Seven Canadiens players will be representing their countries at the Sochi Winter Olympics. Habs fans therefore stand a good chance of seeing one of their favourites return to Montreal with a medal at the end of February. Now, let’s take a look at the top-ten performances by Canadiens players at the Olympics.
Tomas Plekanec (2010)
Teaming up with close friend Jaromir Jagr, Plekanec obtained two goals and one assist in five games for the Czech national team. However, the Czech Republic’s success in the preliminary round did not carry over into the knockout stage, as the team squeaked by Latvia before being eliminated by Finland in the quarter finals.
Valeri Bure (1998)
Skating alongside big brother Pavel on Team Russia in 1998, Valeri would score one goal in six games, helping his team advance to the gold medal round with a flawless record. However, the Czechs would force Bure and his teammates to settle for silver with a 1-0 win in Nagano.
Sergei Kostitsyn (2010)
One of four Belarus natives to be selected to their national team in the Vancouver Games alongside Ruslan Salei, Mikhail Grabovski and brother Andrei Kostitsyn, Sergei carried the load offensively for his country. He racked up two goals and three assists in four games despite not being able to play alongside Andrei and Mikhail Grabovski, who both sat out the Games with injury. The team’s run was finally halted by the Swiss, who prevailed in the shootouts of the qualifying round.
Andrei Markov (2006)
The All-Star defenseman was one of the most reliable blueliners for Team Russia in Turin, chipping in a goal and two assists in eight games in addition to posting a +7 rating.
Alex Kovalev (2006)
Playing alongside Markov in Italy was Team Russia captain Alex Kovalev. Not only did he lead the Russian off the ice, but the right winger also set the example on the ice, scoring four goals and adding two assists. Kovalev and his team eliminated Canada in the quarterfinals before narrowly missing out on a bronze medal.
Mark Streit (2006)
In Turin, the Habs defenseman broke out in a big way, setting up all of his team’s goals in a 3-2 victory over the Czechs before captaining the Swiss team to the unlikeliest of victories: a 2-0 upset over Team Canada. Streit and company’s fairytale run was halted by Sweden, the eventual gold medalists, in the quarter-finals.
Jaroslav Halak (2010)
Before leading the Habs on a stirring playoff run in the spring of 2010, Halak made his mark by backstopping the Slovakian national team all the way to the bronze medal game, where the clear underdogs narrowly lost 5-3 to the Finns. Despite only going 3-4 during the Vancouver games, Halak was his team’s undisputed MVP, posting a 2.41 goals against average and a sterling 94.1% save percentage.
Saku Koivu (1998)
The Finn was among the first professional hockey players to take part in the Olympics in Nagano, Japan. Making the most of the occasion, Koivu exploded for ten points in just six games. He capped off his first trip to the Olympics by winning a bronze medal at the expense of linemate Mark Recchi’s Team Canada.
Saku Koivu (2006)
Always eager to represent his country in international competition, Koivu suited up for the Finns at four Olympics and four World Championships. The Habs captain once again had a big tournament in Torino, scoring 11 points in eight games and returning home with a silver medal, the best-ever result for the Finnish hockey team at the Winter Games.
Martin Rucinsky (1998)
After scoring three goals and adding an assist in six games, the left winger became the lone Canadiens player in the modern era to win gold at the Olympics. While his teammates Bure and Koivu had to settle for silver and bronze, respectively, Rucinsky took home gold thanks to a 1-0 shutout victory in the final game of the Nagano tournament.
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