The World Cup of Hockey begins Saturday after a week of exhibition games that made us believe the under-23 team can win gold and that Team Europe is so old and slow you’d think they were more suited for a company softball game.

The eight-team tournament takes place exclusively in Toronto, so that city is guaranteed to see hockey players lift a trophy in victory, which is a nice change of pace for that population.

The format is simple and odd — two groups with four teams and the top two teams from each group advance to the semifinals. There is no quarterfinal round and the championship is a best-of-three. Ideally, the winners of each group would get a bye to the semifinals and the next two teams in each group would play in the quarterfinals, but this limits wear and tear and increases the odds of a US-Canada matchup in the final.

Who will win? Who are the teams to watch? Great questions, so let’s answer them.

Here are the eight teams ranked in order of predicted finish with some tidbits and jokes to make it worth your time when you see your team isn’t as high in the rankings as you would like.

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 13:  An ice resurfacing machine prepares for the upcoming World Cup of Hockey tournament at the Air Canada Centre on September 13, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON – SEPTEMBER 13: An ice resurfacing machine prepares for the upcoming World Cup of Hockey tournament at the Air Canada Centre on September 13, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Eighth Place – Czech Republic (Group A)

Notable stars: Ondrej Palat, Jakub Voracek, Tomas Plekanec

Biggest issue: The blue line is bad. It’s very bad. A case can be made that Roman Polak is the team’s No. 3 defenseman. You may remember him from the Sharks pairing that got torched by the Penguins in the 2016 Stanley Cup Final.

Worst thing about this team: Jaromir Jagr chose not to play. Also, this category is in this preview simply because I wanted to mention Jagr isn’t playing and it makes me sad.

How they can win gold: They can’t. They will play three games and get ready for the NHL season.

https://vine.co/v/55L1lDLehpQ

Seventh Place – Russia (Group B)

Notable stars: Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, come on, you know all the good NHL Russians.

Biggest issue: They are in a loaded group. If they were in Group A, they’d finish second at worst. But the NHL stuck the U.S. team and Canada in Group A with two (alleged) patsies to get them into the semifinals, so someone in Group B is getting screwed.

Worst thing about this team: Two of their three games are in the middle of the day (3 p.m. ET). They play Sweden on Sunday during the heart of a full NFL schedule so people will miss a really good game.

How they can win gold: If every game they play is 5-4. Semyon Varlamov can steal a game in the right conditions but with the defense, he’ll need to be incredible for two weeks.

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 13: A general view of the rink prior to the start of the World Cup of Hockey tournament at the Air Canada Centre on September 13, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON – SEPTEMBER 13: A general view of the rink prior to the start of the World Cup of Hockey tournament at the Air Canada Centre on September 13, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Sixth Place – Finland (Group B)

Notable stars: Tuukka Rask, Aleksander Barkov, Sami Vatanen

Biggest issue: There’s not a lot of speed to go around. Patrik Laine looked great in the pre-tournament games but Finland could use 4-5 more Laines to compete with the speed in their group.

Worst thing about this team: Teemu Selanne retired two years ago but he should still be on this roster. He’s still better than Lauri Korpikoski, right?

How they can win gold: They have just enough talent surrounding an excellent goaltender (assuming it’s Rask and not Pekka Rinne) to win a bunch of 2-1 games. Getting out of the group might be harder than winning a semifinal game.