When attempting to predict the winner of the men's ice hockey tournament, Canada and Russia were two of the most popular picks to take home gold, and for good reason: on paper, they're the two most talented teams taking part.
Now that the knockout round is set to begin on Tuesday, we know one thing is certain: not only will one of these teams fail to win gold, one of them will not win a medal of any kind and will finish no higher than fifth place.
Assuming Canada gets past Germany on Tuesday, it will set up an epic battle of the titans in the quarterfinal round as the two hockey powers would face off with a trip to the semifinals on the line. Russia, of course, has an automatic bye into the quarterfinals because it won Group B and finished as the No. 3 seed. It awaits the winner of the Canada vs. Germany game.
With a Canada vs. Russia quarterfinal looming, it guarantees that one of them will be going home empty-handed, which is a shocking development given the talent on these two teams. Together, they boast the last three NHL scoring champions, the three most recent MVP winners, all three of last year's MVP finalists, two of the past three Conn Smythe winners, and a boatload of current All-Stars and future Hall of Famers.
If this game takes place (and, let's face it, it should), it has the potential to be the best of the tournament given the on-ice talent, the long-standing rivalry between the two nations and what would be at stake.