Absolutely over the moon because hockey is back in September!!! Not only is it hockey but it's World Cup style hockey and we really have not seen this in a long time! This has been an event that was anticipated since its announcement last summer and I am excited to see it begin officially (not pre tournament games)!
Team Europe hopefully has found what works best with them because they have a disadvantage that the other countries (excluding North America) do not have. They are representing an entire continent and they do not have the national pride that the others have. They also may not speak the same languages and they may not be able to communicate effectively (they probably have a common language but it just may not be enough for them to move past the differences.) They do have an advantage of more people backing them up in multiple countries and they have clear talent that would have not been able to participate due to their small country. They also want to provw themselves and beat the other European powerhouses that are in the tournament. Can they win? Eh... Can they beat the U.S. today? Maybe.
USA Hockey is do or die and they have some good players. The goal tending group is solid and so is defence but they do not have fantastic offence. Defence wins championships but in hockey, your defence can get tired really quickly if the offence is not giving support. The goalie cannot do everything either! I think this team is not as bad as past teams but I feel that the offence looks lackluster and their young offensive talent was robbed by Team North America.
Deja vû? I would Czech yes to that one. The Czechs have the similar problem that the U.S. does: great choices for goaltending, but missing key players on offence. The U.S. is not missing a key legend like Jagr, but they have gaps that should have been filled. It really is a shame not to see Jagr play but he must be conserving his energy. The Czechs will have to do a lot of saving to stop the Canadians and even their good goalies cannot save them completely from the dominant team and host country.
Which leads us to Canada! This team is a definite favourite because of the immense depth (offence, defence, goaltending, coaching, fans, etc.) They have everything you would want in a team but one thing to watch out for is if they are too good. And by too good I mean that they have trouble giving smaller roles to players that are used to having a larger role on their team (ex: many NHL centres have to play left/right wing unless they're Crosby-status.) They cannot afford to have egos on this team because it could really mess with the chemistry. I see Canada doing fantastic and I would be very disappointed if they don't.
Lines will be coming soon!
One century of this game and League is a wonderful milestone to celebrate. Let's hope to do this in the next century!