The United States and Canada are so dominant in women’s hockey that the format for the tournament at the Winter Olympics was changed so that other countries would be blown out less often.
Instead of splitting up the United States and Canada into different preliminary groups, they are now in the same group with an automatic bye into the knockout stage (via Puck Daddy).
During the preliminary round of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada won their three games by scores of 18-0, 10-1, and 13-1. The United States won their three preliminary games by scores of 12-1, 13-0, and 6-0.
Now the U.S. and Canada will have to play each other along with the third and fourth best teams in the tournament, Finland and Switzerland.
The catch is that all four teams will advance to the knockout stage. The only thing on the line in the preliminary stage for this group is seeding, with the top two teams receiving byes into the semifinal round.
The four bottom teams in the tournament (Germany, Japan, Russia, Sweden) have been grouped together with only the top two teams advancing to the knockout stage.
Assuming there are no upsets in the tournament, none of the bottom four teams will have to face Canada or the United States as two will be knocked out in the group stage and presumably the other two will lose to Finland and Switzerland in the quarterfinals.
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