Veteran defenseman Brian Rafalski, who was born and raised in metro Detroit, is the oldest player to make the Team USA roster. He will be making his third Olympic appearance in the 2010 Vancouver Games, set to begin next month.
Rafalski, 36, is one of seven Red Wings that will play in the Olympics, joining Russia's Pavel Datsyuk
; Finland's Valtteri Filppula
; and Sweden's Nicklas Lidstrom
, Niklas Kronwall
, Tomas Holmstrom
and Henrik Zetterberg
For Filppula, the Vancouver Games will be his first Olympic experience.
All four Red Wings were on Sweden’s gold medal team that defeated Finland, 3-2, in the 2006 championship game. Former Red Wings forward Mikael Samuelsson was also on the ’06 squad. But Samuelsson, now a member of the Vancouver Canucks, was not chosen for the 2010 team.
Considered the top NHL defenseman of his era, Lidstrom, who will also captain the Swedish squad, is one of four players making their fourth Olympic appearance with Sweden. The six-time Norris Trophy winner has played in the last three Olympic Games in Nagano (1998), Salt Lake City (2002) and Torino (2006).
By adding an Olympic gold medal to his repertoire four years ago, Lidstrom became the 17th member of the elite Triple Gold Club – winning Olympic, Stanley Cup and World Championship titles. The Red Wings are well-represented on the club with four former (Samuelsson, Viacheslav Fetisov, Igor Larionov, Brendan Shanahan) and three current players (Lidstrom, Kronwall, Zetterberg) in its membership.
For Zetterberg, Holmstrom, Datsyuk and Rafalski, the Vancouver Games will be the third time for each of them in the Olympics.Be sure to come back to DetroitRedWings.com during the Olympic Break for many features on the Red Wings' Olympians as they go for the Gold in Vancouver in February!!