The Men’s Ice Hockey tournament of the XXIV Olympic Winter in Beijing has started. The tournament started off with two games. ROC (Russia) vs Switzerland and Czech Republic vs Denmark. There are four games scheduled for tonight. That includes United States vs China and Canada vs Germany. I did do a tournament preview post. You can check that out here.
One of the big things in this tournament is that there are no NHL players but there is a lot of KHL players. The KHL is the top Russian league. They do have some European teams. The Chinese team is basically a KHL team. The KHL has also decied to cut the season short. They have ended the regular season and will start playoffs following the olympics. Although not official it assumed that this is due to the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine at the Ukrainian boarder. I just wanted to show this graphic that the KHL shared about KHL players in the olympics.
To start the tournament ROC (Russia) played Switzerland. ROC (Russia) scored the only goal of the game in the last minute of the first period. ROC (Russia) would win the game 1-0. It was a heated game. There were a lot of roughing penalties. There were four coincidental roughing penalties in the second period. It was hard fought and close.
ROC (Russia) came into the tournament number one in the IIHF power rankings. They played a pretty close game. The shots were pretty even. There was a lot of penalties. Neither team was able to capitalize on the powerplay. It doesn’t give us a lot to go off of moving forward. We will know more as far as how good each team is after tonight. It was a good game to open up the tournament. If the whole tournament is a bunch of one goal games it will be exciting and a lot of fun to watch.
Czech Republic vs Denmark. Denmark opened up the scoring in the first period. Czech Republic gave up a penalty shot late in the first period. Denmark scored on the penalty shot. Denmark took a 2-0 lead into the second period. Czech Republic would cut the lead in half 3 minutes into the second period. The only thing to happen in the third period was a hooking call on Denmark. Denmark would win the game 2-1.
Czech Republic outshot Denmark 40 to 17. With 40 shots they should have more goals. They are taking a lot of shots but not getting quality scoring chances. Denmarks goalie won this one for them. He made 39 saves. This wasn’t as aggressive as the last games. I think all the games with ROC (Russia) will be aggressive. The difference in this game came down to the penalty shot.
Here are the current standing:
Here are the upcoming games:
The big question right now is how will every team play? Then the question is how will they respond to how they played in the first game? It’s still relatively unknown how good each team will play. Some teams will surprise every and play really well. Other teams will underperform. The teams everyone will be watching the closest will be the United States, Canada and ROC (Russia).