AC Olympic Preview: Group B Preview and Predictions

These guys. And Sami. Don't forget Sami. - Jeff Gross

The Gold Medal defense is underway for Team Canada, and it begins with a preliminary round in which they face off against three teams with vastly inferior skill levels. But all it takes is one look at the history books (and by books I probably mean internet) to see what happens to those who count out the Finns.

Contending Teams: Canada, Finland, Austria, Norway

Round 1:

Finland vs. Austria (Feb 13th, 12:00am PST): Injuries to Mikko Koivu and Valtteri Filppula may be catastrophic to Finland's chances at a medal, but they shouldn't be enough to give Thomas Vanek's team an edge. Look for Sami Vatanen to make his Olympic debut on a Finnish team that isn't too deep on the back end. Winner: Finland 4-2

Canada vs. Norway (Feb 13th, 9:00am PST): New York Rangers teammates Rick Nash and Mats Zuccarello will play against each other in this game which will be unmatched by any other in terms of talent disparity. Winner: Canada 8-0

Round 2:

Canada vs. Austria (Feb 14th, 9:00am PST): Another gimme for Canada. John Tavares' team will defeat that of his New York Islanders teammates Vanek and Michael Grabner in a game almost as ugly as the first one. Winner: Canada 6-1

Norway vs. Finland (Feb 14th, 9:00am PST): Once again, Norway is simply outmatched. Zuccarello won't have an A-list shutdown defender to play against this time, so expect him to get some chances. If the Norwegians can't score at least one goal, the Finnish government will likely seize one of their fjords. Winner: Finland 5-1

Round 3:

Austria vs. Norway (Feb 16th, 12:00am PST): This figures to be by far the most entertaining day of the preliminary round for Group B, with all four teams playing against closer competition. Austria will finally get their win, but it won't come easily. Winner: Austria 6-5 SO

Finland vs. Canada (Feb 16th, 9:00am PST): Vatanen and Teemu Selanne vs Ryan Getzlaf and.Corey PerryOlli Maatta vs. Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz. Sami Salo vs. Martin St. LouisTuukka Rask vs. Patrice Bergeron. As in every game they play, Canada is favored. But they underestimate Suomi at their own peril. You heard it here first, folks. Winner: Finland 2-1 OT

Final Standings Predictions:

1. Finland: 8 pts

2. Canada: 7 pts

3. Austria: 2 pts

4. Norway: 1 pt

Stay glued to Anaheim Calling for full coverage throughout the Olympic tournament.

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