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Sochi 2014 Men’s Ice Hockey: New Odds Make Team Canada Favorite

Months ago, when odds were released for the Sochi 2014 men’s hockey tournament, Team Canada and Russia were listed as co-favorites. Now, with the competition’s opening puck drop looming, Team Canada is alone at the top of the odds board.

Canada is set as a +109 favorite at Sports Interaction, with Russia pegged at +234. Sweden sits third on the odds board at +518 followed by Team USA (+692 ) and Finland at (+1400)

It was a who’s-who of NHL talent at the Sochi airport Monday as players landed and made their way through customs. From there Team Canada didn’t waste any time getting to work.

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Coach Mike Babcock held a practice not long after his squad touched down in Sochi, giving media a first look at possible line matchups. Jeff Carter lineup up on Sidney Crosby’s right wing, while Chris Kunitz slotted into his familiar spot on the captain’s left. Whether Carter stays there is anyone’s guess but Babcock made it very clear of what he expected of Carter in that spot.

“Carter shoots the puck in L.A,” Babcock told reporters. “If he passes the puck back to Sid, he can’t play with him.”

Crosby is set at +346 to lead the tournament in scoring. In the other lines, Jonathan Toews centred Patrick Sharp and Rich Nash, while Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry saw time with both Patrick Marleau and John Tavares. Tavares also saw time in the middle between Jamie Benn and Patrice Bergeron, in what might be a phenomenal fourth line. Martin St. Louis worked his way through all lines and it appears as though Matt Duchene will begin the tournament in the press box.

On defence, Duncan Keith and Shea Weber will log a ton of ice time. Other pairings included Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Drew Doughty, Jay Bouwmeester and Alex Pietrangelo. PK Subban or Dan Hamhuis will start as the squad’s seventh defenceman.

Team Canada opens the tournament Thursday as a -1,000,000 favorite against Norway. Canada -4.5 goals is more reasonable at -164.

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