We almost certainly never will see any of those countries win an Olympics or a World Cup on their own. But when you combined all these second-tier nations in one hockey power under the banner of Team Europe, and we just might see just that.
Okay, so no one thinks Team Europe can beat the juggernaut Team Canada. But no one thought Team Europe would win a game in the World Cup of Hockey 2016. No one thought they'd make the medal round. No one certainly ever expected them to make the final.
But here they are. So why can't they beat Team Canada, too?
There are two things that make them dangerous to Canada.
First, every single player on Team Europe knows they will never have another chance to win a best-on-best championship. This is as close as they will ever get to an Olympic gold medal. So they will be ready to do whatever it takes.
Second, coach Ralph Kreuger knows everything there is to know about Team Canada. He was a special adviser for Team Canada at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. He knows what the coaching staff is thinking. And now that he is finally getting recognized as a top hockey coach in his own right, we know he will come up with something to counteract Canada's plans.
Team Europe has been a great story so far. But is there another chapter to be written? Don't count on it.
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