Montreal Canadians have been well represented at previous Winter Olympics. Let’s look back at how they performed. The Montreal Canadians are on the sidelines right now waiting for the NHL and the NHLPA to formalize a plan for the sport’s return to play. While rumors and tidbits continue to trickle out, we get an idea of what their plan is to bring hockey back, but nothing will be official until they sign an agreement.
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One of the intriguing rumors that have been widely speculated in the past few days has been a potential return to the Olympic Games for NHL players. We first saw the world’s best hockey players at the Winter Olympics in 1998, but 20 years later, the league and its players couldn’t agree so the 2018 Games were played without NHLers.
So, we had five events where the world’s best players played on the world’s biggest stage to compete for their country. Then, we had former NHLers who play pro in Berlin and Riga take on a pretty stacked Russian team full of KHL players. Russia predictably won gold at that time, with Germany giving them everything they had before losing in overtime in the gold medal game.
It was a far cry from Canada vs USA gold medal game we saw in 2010 or the Canada vs Sweden game in 2014 that was full of future Hall of Fame members. Sweden won it all in 2006 with a slim victory over Finland in the final, while Canada once again defeated the USA in the 2002 gold medal game on American soil. The first event with NHL players saw the Czech Republic surprise the world by winning gold.
Anything can happen when the best hockey players suit up for their team. We saw six different countries play in the gold medal game in the first three Olympic Games. There is a deep pool of talent around the world and when a player like Dominik Hasek gets hot at the right time, even the Czech Republic can go on a magical run. With word that NHL players will be eligible to play in the Olympics again in 2022, it got me wondering how many Habs players could be involved.
Surely, Shea Weber will be given a long look after being exceptional for Canada in 2010 and 2014 but maybe younger players will take over. Carey Price still has the inside track on a goaltending job for Canada. Tomas Tatar will be on the Slovakian team, provided the country wins one of the three open qualifying positions. The Habs three Finnish forwards, Joel Armia, Artturi Lehkonen, and Jesperi Kotkaniemi all have a chance of playing a bottom-six role for Finland.
Players playing for Finland and Canada would have a solid chance at earning a medal, and would both be contenders for gold. Tatar suiting up for Slovakia would be a long shot, but if former Habs goaltender Jaroslav Halak gets hot, you never know.
Looking at the six players who could end up representing their country at the Winter Olympic Games, got me thinking about previous Habs at the Olympics, so let’s take a look back at the five Olympics that featured NHL talent and see how Montreal Canadians players performed.
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