Before we start naming teams and predicting who will finish where in the competition, we need to remember one key thing when discussing Canada's defence of its Olympic medal: Torino, Italy. In 2002, Canada won a gold medal and the US won a silver medal while playing on a North American ice surface in Salt Lake City, Utah. Four years later, they played one of the worst international tournaments in recent Canadian history, stumbling and looking quite out of place on the international ice surface in Turin. 2010 saw Canada and the US finish first and second again on a North American ice surface in Vancouver. Will those teams be prepared for the larger ice surface in Sochi?
I have full faith that Mike Babcock will have his foot soldiers ready when it comes to the defence of the 2010 Olympic championship. I'm quite sure that Dan Bylsma will have the US team ready as well. Olympic hockey will be awesome once again as the best players on the planet go mano-a-mano for the right to be called the best in the world for the next four years.
Are you ready?
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!