Turin was the setting as ice hockey showcased its elite athletes once again after hard negotiating between the various parties the IIHF, the NHL and the NHLPA. The simplified tournament structure had two groups of six games playing a round-robin format within the group. The top four teams from each group would advance to the Playoff Round. The only major surprise from this portion of games came when Switzerland defeated Canada 2 0 and wound up ahead of Canada in second place in Group A.
As always, the quarter-finals proved to be nerve-wracking for the fans as well as the teams. A loss in this part of the tournament sends you home, whereas a winning team is guaranteed two more games and a chance at an Olympic medal. Switzerland drew the Swedes as competitors, couldnt drum up any more Swiss upsets. The Czechs continued its hockey supremacy over its rival Slovakia while Finland eliminated Team USA. Defending Olympic champion Team Canada never really were able to raise its game to the level required lost to Russia, ending hopes for back to back Olympic honour. If it wasnt clear before the playoffs, it certainly was by the time the semi-final games took place, Finland and Sweden were the class of the event. The Finns easily disposed of Russia and in the process, earned their fifth shutout through seven games. Earlier in the day, the Swedes pounded the Czechs scoring seven goals to set up the classic Nordic final for gold.
Sweden was seeking its second ever Olympic gold medal and was led by the man who clinched its first Peter Forsberg with that memorable shoot-out goal in 1994 over Canada. Finland countered with legend Teemu Selanne, who was a dominant player during the entire event. His will to win was evident in his demeanour as well as on the score sheet. Going into the final, many predicted the margin between winning and losing would be small. As the third period began, the two teams were deadlocked at two, but the decisive goal came early and emphatically. Forsberg and Mats Sundin controlled the opening face-off, attacking the Finnish zone, ultimately dropping a pass back to Nicklas Lidstrom who scored the gold-medal worthy goal to claim the title.
Swedish rearguard Kenny Jonsson was selected as the Best Defenseman by the IIHF Directorate. There was bitter disappoint in the other dressing room, as Finland failed in its bid to win its first Olympic gold medal. Selanne did however, claimed Best Forward honours and goaltender Antero Niittymaki was certainly the deserving recipient of the Best Goalkeeper Award. He also was named the MVP of the tournament.