During this weekend’s tournaments, Germany, Slovenia, and Norway earned a ticket to the 2018 Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and that means that the tournament’s groups are now set.
2018 Olympic Games Groups
Group A: Canada, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Korea*
Group B: Russia, USA, Slovakia, Slovenia
Group C: Sweden, Finland, Norway, Germany
*Qualified as hosts.
Olympic reigning champions, Team Canada, probably got the best berth, considering that hardly Team South Korea will be a problem to whatever team they will be able to bring to Pyeongchang.
The Group B will most likely be the hardest. Slovakia and Slovenia have some players (like, of course, Los Angeles Kings superstar Anze Kopitar for Slovenia) and an overall level that can bring them to upset a more valued team, as it happened many times in the Olympic Games history.
In the remaining group, Sweden and Finland should not have many problems in facing Norway and Germany, and both teams will most likely get to the playoffs.
At this point, it’s not clear yet whether NHL players will be allowed to participate in the Olympic Games tournament. NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly most recently said that a decision on the NHL’s Olympic participation will come before the end of 2016.
The 2018 Olympic Games are scheduled to run 9-25 February 2018 and will be played in the under-construction Gangneung Hockey Centre.