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The Russell Report: Preds At The Olympics

Friday, 07.19.2013 / 3:32 PM
By Jimi Russell - Nashville Predators / The Russell Report

On Friday morning, the NHL and NHLPA announced they will allow the participation of NHL players in the upcoming 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. With the agreement, NHL players from the 12 participating IIHF Member Nations will be available for the men's Olympic Ice Hockey Tournament (February 12-23, 2014).

The 2014 Sochi games mark the fifth consecutive time dating back to Nagano 1998 that NHL players have participated in the Olympics. More than 120 NHL players are expected to compete for their respective nations in Sochi.

After six Preds took the ice for the 2010 Vancouver Games, we take a look at the current Preds who may don their country’s colors in February.

Patric Hornqvist
Sweden

Hornqvist has donned Tre Kronor six times in his career, including the 2010 Olympics, three World Championships, one World Juniors and one World Under-18 Championships.

In his most recent stint with home country at the 2012 World Championships, the Sollentuna, Sweden native was held scoreless in three outings. At the 2010 Winter Games, Hornqvist tallied one goal for Sweden on a play set up by his childhood idol and former Pred, Peter Forsberg.

In 32 international games since 2006-07, Hornqivst has recorded nine goals and six assists for the Swedes. He led Sweden and tied for second overall with six goals at the 2008 World Championships.

Some may consider Hornqvist to be an outside chance for Sochi, but with his ability to stir-up trouble in front of the net, the Swedes would be mistaken to leave him at home in February.

Roman Josi
Switzerland

At the 2013 World Championships, Josi lead all defenseman in scoring with nine points (4g-5a) in 10 games. His performance earned him tournament Most Valuable Player honors, Best Defenseman and a 2013 World Championship All Star team nomination. The Bern, Switzerland native also became the first Swiss player to earn MVP honors at an IIHF tournament.

While Josi was held out of the 2010 Vancouver Games due to injury, he has taken to the ice for Switzerland in several international competitions since the 2007 World Junior Championships. Since being draft by Nashville in the third round of the 2008 Entry Draft, Josi has posted 27 points (10g-17a) in 47 games for the Swiss.

Coming off the best performance by a Swiss player in an international tournament, Josi is a lock for Sochi as the Swiss look to build off this summer’s success.

Pekka Rinne
Finland

Rinne hasn’t joined Finland in international competition since the 2010 World Championships when he backstopped Suomi to a 2-2-0 record, with a 1.68 goals-against average and a .929 save percentage. In 2009, Rinne posted a 4-2-0 record, with a 1.93 goals-against average and a .926 save percentage for Finland.

The Finns may field the best crop of goalies at the Sochi games and competition will be tight with emergence of San Jose’s Antti Niemi and Boston’s Tuukka Rask, but Rinne has proven that he can handle the travel and workload required of an Olympic goaltender.

Shea Weber
Canada

Weber and Canada claimed Gold at the 2010 games after defeating the U.S. in overtime, and the Canadians will once again be the favorites heading into Sochi.

The 2010 Games were the last time Weber donned the Maple Leaf, where he was named to the tournament’s All-Star Team after tying for second among blueliners in points (2g-4a). One of the memorable moments from Weber’s 2010 Olympics came when he put a shot through the net against the Germans in preliminary round play.

Prior to the 2010 Olympics, the Sicamous, B.C., native played in both the 2007 and 2009 World Championships and the 2005 World Juniors. At the 2009 World Championships, Weber earned a silver medal and was named the tournament’s best defenseman after posting 12 points (4g-8a) in nine games. In 28 international games for the Canadians, Weber has tallied 20 points (7g-13a).

Nashville’s captain should be regarded as one of Canada’s best defenseman heading into the Sochi games. Look for him to form the Canadian’s top D-pairing in February alongside the likes of Chicago’s Duncan Keith or Los Angeles’ Drew Doughty.

Preds with a chance:

United States: Seth Jones, Craig Smith and Colin Wilson

Sweden: Filip Forsberg and Viktor Stalberg

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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
S. Weber 79 23 33 -2 56
P. Hornqvist 76 22 31 1 53
C. Smith 79 24 28 16 52
M. Fisher 75 20 29 -4 49
R. Josi 72 13 27 -2 40
M. Cullen 77 10 29 4 39
C. Wilson 81 11 22 -1 33
N. Spaling 71 13 19 2 32
R. Ellis 80 6 21 9 27
G. Bourque 74 9 17 -5 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Hutton 20 11 4 .910 2.62
D. Dubnyk 11 18 3 .891 3.43

 
 

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