Host City: Sochi, Russia
Venue(s): Bolshoy Ice Dome, Adler; Shayba Arena, Adler
Date Started: February 12, 2014
Date Finished: February 23, 2014
Format: Round-robin pools, followed by single-elimination matches.
Host nation Russia was the top-ranked team in men's ice hockey at the onset of the 2014 Winter Olympics, as well as the 2012 World Champion, and entered the tournament as the favorite while Sweden, the defending World Champion, was ranked fourth. Finland and the Czech Republic, the 2011 and 2010 World Champions respectively, were ranked second and third, while Canada, the defending Olympic champion, was fifth. The most exciting action in the preliminary round came during Russia's match against the seventh-ranked United States, where a classic Cold War-era showdown led to a 2-2 tie at the end of the third period. After a scoreless overtime, America's [T.J. Oshie] knocked four pucks into the net during a shootout to earn his nation a 3-2 victory and automatic qualification for the quarterfinals. Canada, meanwhile, took Group B after an overtime battle against a strong Finnish team, while fourth-ranked Sweden dominated Group C.
For the hosts, perhaps the most tragic moment of the entire Games came during the quarterfinals, where Finland pulled off a 3-1 upset against the Russian team and eliminated them from medal contention. Canada, meanwhile, had a surprisingly difficult time with eleventh-ranked Latvia in its own quarterfinal match, avoiding overtime by less than seven minutes with a goal from [Shea Weber]. This was not even the closest call for a team playing against the Latvians, as the preliminary rounds saw Switzerlandâs [Simon Moser] score the only point of their match against Latvia with eight seconds of play remaining. With Russia's surprising exit, all eyes fell on the semifinal matchup between Canada and the United States, but hopes for a repeat of the epic 2010 gold medal game were dashed as Canada skated to an easy 1-0 victory in a supremely-defended, but otherwise uninteresting game. The final, although touted as a rematch of the Olympic final twenty years earlier (where Sweden won 3-2 in a shootout) was equally anti-climactic. Sweden, who had bested Finland 2-1 in the semifinals, failed to withstand an invigorated and determined Canada team, losing the match 3-0. The bronze medal game brought an even larger shutout, with Finland capturing the final podium spot with a 5-0 victory.
Canada thus became the first nation to defend a men's Olympic ice hockey title since the Soviet Union in 1988, and the first to go undefeated through a tournament since the 1984 Soviets. Finland's [Teemu SelÃ¤nne] also had an excellent Olympics\: in addition to tying [Raimo Helminen]'s record for Olympic ice hockey appearances (6), he also set the record for career Olympic goals (43) and was named tournament MVP. [Phil Kessel] was the leading scorer, with five goals and three assists, while Sweden's [Erik Karlsson] also had eight points, with four goals and four assists.
Sweden's [Nicklas BÃ¤ckstrÃ¶m] tested positive for pseudoephedrine, allegedly from an allergy medication, and was forced to miss the final. The International Olympic Committee, World Anti-Doping Agency, and the International Ice Hockey Federation agreed that the offence was minor enough for him to be allowed to keep his silver medal after a reprimand.