The Men's Olympic Hockey competition begins Wednesday, and it is anticipated that it will hold the same intensity that the two-and-a-half month NHL Playoffs own; only condensed into a two-week tournament.
The stakes are high in Sochi, and the pressure is on the favorites, Canada, and the host, Russia.
The tournament will begin with group round robin play (three groups of four countries), with the three group winners and the fourth best team advancing directly to the quarterfinals.
|Group A||Group B||Group C|
The remaining eight teams will play one another, based on their group play rankings, to eliminate four countries, with the winners advancing to the quarterfinals to join the four teams with byes.
From there it becomes an eight-team single-elimination tournament - with the gold medal country winning its final three games.
For the preliminary round the overtime and shootout rules are similar to what they are in the NHL; a five-minute sudden death overtime period of 4-on-4 hockey with the teams defending the same end they defended in the third period. If no goal is scored the game moves to a shootout.
However, the length of overtime increases in the knockout rounds. Overtime consists of 10 minutes in these rounds with the exception of the gold medal game, in which a 20-minute sudden death overtime period is played after a 15-minute break. Teams also will change ends for overtime in the gold medal game.
The shootout format is slighty different than the NHL's. In the Olympics, coaches can re-use shooters that have already gone if no winner is determined through the first three rounds of the shootout.
Many recognizable names from the NHL will be participating in the Olympics, and 18 of them can be seen on MSG Networks throughout the season on Ranger, Islander, Devil and Sabres’ telecasts.
Be sure to follow their impacts throughout the Olympics right here on MSG.com, as we follow our local players as the Olympic hockey tournament unfolds.