it's here again, woohoo! I thought I'd start a thread here instead of polluting the other forums, as there's no chance I can keep my mouth shut about it anyway.
canada - belarus, 6-1. not unexpected, but belarus was really much better than the numbers show. it wasn't until the 3rd period until canada looked like I was expecting it to look. but especially in the 2nd belarus was very sharp, three periods like that and it could've surprised any team. maybe it's still not on par with the rest of them, but it definitely can throw a wrench into it against anyone. it's not a punching bag anymore.
another very interesting underdog team is switzerland. every time a country hosts a world championships, it surpasses its 'normal' level by a large margin. I don't know if it's the greater audience, the more focused preparation for home tournaments, but it's something and it never fails. I expect switzerland to be surprisingly tough. in addition to how they've been better and better every year the last decade.
my initial fairly random and 100% biased but infallible prediction for the final standings this year is:
take that, moose lovers!