The 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi are right around the corner and the Detroit Red Wings will be sending 10 players to compete for their respective countries.
Following the conclusion of the Winter Classic, it was announced that Red Wings’ goaltender Jimmy Howard will be a part of the United States’ final roster. Unfortunately, Howard will be listed as the emergency goalie. Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings will get the starting nod and Buffalo Sabres’ Ryan Miller will be the primary backup.
Even though Quick has experienced some struggles over the past few regular seasons, he has been a playoff-stud for the Kings. Quick was awarded with the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Kings’ most valuable player in the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs. Regardless of his previous successes, the coaching staff may have a short leash with him since Miller was dominating between the pipes for the 2010 silver-medal team. Even though winning the silver medal will always be noticed as a great accomplishment, the U.S. team has waited four years to avenge their overtime-loss to Canada.
Team Sweden features six Red Wings, three of which were members of the 2006 gold-medal team; captain Henrik Zetterberg, Daniel Alfredsson, and Niklas Kronwall. These Olympic veterans will be accompanied by Johan Franzen and Jonas Gustavsson, who were members of the 2010 team, as well as first-timer Jonathan Ericsson.
Tomas Tatar and Tomas Jurco will play for the Slovakian team; a team that surprised many by their fourth-place finish in Vancouver. Tatar and Jurco will be playing alongside some of the best talent that the NHL has to offer, such as; Marian Gaborik, Marian Hossa, and Zdeno Chara. Not only will this provide the Wings’ youngsters with great experience, they may just learn some things from their countrymen along the way.
Pavel Datsyuk will captain the Russian team, playing in front of his native country. Team Russia has the capability to be an offensive juggernaut in this tournament. Evgeni Malkin, Alexander Ovechkin, and Ilya Kovalchuk will look to lead their team to bring home gold as the host nation.
As they look to defend their gold medal from the 2010 Vancouver Games, the Canadians will be led by Wings’ head coach Mike Babcock. Heading into these Olympics, it is no surprise that Canada will be viewed as the clear-cut favorite to claim gold once again but the competition will be tougher than most anticipate.
Hockey is the most exciting Olympic team sport to watch and it would be fantastic to see multiple Red Wings’ players win medals, just as long as everybody remains healthy.
Here is what the preliminary round will look like:
Group A: Russia, Slovenia, Slovakia, United States
February 13. Russia v. Slovenia and Slovakia v. United States
February 15. Slovakia v. Slovenia and United States v. Russia
February 16. Russia v. Slovakia and Slovenia v. United States
Group B: Austria, Canada, Finland, Norway
February 13. Finland v. Austria and Canada v. Norway
February 14. Canada v. Austria and Norway v. Finland
February 16. Austria v. Norway and Finland v. Canada
Group C: Czech Republic, Latvia, Sweden, Switzerland
February 12. Czech Republic v. Sweden and Latvia v. Switzerland
February 14. Czech Republic v. Latvia and Sweden v. Switzerland
February 15. Switzerland v. Czech Republic and Sweden v. Latvia
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