For many Canadians, anything less than a gold medal in the Olympic men’s hockey event is unacceptable. Four years ago in Turin, the Russians stunned an entire nation when they blanked Canada 2-0, preventing the Canucks from advancing to the semi-finals. The 2010 edition of the Winter Games is nothing less than a chance at redemption for the tournament favourites.

Mike Babcock, a 1987 McGill grad and current coach of the Detroit Red Wings, has the pieces he needs to win Olympic gold. Canada is deepest down the middle, but the defence is also mobile, fixing what management thought was Canada’s Achilles heel in Turin. As always, Canada is backstopped by three world-class goaltenders – headed by the legendary Martin Brodeur.

Athletes to watch: Joe Thornton. Pegged by many as an underachiever in high-stake games, he must play well if he wishes to silence his critics.

Predictions:Gold: CANSilver: SWE Bronze: RUS

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