Say what you will about the women's game -- no one will deny that it's slower and less physical than men's hockey -- but it isn't short on skill or dramatics. There may not be outright checking, but that doesn't negate all physicality, and if anything, it opens the ice to show off the growing supply of finesse and sharp shooting.
Seldom does the opening act live up to a headliner, but the women's hockey tournament could be just as enthralling, if not more so, than the men's tourney. When there are two teams as dominant as the U.S. and Canada, it essentially sets up a win-win situation. Think of it as
If Canada and the U.S. don't meet in the gold medal game, a monumental upset will have had to happen along the way. And well, if they do, everyone is assured a fantastic match. With all their shared history -- 12 World Championship finals and two Olympic gold medal games -- Canada and the U.S. have cultivated a healthy rivalry that plays out in each of their meetings.
And though the U.S. has faltered a bit in the lead-up to the Vancouver Games -- losing six meetings against Canada -- U.S. defenseman
The U.S. boasts plenty of firepower up front, with four-time Olympian
If you're already sick of the USA-Canada overkill, take a look at the potential battle for bronze. Again, barring an unforeseen upset, Finland and Sweden should compete for a place on the podium, and you can expect a battle between the pipes. Sweden's
Team USA coach