The Pittsburgh Penguins had seven of players selected for their respected countries for the upcoming Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Some players were obvious choices and there were others who had to wait for the selection process. Who are the players that got in? Find out here.
Sidney Crosby, C: Canada
Surprised right? The best player in the world scored the “Golden goal” to lift Canada in the 2010 Olympics and was a lock for the 2014 squad based on his performance since. Crosby may very well have the “C” on his sweater when Canada takes the ice for the Olympics in just about a month. There is no doubt he is going to rack up points for Canada during the Olympics as Canada tries to win Gold for the 2nd consecutive Winter Games.
Evgeni Malkin, C: Russia
Oh is Russia going to be a force to be reckoned with this February. Evgeni Malkin along with Alexander Ovechkin, Pavel Datsyuk, and Ilya Kovalchuk headline the Russian roster in the Olympics. Since coming back from injury, Malkin has been outstanding, scoring three goals in two games. He and Datsyuk are going to have a lot of fun playing together on the bigger international ice surface in Russia. They are both some of the best danglers in hockey today and will be counted on to feed the Russian sniping machine(s), Ovechkin and Kovalchuk. Look for Malkin to help lead Russia to Gold, challenging Canada for their title.
Chris Kunitz, LW: Canada
Kunitz in my opinion deserved to be on this team and general manager Steve Yzerman agreed. He’s had an outstanding season this year, putting up some of his best numbers ever. He has thrived playing on Sidney Crosby’s line and could very well be on his teammates’ wing in Sochi. Kunitz will get some points for Canada and will be counted on to produce as a top line wing.
Paul Martin, D: USA
Paul Martin is one of the most underrated defenseman in the NHL right now. He was arguably the Penguin’s best defenseman last season and in the playoffs. He’s also one of the best defenseman on Team USA right now. A broken leg sidelined Martin earlier this season, but he should be ready to go by February for the United States Team. Martin is one of the better skaters on the U.S, blue line and he will thrive with USA this February.
Brooks Orpik, D: USA
Orpik is one of the hard-hitting defenseman in the NHL but his foot speed had him on the selection bubble. He deserves to be on this team because of the success he’s had with the Penguins and the veteran leadership he can provide. The USA is going to need his toughness and his physical play when they face teams like Canada or Russia in the Olympics. He may play with his usual partner Paul Martin as their styles complement one another very well.
Jussi Jokinen, C: Finland
Jokinen has been decent this season but the main reason Finland picked him is because he is a defensive specialist and is known for some nice moves during the shootout. Jokinen can provide offense too during even strength and power plays as well. If Finland goes to a shootout with any team, you’ll definitely see Jokinen out there making some highlight reel moves. He’ll be matched up against the top offensive lines in every game and could be a major thorn for some of his teammates (Crosby and Malkin) if their teams match up.
Olli Maatta, D: Finland
The final Penguin that will go to Russia to represent his country (Finland) is young defenseman Olli Maatta. Maatta is one of the best rookie defenseman in the NHL and a leading candidate for the Calder Trophy, awarded to the best rookie during the entire NHL season. This was a great selection for Finland because he’s performed well on the international stage at the World Junior Championships. Let’s see if he can play with the big boys.