Will Team USA 'handily' beat Russia?

Will Team USA 'handily' beat Russia?
February 14, 2014, 9:00 pm
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CSN Staff

The Russian hockey team might have more pressure on it than any athlete or group of athletes at the Olympics in Sochi.

Some have said that if the men's hockey team wins gold, nothing else will matter to Russia. Same if they don't.

So when Team U.S.A. and Russia clash Saturday morning, who will have the edge?

If you ask the SportsTalk Live panel, it seems to be Team U.S.A. By a lot.

[MORE: Just how good is Team USA's goaltending?]

"I don't think Russia's really as good as everyone thinks they are anymore," Adam Jahns of the Sun-Times said on the Friday edition of SportsTalk Live. "Maybe four years ago they were a real threat and kind of flailed out in Vancouver. Yeah, they have a lot of pressure on them, but their roster is not loaded like Canada's was in Vancouver. They've got some KHL guys — and Ilya Kovalchuk is one of them, and he could play in the league if he still wanted to. They're really not that good, I've just got to be honest. Their goaltending's questionable. You've got (Pavel) Datsyuk, who's banged-up a little bit at the moment. You've got (Alex) Ovechkin and (Evgeni) Malkin who are at the top of their game, and everybody else is a question mark. I think the U.S. is going to win, maybe even handily. The U.S. is just a deeper, better-built team."

CSN's David Kaplan predicts a 5-2 win for the U.S., but Frankie O cautioned against over-confidence given the Russians' playing on home ice.

"I wouldn't discount the home-court advantage," he said. "With that kind of pressure, maybe Ovechkin steps up.

"Stuff does happen, miracles do happen."