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A Quick & Dirty Guide to the Best Olympic Hockey Players at Sochi

Team Russia

(Photo: G Fiume / Getty Images | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2014)

Alexander Ovechkin 
It had to be done. He’s a household name, but not without good reason. While some called him a flop in recent years for his dwindling performances,
Ovechkin still leads the NHL in scoring with 40 goals - that’s nine more than the next highest scorer. He’s yet to win Lord Stanley’s Cup or Olympic Gold, but he’s definitely more accustomed to the Russian way of doing the Olympics, which gives him some major home field advantage.

Pavel Datsyuk
In the words of his infallible coach Mike Babcock, Datsyuk is the “best two-way player in the world,” meaning he’s a forward who is just as good at helping out on defense. He’s won two Stanley Cups with the Red Wings, four Lady Bing Trophies (goes to the most sportsmanlike player), and wears the captain patch for Russia. He’s missed a month’s worth of games this year due to a knee injury, but is expected to play in Russia’s Olympic opener.

Other Russians you should know: Ilya Kovalchuk retired from the NHL but not from hockey. Andrei Markov, Evgeni Malkin, and Alexander Semin will all surely try to put on a show on their home turf.

Team Sweden

(Photo: G Fiume / Getty Images | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2014)

Henrik Zetterberg
You don’t become the top dog of one of the winningest NHL programs ever by being a slouch. Red Wings Captain Henrik Zetterberg has all of the components to lead Sweden to Olympic gold, including one of the world’s best goaltenders backing him up; Henrik Lundqvist.

Daniel Sedin
The Sedin brothers have consistently been two of the NHL’s best forwards for the last decade. However, only Daniel is playing in Sochi this year, as Henrik is still nursing a rib injury sustained last month against the Phoenix Coyotes. While the brothers have incredible chemistry and are known for playing off each other, there is no doubt that Daniel Sedin will have an impact on every game, even without his brother.

Other Swedes you should know: Daniel Alfredsson, Carl Hagelin, and Alex Steen form a potent offense for the Swedes. Erik Karlsson, Niklas Kronwall, and Oliver Ekman-Larsson will be pivotal for their defensive game.

Team Finland

(Photo: Drew Hallowell / Getty Images | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2014)

Kimmo Timonen
Timonen is another veteran who will be a huge factor for Finland both on and off the ice. He’s been an NHL All Star five times and knows how to get assists from the blue line. He’s got 442 career assists and 113 career goals. Standing at 5’10”, 194 lbs, Timonen isn’t going to be the biggest defender out there, but you wouldn’t know it from his physical play.

Jussi Jokinen
Jokinen is an average goal scorer and average passer, but we think he’ll be a standout for Finland this year. He has bounced around the NHL a bit, but has found a solid niche in Pittsburgh. Last week he said that he feels he’s playing his best hockey, and we agree.

Other Fins you should know: Sami Salo and Teemu Selanne are two other veterans that will be crucial for Finland. They’ve also got an interesting goaltending dynamic, having three of the best in the league (Kari Lehtonen, Antti Niemi, and Tuukka Rask) on their roster.

Check out Your Guide to the Winter Olympic Sports You’ll Randomly Watch at 5amor Girls of the 2014 Winter Olympics.