

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

Statistics obtained from Olympic.org.

🚨 SPORTS NEWS ➡️ YOUR INBOX

The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.