NHL Players to Take Part in 2014 Olympics

Friday, 07.19.2013 / 10:34 AM PT / 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.

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STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 51 24 7 228 221 109
2 y - STL 82 51 24 7 239 197 109
3 x - NSH 82 47 25 10 226 202 104
4 x - CHI 82 48 28 6 220 186 102
5 x - VAN 82 48 29 5 236 220 101
6 x - MIN 82 46 28 8 227 198 100
7 x - WPG 82 43 26 13 223 204 99
8 x - CGY 82 45 30 7 237 213 97
9 LAK 82 40 27 15 218 197 95
10 DAL 82 41 31 10 257 257 92
11 COL 82 39 31 12 209 223 90
12 SJS 82 40 33 9 224 226 89
13 EDM 82 24 44 14 193 276 62
14 ARI 82 24 50 8 165 267 56

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Pavelski 82 37 33 12 70
L. Couture 82 27 40 -6 67
J. Thornton 78 16 49 -4 65
B. Burns 82 17 43 -9 60
P. Marleau 82 19 38 -17 57
T. Wingels 75 15 21 -7 36
T. Hertl 82 13 18 -5 31
M. Nieto 72 10 17 -12 27
M. Karlsson 53 13 11 -3 24
M. Vlasic 70 9 14 12 23
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Niemi 31 23 7 .914 2.59
A. Stalock 8 9 2 .902 2.62
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