A (too sooner?) Look at the Olympic hockey tournaments

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Olympic hockey comes into focus

Is It Too Soon To Talk About Olympic Ice Hockey? I say no. The fixtures for the men’s and women’s tournaments in Beijing were released yesterday. So let’s dive into them and dish out some initial thoughts:

Women’s tournament

How it works: The first games will take place on the night of Wednesday, February 2, in Canadian time zones – two days before the opening ceremony. The 10 teams are divided into two groups of five for the round robin phase. Because international women’s hockey is so top-heavy, the best teams are grouped together and definitely advance to the quarter-finals. The three best teams from the other group will join them. The quarters run from February 10th to February 12th in Canadian time zones. The semi-finals are Super Bowl Sunday, February 13 at 11:10 p.m. ET and Monday, February 14 at 8:10 p.m. ET. The gold medal game – likely another showdown between Canada and defending champions USA – will take place on Wednesday, February 16 at 11:10 p.m. ET.

Canada’s schedule

  • Wed., Feb. 2 at 11:10 p.m. ET vs. Switzerland
  • Fri. Feb. 4 at 11:10 p.m. ET vs. Finland
  • Sun, Feb 6 at 11:10 p.m. ET vs. Russia
  • Mon, Feb. 7 at 11:10 p.m. ET vs. USA

Thoughts: Everyone will have the Canada-US game circled on their calendar, but their round robin matches are usually glorified exhibitions. Neither team wants to show too much to their rival when they’re likely to be fighting for all the marbles in the next week. Don’t sleep on the game against Finland: They pissed Canada off in the 2019 World Cup semi-finals and then stunned the US for gold before their overtime target was video-disapproved and the Americans won in a shootout. The Finns won bronze at this year’s World Championships in Calgary.

Men’s tournament

How it works: The 12 teams are divided into three groups of four for the round robin phase. The best team in each group plus the best team in second place go straight to the quarter-finals. The others can still make the quarter by winning a single elimination playoff game. That happens on the night of February 14th (hope your Valentine likes hockey) and the next morning. The quarter-finals are on February 15 (night) and February 16 (morning). The semifinals are Thursday, February 17 at 11:10 p.m. ET and Friday, February 18 at 8:10 a.m. ET. The gold medal game will take place on Saturday, February 19 at 11:10 p.m. ET. Start hydrating now.

Canada’s schedule

  • Thursday, February 10 at 8:10 a.m. ET vs. Germany
  • Fri, Feb 11 at 11:10 p.m. ET vs. USA
  • Sun, Feb 13 at 8:10 p.m. ET vs. China

Thoughts: NHL players are back – provided the pandemic doesn’t cause them and / or the league to exercise their bail option. Against Germany, Canada could face NHL MVP 2019-20 Leon Draisaitl from the Edmonton Oilers and the third overall 2020 draft pick, Tim Stützle from the Ottawa Senators. Germany also has a couple of solid goalkeepers in 2021 Vezina Trophy finalist Philipp Grubauer (formerly Colorado Avalanche, now with the Seattle Kraken expansion) and veteran Thomas Greiss (Detroit). Canada’s duel with the US, which should include reigning NHL scorer champion Auston Matthews and former MVP Patrick Kane, will likely decide who wins the group and the associated direct ticket to the quarter-finals.

Another souvenir: Super Bowl Sunday will be extra great. When the NFL added an extra week of regular season games this year, it moved the Super Bowl to the second Sunday in February – in the middle of the Olympics. This was more than okay for U.S. Olympic rights holder NBC, who actually traded Super Bowls with a different network so it could have both properties at the same time and sell them as a package deal to advertisers. My first thought was that NBC was going to have a big men’s hockey match (e.g. medical drama with Rob Lowe or whatever). Given the Super Bowl usually ends around 10 p.m. ET, which will be 11 a.m. in Beijing, it was certainly possible. But that is not the case. Still, a men’s Canadian hockey game at 8 a.m. ET and a women’s hockey semi-final at 11:10 p.m. ET (possibly with Canada) will make for a tasty Super Bowl sandwich.

CLOCK | Canadian men list projection:

What could Canada’s Olympic ice hockey team look like in Beijing?

CBC’s Rob Pizzo is joined by Justin Bourne and Dom Luszczyszyn to discuss their mortal curls, bubble players and dark horses for Team Canada 2022. 10:06

Fast…

The Blue Jays double their audience. In time for a big streak against the Yankees, the Ontario government will reportedly allow 30,000 fans to play Jays’ home games starting next week. That’s more than the current maximum of 15,000, and the increased capacity will take effect from the start of a three-game series against New York on Tuesday. Then Toronto closes the regular season with three home games against Baltimore. But first the Jays have to take care of business this weekend in Minnesota, where the humble twins beat them 7-2 last night. The defeat left Toronto one game behind the Yankees for second and final AL wildcard spot and three behind Boston for top spot.

Canada got another Olympic figure skating rink. Roman Sadovsky’s eighth place in a competition in Germany today gave his country a second start in the men’s competition in Beijing. First place went to Keegan Messings’ best sixth place at the World Championships in March. Brass and Sadovsky will not necessarily be the ones to occupy the Olympic places they deserve. That will be decided after the Canadian Championships in Ottawa in January. Canada also has three ice dance teams, two couples and a women’s team for the Olympics. Read more about Sadovsky’s performance today here.

Come on CBC Sports

Here’s what you can watch online and on TV this weekend:

This curling show: Host Devin Heroux and legendary Skip Colleen Jones return for today’s season premiere. They talk about the start of Canada’s Olympic qualifiers and have great fun with granite. Be there live on the CBC Olympics Twitter and Facebook feeds or on the CBC Sports YouTube page at 7:00 p.m. ET.

Live sports: Rugby Sevens, Triathlon, Skateboarding and BMX are among the sports that are streamed live on CBCSports.ca, the CBC Sports App and CBC Gem. You can find the full schedule here.

Way to the Olympics: Saturday’s show includes the FIBA ​​3×3 Basketball World Tour event in Montreal and the World Rugby Sevens Series stop in Edmonton. Watch it from 2-6pm ET on the CBC TV Network, CBCSports.ca, the CBC Sports app, and CBC Gem. The Sunday show features rugby sevens. Watch it on CBC TV from 3 p.m. to 3 p.m. local time, or stream it from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET.

One more thing to check out

The 4% Rising newsletter: A study conducted a few years ago found that only four percent of traditional media coverage was devoted to women’s sports. Hence, the name of this newsletter has been focused on growing the audience by telling you when and where to watch women’s sports on TV and online. Try the latest edition and subscribe here.

You are up to date. Talk to you tomorrow.

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