The 2018 Olympics, hosted in Pyeongchang, South Korea, are just a few short weeks away. While most people are already aware that no NHL players will be on the ice this year, this (along with other factors) has led to quite a bit of speculation regarding who the teams to watch really are.

While these are just predictions, they provide a bit of insight regarding what to expect in the coming games. After all, it is always nice to know who to watch and what matches to turn on.

Team Russia

Russia as a country has been banned from the Pyeongchang Olympics, but a team of Russians will compete in its place. Even though Team Russia hasn’t taken home the gold medal in men’s ice hockey since way back during the 1988 Olympic games in Calgary, they are one of the favorite teams predicted to win the gold. It has been so long since this country was seen on the metal podium for this sport that the last time they did win, the country was still being called the Soviet Union. However, they did take home the bronze in 2002.

The predictions for this are based on the boost the Russian team is likely to have from the KHL, which is a professional asset the U.S. and Canada don’t have this year, due to the absence of NHL players.

Team Canada

Even though NHL players won’t be taking part in this year’s competition, the Canadians are still a favorite for the Silver medal. Even with the absence of Sidney and Connor, and others, this team is strong — after all, Canada and hockey are synonymous.

Team USA

While no one is predicting that Team USA will walk away with the gold, the fact is, this is the reigning world champions — which says something. Additionally, the team is heading into the Olympics with some pretty rough memories after the horrible loss they suffered four years ago during the Sochi games.

Team Finland and Team Switzerland

Even though some are referring to these teams as long shots, the fact is they have quite a bit of potential due to the handicaps of Team Canada and Team USA having to hit the ice without NHL players.

For those who are interested in what is going to happen this year during the hockey matches, the best way to find out is to tune in. There is no question that there will be some interesting matches thanks to the absence of NHL players.

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