It’s a shame that there is a 12-hour time difference between Sochi and San Jose, because many of us won’t be able to watch a loaded slate of quarterfinal match-ups for hockey in the 2014 Winter Olympics on Wednesday.
Sweden and Slovenia kick things off at midnight (PST), followed by Russia vs. Finland at 4:30. The especially noteworthy games for us in North America — Canada vs. Latvia and USA vs. Czech Republic — will begin at 9:00.
The match-up that I (and probably every American as well) am dying to see in the finals would be USA vs. Russia, a re-match of the epic game that these two countries played in the preliminary round.
The odds of it happening, however, are good, but nowhere close to a guarantee.
First, USA will have to get past a tough Czech team, who have savvy veterans Jaromir Jagr and Patrick Elias, along with a number of other legitimate NHL players. However, this Czech team almost blew a 4-0 lead to Slovakia in the preliminaries on Tuesday, and the Americans should be able to take advantage of goaltender Ondrej Pavelec. No T.J. Oshie-like heroics needed here; expect Team USA to win this one and move on to the semis.
You can pencil in Canada thrashing Latvia as well, setting up a USA vs. Canada semifinal match, which is anyone’s game. If the USA can somehow pull that off, and Russia defeats Sweden in the semis, then we have ourselves quite a battle for the gold.
I’ll just stop there, because I could very well be wrong. Maybe the Americans get upset, or Antti Niemi’s Finnish squad trumps the Russians.
But hey, let a man dream.