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NHL Players to Take Part in 2014 Olympics

Friday, 07.19.2013 / 1:34 PM / News
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NHL Players to Take Part in 2014 Olympics
The NHL announced Friday that the League will pause the 2013-14 regular-season schedule for roughly two weeks in February.

Canadian superstar Sidney Crosby again should be among a legion of NHL players with the chance to become the next Olympic hero.

The NHL announced Friday that the League will pause the 2013-14 regular-season schedule for roughly two weeks in February so the League's players can participate in the 2014 Winter Olympics, to be held in Sochi, Russia. The decision to once again send NHL players to the Olympics was a joint agreement between the League and the National Hockey League Players' Association.

The dozen nations competing for gold in Sochi are Russia, Slovakia, the United States, Slovenia, Finland, Canada, Norway, Austria, Czech Republic, Sweden, Switzerland and Latvia. NHL players should have a presence on each of the 12 teams.

Slovenia is participating in its first Olympic men's hockey tournament after failing to qualify for the past six. Austria is back in the tournament for the first time since 2002, while Belarus and Germany, which took part in the 20110 tournament, did not qualify for the 2014 event.

For Crosby and Canada, it will be an opportunity to become the first country since the Soviet Union in 1988 to repeat as Olympic champion. The Unified Team, which comprised Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Uzbekistan and Armenia, also won gold in 1992.

Group A Group B Group C
Russia Austria Czech Republic
Slovenia Canada Latvia
Slovakia Finland Switzerland
United States Norway Sweden

Crosby's golden goal came Feb. 28, 2010, when he sent a low shot from the bottom of the left circle through the legs of USA goalie Ryan Miller of the Buffalo Sabres for the overtime winner in the gold-medal game in Vancouver. The goal gave Canada its second gold medal since the NHL started sending players to the Olympics in 1998.

In that game, American left wing Zach Parise, who now plays for the Minnesota Wild, scored his memorable game-tying goal with 24.4 seconds left in regulation, but Crosby topped the dramatics and capped Canada's Olympics with his goal.

The United States has been on the wrong end of each of Canada's gold-medal wins during the NHL era, also losing the championship game in 2002 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Americans haven't won Olympic gold since 1980, the iconic "Miracle on Ice" win in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Russia is hoping to recapture its gold-medal glory in Sochi, the first Russian city to host the Winter Olympics. Russia won the silver medal in 1998 and the bronze in 2002.

Finland leads all nations with three medals since NHL players started attending the Games in 1998, winning bronze that year and in 2010, as well as silver in 2006.

Dominik Hasek led the Czech Republic to the first Olympic gold that featured NHL players, in 1998 in Nagano, Japan. Hasek was perfect in a 1-0 win against Russia in the gold-medal game.

Four years later, in Salt Lake City, the Canadians celebrated their first Olympic gold medal in men's ice hockey in 50 years. With a Canadian loonie frozen into center ice, Canada beat the United States 5-2. Joe Sakic, now a front-office executive for the Colorado Avalanche, and Jarome Iginla, who recently signed with the Boston Bruins, scored two goals apiece in the victory.

Sweden won gold in 2006, beating Finland 3-2 in Turin, Italy, behind 25 saves from New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Pavelski 82 41 38 23 79
J. Thornton 82 11 65 20 76
P. Marleau 82 33 37 0 70
L. Couture 65 23 31 21 54
B. Burns 69 22 26 26 48
T. Wingels 77 16 22 11 38
D. Boyle 75 12 24 -8 36
J. Demers 75 5 29 14 34
T. Hertl 37 15 10 11 25
M. Nieto 66 10 14 -4 24
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Stalock 12 5 2 .932 1.87
A. Niemi 39 17 7 .913 2.39
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