This season the Nashville Predators players will compete for the Stanley Cup as always, but there is also a second prize within reach, an Olympic medal. Some of players on Nashville’s roster will have the honor of playing for their Country in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia
United States of America: Seth Jones, Craig Smith
Frankly the United States is unlikely to place Jones,or Smith on the final roster. Both players are still developing and growing.
That being said don’t be surprised if Jones makes the Olympic roster in 2018. David Poile is Team USA’s general manager this year and that is probably the sole reason Jones and Smith were invited to the United State’s camp in the first place. It is interesting that Colin Wilson and David Legwand were not invited to take part in the camp, especially after Wilson’s strong campaign last year (despite being cut short due to injury)
Canada: Shea Weber
Weber is a lock to make the roster.
In 2010 Canada won hockey gold and Weber was named an Olympic All-Star. It helps when you score a goal by shooting the puck through the net.
Sweden: Patric Hornqvist
Hornqvist played in 4 games in the 2010 Winter Olympics. The 26-year-old power-forward may be looking for redemption in 2014 and almost certainly will suit up for team Sweden. Look for him to have a strong performance in Sochi.
Finland: Pekka Rinne, Joonas Jarvinen (Milwaukee Admirals)
Rinne is looking to make the roster after being left off in 2010. Making the cut shouldn’t be much of a challenge this time, but the bigger question is if he will be Finland’s No. 1 netminder. Antti Niemi (San José Sharks) and Niklas Backstrom (Minnesota Wild) will also be making a strong push for the starter’s role.
Jarvlen is 26 years old, and has yet to play for the Predators. It is unlikely that he will play in the Olympics.
Russia: Alexander Radulov
Alexander Radulov was also invited to participate in his country’s Olympic training camp. Radulov is no longer on the Preds active roster, technically, since he is playing in the KHL. But he is still considered one of Nashville’s prospects, who on July 2, 2012, Radulov signed a four-year contract with CSKA of the Kontinental Hockey League for $9.2 million per year.
Bottom line: I will always cheer for Unites States in hockey. But there is also part of me that wants to see every Predators player succeed in the Olympics. And if you can’t bring yourself to cheer for a country other than your own, at least cross your fingers and hope no one gets hurt in Sochi.
The hockey part of the Winter Olympics will start on February 12th. Hockey Schedule