Skip to main content

Team Canada watches a replay of Canada defenseman Drew Doughty's game winning sudden death overtime goal against Finland after a men's ice hockey game at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, in Sochi, Russia.

Mark Humphrey/AP

Follow The Globe's SOCHI LIVE for the latest from the Winter Olympics

So now the games really start to mean something.

Win and you move on. Lose, and your gold medal chances are done.

Story continues below advertisement

Canada's nail-biter of an overtime win over the Finns on Sunday means that their road to the men's hockey gold medal game goes through five possible teams, with by far the most threatening of those the undefeated Americans.

Team Canada starts the elimination round by facing the winner of Tuesday's Switzerland-Latvia game in Wednesday's quarter-finals, a do-or-die game that they should win given the mismatch. But it's also a game that won't be overlooked by coach Mike Babcock or his players given how tight the Swiss can play and how well netminder Jonas Hiller has done so far in the tournament.

Anything can happen in a single-game elimination format and that holds here, especially against a team where almost every game is a one-goal decision.

With the bracket format used in the Olympics, however, many hockey fans are already looking forward to Canada's potential path beyond that game, as it's laid out pretty clearly. With no reseeding possible, Team Canada now cannot face Sweden, Russia or Finland before the gold medal final – unless it's in a bronze medal game – leaving only the U.S. as the only true super power to go through in its next two games.

If Canada beats Switzerland (or Latvia) on Wednesday, that would very likely set up a semi-final rematch of the final in Vancouver, when Sidney Crosby scored the golden goal in overtime to beat the Americans.

That's provided the U.S. gets past the Czechs and Slovaks, both of which have struggled in this tournament. Team USA, however, has had an outstanding run in going undefeated and posting the highest goal differential of any team (plus-11) through three games, enough to take the second seed behind Sweden.

Canada, meanwhile, has had an extremely difficult time generating offence against both Norway and Finland, which will obviously be their main concern in facing the Swiss.

Story continues below advertisement

But the reality is that Canada was always going to have to beat at least two very good teams in order to win this tournament. The only difference now is they have a much better idea of who those teams might be.

The path to the gold medal for Team Canada and its rivals is now clear, as Canada awaits the winner of Latvia-Switzerland (full story here).

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter