Hockey fans can watch the Team Canada vs. Czech Republic game live online and see if the prohibitive favorite can kick off the World Cup of Hockey with a win.
The teams will start the action at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday, with the broadcast on ESPNNEWS and also available online for those unable to make it to a television (a link to the streaming video can be found below).
— The Boston Globe (@BostonGlobe) September 15, 2016
Entering into the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, Team Canada is the far-and-away favorite to win it all, a squad that won gold medals at the Vancouver and Sochi Olympics and are led by a stable of young, but still-seasoned NHL stars, including Drew Doughty.
“We’re all confident players,” Doughty told the Globe and Mail. “When you look around the room, you see how good of a team we really do have. You have no choice but to be confident in this team.
“We could make two teams and probably be successful,” he later added.
For the Czech Republic, Saturday’s opening match will represent quite a challenge. Once a force in international play with Dominik Hasek in net, the team has fallen off in more recent tournaments. As the Globe and Mail noted, it has now been close to 20 years since the last time a Czech team beat Team Canada.
“You know what, it was a long time ago,” said defenseman Roman Polak. “The hockey’s changed so much. We have to be focused on this team. We know they’re going to have a great team.”
In my Thursday piece, what does the World Cup of Hockey mean for the future of Olympic participation? https://t.co/43O3UDeVm5
— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) September 15, 2016
Fans who watch the Team Canada vs. Czech Republic hockey game live online will see if the Canadian team can translate its Olympic success to a tournament that will look and feel very different. Though Team Canada plowed through opponents in Sochi, this tournament will be smaller — in more ways than one. Gone are the more spacious international rinks, meaning a more physical style of play is needed. And the tournament itself is smaller, meaning there are no easy wins.
And there’s no taking it easy for Team Canada, coach Mike Babcock said.
“When you’re one of the better countries in hockey, the preliminary round at the Olympics and world championships is like exhibition,” he said.
Team Canada enters the game with a bit of momentum, having won two of its three pre-tournament games, but will be facing a bit of adversity on Saturday. Forward Tyler Seguin is out for at least the next week after suffering an injury, with the team having already lost Jamie Benn, Jeff Carter, and Duncan Keith as well.
But as SportsNet noted, the deep Team Canada is ready to plug in replacements.
“Both Benn and Seguin finished last season among the NHL scoring leaders. However, O’Reilly impressed in his first season in Buffalo, netting 60 points, while Couture played some of the best hockey of his career last spring, scoring 30 playoff points for the Sharks.”
Fans who watch the Team Canada vs. Czech Republic hockey game live online could see the beginning of a difficult path for Team Canada. Beyond their expected win on Saturday, the team could have a tough time winning their Group A which also includes the upset-minded United States, looking to avenge losses in Vancouver and Sochi.
Those who want to watch the Team Canada vs. Czech Republic hockey match live online can click here for streaming video through the WatchESPN site.
[Featured Image by Gene J. Puskar/AP Images]