One of the main hockey claimants for the victory in the Winter Olympics is the Swedish team. The strongest forward and the captain of Tre Kronor, Mats Sundin, believes that all six leading teams have good shots to win medals at the Olympics in Salt Lake City. However, as he said, “if ask me to name one of them, I would say it is the Swedish team.”
This is not for nothing. The goalkeepers of all the teams are afraid of Sundin. As SPORT Segodnya Internet publication reported, Sundin is playing with a new hockey stick this year. This stick is rather unusual: it is made not of wood or aluminium, but of graphite. Sundin’s strength and precision of his hits have increased considerably. Furthermore, the captain of the Swedish team has changed his style of hockey recently. Sundin was called a gentleman before, but now his game has become tough and brutal, taking account of his height: 193 centimeters and 100 kilos for his weight.
Herb Brooks, the coach of the American team, believes that the Russian team is the major rival at the Olympic Games. Brooks added that the Americans were going to exercise their ambitions.
The coach of the Russian team, Vyacheslav Fetisov, has managed to gather really a powerful team of the strongest players who have the psychology of winners. As Fetisov said at one of the press-conferences, all the players were eager to protect the honor of their country in Salt Lake City.
However, it was not possible to gather the ideal Russian team. Fifteen or seventeen men will show up for the first and the only training session. This is the same position that other strongest hockey teams are in currently. Therefore, there will be no excuses accepted in case of the defeat, and Fetisov is aware of this. The main thing that our guys have to do now is to avoid a common mistake: the excessive belief in their own power and strength, and they should not underestimate the rivals either. Then, the gold medals may become real, and we will see Sweden and Russia in the final match.
In addition, these are only forecasts. Noone can tell you for sure who the winner will be. The team of Belarus is showing big surprises now. The Belarussian team won yesterday’s match with the French (3:1), earning the right to play in the major tournament of the Olympics. There were four points possible to take, and the Belarussian guys gained them all. They defeated the Ukrainian team before (1:0), so now they may deal with the Russian, American, and Finnish teams. The President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, is likely to come to support his team. The real struggle will take place on February 20.
The strong team of Slovakia is out of the Olympic Games, having one point only. The Slovakian team lost to the Austrian team (2:3) started a fight on the ice, in spite of the fact they should have blamed themselves only, or maybe the fortune that had turned away from them. However, the Slovakians claimed that they had lost because of the ineffective format of the hockey tournament, which did not allow all NHL members to take part in the contests.
Sergey Yugov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov