5 Reasons Why Hockey Gold Medal Isn’t Realistic for Team USA at 2014 Winter Olympics

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5 Reasons Why Team USA Won't Win Gold Medal

James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

The 2014 Winter Olympics are approaching quickly, and with some of the top players in the world entering the tournament, many countries have serious gold medal aspirations at Sochi.

The U.S. National Hockey Team surely put together a strong team, and they should be able to make some noise. But their gold-medal expectations should be controlled before the start of the tournament.

There’s little doubt that the U.S. have some of the best players that will take part in the competition, and they will be a threat for any opponent. They should be in the hunt to get a medal once everything is said and done, but it seems highly unlikely that they will take the Gold Medal home.

The team has too many question marks – mostly off the ice in terms of the health and chemistry of the team – to be considered the top contender to take home the Gold, and some glaring omissions could also end up hurting the team in the long-run.

Make no mistake, the United States still have a strong team and going back home without a medal can easily be considered a disappointing performance, but it’s hard to see them taking home the trophy and the gold medal. That's especially true considering the talent that some other teams will present at Sochi and the overall difficulty of the competition.

Without further ado, these are the main five reasons why the gold medal expectations aren’t realistic for the U.S. Hockey Team at the Sochi Winter Olympics.

Juan Pablo Aravena is a sports writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @jparavenarant or add him to your network on Google

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5. Lack Of Checking Players

Geoff Burke – USA TODAY Sports

There’s no doubt that the U.S. Team has lots of good players on the offensive side of the puck, but there aren’t enough strong players to check against the other teams’ top lines effectively. That could spell trouble when playing against talented, quick forward lines like Russia, Canada or Sweden.

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4. Team Canada

Tim Fuller – USA TODAY Sports

Team Canada is actually one of the reasons why Team USA isn’t likely to win a Gold Medal. The Canadians have arguably the best team in the tournament, and if the U.S. has to match up against them they aren’t likely to go through.

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3. Team Sweden

Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Much like Team Canada, Team Sweden could also be a troubling rival for the States in the latter rounds of the competition. The majority of their players feature regularly in the NHL, and they have enough physicality, experience and ability to knock down the U.S.

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2. Several Injuries

Andrew Weber – USA TODAY Sports

Several players on the roster - like Jimmy Howard, Jonathan Quick and Zach Parise - have battled through injuries this season, and some of them are quite banged up right now. In order to play at their full strength, Team USA needs to be healthy, and that’s something that is looking unlikely at the moment.

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1. Notable Absences On Roster

Winslow Townson - USA TODAY Sports

Dustin Byfuglien, Bobby Ryan, Kyle Okposo and Corey Schneider are only a few of the players that didn’t make the roster. While that shows the depth on the team, some of them could be needed at Sochi. The experience of Ryan and the toughness of guys like Byfuglien and Okposo will be missed at the tournament, and their absence could mean falling just short of a gold medal for the U.S.