Posted On Tuesday, 01.07.2014 / 9:08 AM

By Staff -  / - Road to Sochi blog

Zuccarello lone NHL player on Norway Olympic roster

Norway is returning 13 members of the 2010 Olympic team to the roster for the 2014 edition in Sochi, the Norwegian hockey federation announced Tuesday.

Mats Zuccarello is among the returnees and is the only NHL player on the roster.

Zuccarello, who is playing a prominent role for the New York Rangers this season, is on pace for a 60-point season, which would be the best of an NHL career that took flight because of a strong showing for the Norwegians four years ago in Vancouver.

Former NHL player Patrick Thoresen, who now plays for SKA St. Petersburg of the Kontinental Hockey League, also should be among the top offensive weapons for Norway, which finished 10th in Vancouver but provided a stern challenge for several teams.

On defense, Ole-Kristian Tollefson, who had a stint in the NHL, headlines the seven defensemen named.

Posted On Tuesday, 01.07.2014 / 9:00 AM

By Staff -  / - Road to Sochi blog

No Saku Koivu on Finland roster; sixth go for Selanne

A pair of teenagers and the absence of a national icon on Finland's 25-man roster for the 2014 Sochi Olympics named Tuesday have signaled the start of a transition for the country.

Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov and Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta will provide a measure of youthful enthusiasm for the Finns, but Anaheim Ducks center Saku Koivu reportedly has declined an invitation to participate in his fifth Olympics and was not on the announced roster.

Finland is the only country to medal in three of the four tournaments since the NHL began taking a break from its schedule to allow players to participate in 1998.

Posted On Tuesday, 01.07.2014 / 8:52 AM

By Staff -  / - Road to Sochi blog

Vanek, Grabner highlight Austrian Olympic roster

Three NHL players are on the roster for Austria named Tuesday to compete in the 2014 Sochi Olympics, including New York Islanders teammates Thomas Vanek and Michael Grabner, as well as Philadelphia Flyers rookie Michael Raffl.

Vanek is the unquestioned star for the Austrians. He has 36 points this season in 41 games split between the Islanders and Buffalo Sabres. For his career he has 265 goals in 626 NHL games. He will be playing in the Olympics for the first time.

Raffl has 11 points in 29 games this season, his first with the Flyers after spending the past two seasons playing for Leksand in Sweden

Grabner, meanwhile, has five goals and 12 points in 40 games this season. He has 259 NHL games under his belt.

Posted On Monday, 01.06.2014 / 3:46 PM

By Staff -  / - Road to Sochi blog

Mikko Koivu surgery sobering news for Finland

While hockey fans in Finland were still celebrating a landmark victory in the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships, the country received a bit of sobering news barely more than a month away from the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Mikko Koivu, captain of the Minnesota Wild and possibly captain for Suomi in Russia next month, will miss "approximately" a month of NHL action after surgery to repair a broken ankle, the Wild announced Monday. Koivu sustained a broken ankle during a game Saturday against the Washington Capitals, though he did finish the game.

Koivu leads the Wild with 35 points (eight goals) in 44 games this season. He is projected to be Finland's top center in Sochi, and was likely going to be named captain for his country. Minnesota's final game before the Olympic break is Feb. 6, or exactly one month from this announcement.

Posted On Monday, 01.06.2014 / 2:48 PM

By Staff -  / - Road to Sochi blog

Czech Republic's Jagr named to fifth Olympics

New Jersey Devils forward Jaromir Jagr earned a fifth trip to the Olympics, named to the official Czech Republic 25-player roster announced Monday in Prague.

Jagr made his debut for the Czech Republic in 1998, helping his country win gold in Nagano, the first tournament in which the NHL stopped play and allowed its players to compete. He also played in the 2002 tournament in Salt Lake, 2006 in Turin, winning a bronze medal, and the 2010 edition in Vancouver. Jagr, who leads the Devils in points (34) and is tied for the team lead in goals (13), will be 42 when the tournament begins in Sochi on Feb. 12.

Seventeen of the 25 players named to the Czech roster play in the NHL. Winnipeg Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec, though, is the only goalie on the roster in the NHL currently.

Posted On Monday, 01.06.2014 / 2:18 PM

By Staff -  / - Road to Sochi blog

Kings' Kopitar only NHL player on Slovenian roster

As expected, Los Angeles Kings forward Anze Kopitar headlines the 25-man Olympic roster, which was announced Monday.

Kopitar is the only Slovenian playing in the NHL. The national team is coached by his father, Matjaz. Anze Kopitar's brother, Gasper, did not make the Olympic team.

The rest of the team is comprised of players that play throughout Europe and the majority of the roster named to the Olympics is identical to the one that helped the country qualify for the Olympics for the first time.

Posted On Monday, 01.06.2014 / 10:53 AM

By Staff -  / - Road to Sochi blog

Eight NHL players highlight Swiss Olympic roster

Switzerland named its roster Monday afternoon for the 2014 Sochi Olympics during a press conference in Zurich. The 25-man roster features eight players from the NHL.

Anaheim Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller and Calgary Flames netminder Reto Berra headline the selections, and they are joined by defensemen Raphael Diaz (Montreal Canadiens), Roman Josi (Nashville Presdators). Mark Streit (Philadelphia Flyers) and Yannick Weber (Vancouver Canucks), as well as forwards Damien Brunner (New Jersey Devils) and Nino Niederreiter (Minnesota Wild).

The majority of the rest of the roster comes from the Swiss domestic league, including defenseman Mathias Seger, who was named the team's captain.

Posted On Thursday, 01.02.2014 / 2:58 PM

By Sean Farrell - Correspondent / - Road to Sochi blog

Ryan to use Olympic comments as motivation

OTTAWA -- Bobby Ryan's television viewing on New Year's Day got his 2014 off to a disappointing start.

The high-scoring Ottawa Senators right wing was watching Wednesday when the United States Olympic men's hockey team was unveiled at the end of the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.

Unlike four years earlier, when a young hockey player sported a 2010 U.S. Olympic jersey with his name on the back at the end of the 2010 Winter Classic at Fenway Park in Boston, Ryan did not make the final cut for the American team that will compete at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. The team was introduced following the Toronto Maple Leafs' 3-2 shootout win against the Detroit Red Wings at Michigan Stadium.

"Ultimately they decided to go a different direction so I guess as a player you have to respect that, but at the same time I thought I played well enough to earn a spot. But I can't change it now," Ryan said Thursday after Ottawa's morning skate at Canadian Tire Centre prior to the Senators' game against the Winnipeg Jets.

Posted On Thursday, 01.02.2014 / 2:53 PM

By Sean Farrell - Correspondent / - Road to Sochi blog

Olympic spot 'surreal' for Jets' Wheeler

Blake Wheeler had more than a safe landing in Ottawa to celebrate Wednesday.

When the Winnipeg Jets arrived at their hotel in Canada's capital, Wheeler got a text message from his wife that he had made the United States Olympic team for the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

"It's kind of surreal, to be honest," Wheeler said Thursday. "Just playing in the NHL was kind of above and beyond dreams that I had growing up. It was pretty special for myself and for my wife and my family, so it was a pretty big day."

Wheeler has 15 goals and 16 assists in 42 games.

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