The 2018 Winter Olympics is just a few months away. While we know where the NHL and their players will be, that leaves a lot of rumors about how the other 12 countries going to the Olympics will do.
Russia’s last gold medal in men’s hockey was in 1988 and it was stilled referred to as the Soviet Union. They’ve been shut out of the medal podium for the last three years at the Olympics. Their last medal was in 2002 and it was a bronze.
It’s not a surprise to see Russia lead the medal odds this early before the Olympics. Russia is bound to get a boost from the KHL for the games, a professional asset the United States and Canada won’t get because of the absence of the NHL.
The great quantity of talent that goes along with being the 2nd biggest hockey league on earth is the reason Team Russia is the top favorite for the gold medal.
It is difficult not to feel a little sad for Alex Ovechkin. The forward is having an amazing start in the 2017-18 season, but he’s already left himself to toeing the NHL’s line of skipping the 2018 Olympics. Team Russia’s odds at winning the Olympic gold have never been this good and Ovechkin isn’t going to participate.
As for North America, the high odds are a testament to the continent’s talent pool even outside of professional leagues. Team Canada won’t have the help of Connor McDavid or Sidney Crosby, but the it is the best on earth for a reason.
Team USA has given the names for the Deutschland Cup. It will have Brian Gionta and Ryan Malone.
As February comes up, the odds for the 2018 Olympics will probably change. Team Russia’s place as the favorite will certainly stay the same.