SOCHI – If its not Canada, it could be the inspired bunch from the host-country. Garrett Cooper Jersey . If its not the Russians, it could be the Swedes, Finns, Czechs or Americans. The gold-medal winner likely will come from this group in Sochi, but forecasting the Olympic champion in the mens hockey tournament has never been easy. Since the participation of NHL players in 1998 there have been three different winners in the Czech Republic, Canada, Sweden and Canada again in four Winter Games. Its a short-term event and things can go wrong in a hurry for the top teams. A hot goaltender can steal a game in the medal round and all of a sudden a favourite is sitting on the sidelines. Just ask Hockey Canada. Were the Canadian teams that won gold in Salt Lake City in 2002 or in Vancouver in 2010 any better than the 1998 group that was stoned time and time again by Dominik Hasek in Nagano? Just ask Sweden about 2002, when goalie Tommy Salo surrendered that fluky late-game winning goal off his bean from 70 feet out off the stick of Belarus defenceman Vladimir Kopat. Who would have thought Switzerland could have pulled off its surprise run to the final at the world championship last spring? Like the sophisticated watches the Swiss are known for, the hockey teams timing was impeccable. It peaked at the perfect moment for wins over the Czech Republic and United States in the quarterfinal and semi-final, respectively, only to lose to Sweden in the finale. So, with all that in mind, what country will give Canada the biggest challenge in its gold-medal defence at the 2014 Winter Games? Here are the odds as of Monday night from bodog.ca. • Canada 19-10 (about 2-1)• Russia 12-5• Sweden 9-2• USA 6-1• Finland 11-1• Czech Republic 12-1 And, if you like to play the long odds: • Switzerland 25-1• Slovakia 33-1• Norway 200-1• Latvia 400-1\• Austria 750-1• Slovenia 1,000-1 Miami Marlins Shirts . -- Sami Salo joked that as the shootout went on and on, one thing went through his mind: "Youve got to tie up your skates. Kevin Brown Jersey . Strasburg (1-1) got 14 consecutive outs in one stretch and allowed only three hits, including Marcell Ozunas homer in the seventh. The right-handers lone walk was to the last batter he faced. Washingtons starter Wednesday, Jordan Zimmermann, left after a career-low 1 2-3 innings, leaving the bullpen "taxed," as manager Matt Williams put it. MINNEAPOLIS -- After a rough first two innings, Nick Tepesch settled down and cruised through another quality outing to help the Texas Rangers stay hot. Tepesch won his second consecutive start, Elvis Andrus and Chris Gimenez each had two RBIs, and the Rangers beat the Minnesota Twins 7-2 on Monday afternoon. Tepesch (2-0) gave up both his runs in the first two innings before lasting 6 2-3. He struck out four to win consecutive starts for the first time in his career. "Thats one of the things that made me successful today, to be able to put the first two innings behind me," Tepesch said. "Treat each inning as a new inning." Alex Rios added two more hits and now has six straight multi-hit games. The Rangers have won three straight and five of six after a rough start to the season. "Early in the season everything didnt go the way we wanted it to," Andrus said. "At the same time, we still trust in each other and we knew theres a lot of baseball left. Everyone is feeling well right now as a team." Trevor Plouffe homered and Eduardo Escobar had two hits and an RBI for the Twins, who have lost four in a row since climbing two games over .500 on May 21. After Kevin Correia (2-6) set down nine straight, Roughned Odor and Shin-Soo Choo lined back-to-back two-out singles in the fifth. Andrus followed with a double to the gap in left-centre that scored both runners and broke a 2-all tie. "Its two-out hits. Thats been the theme this season," Correia said. "That one pitch or two pitches a game, you make that one pitch and its a world of difference." Gimenez made it 6-2 with a two-run double down the line in left in the eighth off reliever Jared Burton and Texas was on its way to another win. "We just got off to a bad start," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "Im so happy that were finally putting it together as a group." Minnesota had its opening day outfield back together for the first time since the first week of the season. Josh Willingham and Oswaldo Arcia were activated from the disabled list after Sundays game and started alongside centre-fielder Aaron Hicks. But the re-enforcements werent enough to overcome Tepesch, whoo didnt allow a runner past second base after the second inning. Alex Arias Jersey. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire knows it might take a few more at-bats before Willingham and Arcia are able to help lift Minnesotas struggling offence. "That can be a huge part of it, driving the baseball and let them get a few at-bats here," Gardenhire said. "It takes a little time, a little different pitching up here than down there." Tepesch dominated Triple-A Round Rock after getting demoted in spring training and has a 2.95 ERA in three big-league starts since being recalled May 14. "Hes shown these three starts what hes capable of doing," Washington said. "But you cant hang your hat on a couple of outings. If hes around here healthy, hes going to get many outings. I just want him to be consistent." Hicks, a career switch-hitter, informed manager Ron Gardenhire before the game that he has decided to only hit from the right side. The struggling prospect is hitting .250 right-handed compared to .149 from the left side. He had two singles Monday. Two replay reviews went against the Twins. Arcia slided into third after a botched play in the outfield in the first, but a review showed third-baseman Adrian Beltre tagging him before his foot reached the base. Gardenhire challenged an out call at first on Willinghams dribbler down the line in the sixth, but the call stood. NOTES: Hicks told Gardenhire before the game he had no confidence swinging from the left side. "He came to me this morning and said he wants to hit right-handed. So, obviously, when a guy has no confidence left-handed, you gotta do what you gotta do," Gardenhire said. ... This was Ron Washingtons 1,186th game as Rangers manager, tied with Bobby Valentine for most in franchise history. ... Texas P Tanner Scheppers, out since April 18 with elbow inflammation, had his first rehab outing on Saturday with Double-A Frisco and will make three more with Triple-A Round Rock before being eligible to return on June 3. ... Choo hopes to return to left field on Tuesday after DHing the last two games with a sore left ankle. ... Phil Hughes (5-1, 3.15 ERA) will try for his fifth consecutive win on Tuesday against the Rangers Yu Darvish (4-2, 2.35). ' ' '