Canada Finds Itself in an Unusual Role: A Hockey Underdog

That honor goes to the Russians, or the “Olympic Athletes From Russia,” as they are being called during Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Although they have been notorious underperformers at recent Olympic tournaments, they are the most skilled team, with the former N.H.L. stars Ilya Kovalchuk and Pavel Datsyuk.

The Canadian team, on the other hand, is made up of long shots. Forward Eric O’Dell, 27, who plays with HC Sochi in the K.H.L., was considered the longest shot.

In 2010, he was having heart palpitations, and doctors discovered he had a small hole in his heart, which had been there since birth. O’Dell underwent surgery and spent six months on the sidelines recovering.

When he showed up for a training camp in August, nobody thought he had a chance. The coaches…

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