It is official: The NHL, NHL Players' Association and International Ice Hockey Federation have announced there will be NHL players at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Prior to the agreement between the NHL, NHLPA and IIHF, NHL.com had three writers select the team they would take to Sochi for each of the "big seven" hockey-playing nations. Note: This is not the team the writers project each country's hockey federation will select, but the team they would select at this point.
The defending champions from Canada will be looking to win gold for the third time in four Olympic tournaments, but there is a caveat: The Canadians have not won gold outside of North America since 1952. In fact, Canada hasn't medaled in the two Olympics with NHL participation that occurred elsewhere, finishing fourth in Nagano, Japan in 1998 and losing three times in six games, including in the quarterfinals to Russia, in Turin, Italy, in 2006.
There is no doubt the Canadians will bring the deepest roster to Sochi, but there is a one giant question mark that is sure to have an entire hockey-mad nation nervous.