Winter Olympics Men's Hockey: Group-by-group preview - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Winter Olympics Men's Hockey: Group-by-group preview

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The men's hockey tournament is considered by Russians as the crowned jewel of the 2014 Olympics in Sochi. It all begins Wednesday with enormous pressure on the host team and high expectations attached to the North American squads as well.

 Though Vancouver offered one of the most exciting tournaments and exciting finishes in the NHL era of the Olympics, the 2014 Games offer a whole new level of intrigue. With the Winter Olympics on Russian soil for the first time, the home team figures to either be the tournament's most motivated team or will be crushed by the expectations.

Meanwhile, Sweden, the United States and Canada all seem to have the best chance among other teams to compete for gold along with the hosts.

It's going to be a fantastic two weeks of hockey full of twists and turns and the best action we'll see until the Stanley Cup Playoffs get underway. Anything can happen at the Olympics, making for both compelling TV and terrific storylines

 Here's a look at each of the three groups heading into the Olympics, which open Wednesday at noon ET with Czech Republic vs. Sweden.

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