Four excellent games to watch today and tonight:
3pm - NBC: U.S.A. vs. Switzerland
I'd intended to pick Switzerland for an upset here, but they really looked inconsistent last night against Belarus. Jonas Hiller's been shaky in this tournament, as opposed to Ryan Miller, who's been a wall. These teams met in the group stages with the US eking out a 3-1 win. This should be quite similar. 4-1, USA.
7:30pm - CNBC: Canada vs. Russia
Two juggernauts meeting here. Russia is ranked #1 in the world by the IIHF, and Canada is #2. Oh, and it's also Ovechkin vs. Crosby. But it's also teammates Malkin vs. Crosby. This is more of an All-Star Game than the US/Canada match on Sunday. 7 of the top 10 NHL goal scorers will be on the ice.
I think Canada is a bit too excited. They've got more than enough talent, but they don't seem to be clicking as a team. Top to bottom, Canada is deeper. But the Russians have some lights out studs on their side. I think Nobokov stands on his head, Ovechkin overwhelms, and Datsyuk dazzles. Russia 5, Canada 3
10pm - CNBC: Czech Republic vs. Finland
Not as exciting as the Canadians and Russians, but still a game to watch. The Czechs struggled against Latvia, and haven't done much this tournament except beat the Slovakians. Finland is focused, primed, and good enough to master the Czechs. Finland 4, Czech Republic 2.
12am - CNBC: Slovakia vs. Sweden
For some reason, the Swedes have always been the superlate game. But remember, they had a perfect Group round, just like the US. Slovakia struggled against Norway. And even though the Swedes and Norwegians are geographical neighbors, they're not even on the same planet when it comes to hockey. Sweden rolls 5-1.
If my predictions come true, the semi-finals will be USA vs. Finland, and Sweden vs. Russia. Now who was in the final four of the 1980 Olympics? USA, Russia, Sweden, and Finland.