The Red Wings will have a strong presence in Sochi, Russia at the Olympics.
In all, ten players as well as head coach Mike Babcock and GM Ken Holland will represent five nations.
Babcock will be back behind the bench as Team Canada's head coach, while Holland will serve as one of the general managers. Both helped guide Canada to the gold medal in 2010.
The strongest Red Wings' presence will be on Team Sweden, where Henrik Zetterberg, Daniel Alfredsson, Johan Franzen, Niklas Kronwall, Jonathan Ericsson, and Jonas Gustavsson will all play. Alfredsson will make his fifth appearance in the Olympics, while Zetterberg, who will captain the team, will make his fourth appearance.
“You just go there and play for your country and it’s not just hockey." Zetterberg said. "You’re part of a group with other athletes and you experience their successes and their failures and their preparations and it’s a great two weeks. I’m looking forward to this one just as much as I did the past ones. It’s been a few tough defeats and we won the gold in Turin [in 2006], so I’ve been through it all and hopefully we can get another gold.”
Kronwall was also a member of the 2006 team. Franzen and Gustavsson played in 2010, while Ericsson will make his Olympic debut.
Oddly enough, the only non-NHL player for Sweden happens to have ties to the Red Wings.
Jimmie Ericsson, Jonathan's older brother, is a forward with Skellefteå of the Swedish Elite League.
Both goaltenders will be in Sochi, as Jimmy Howard will represent Team USA. Howard will make his Olympic debut.
“From a personal standpoint being in the same division as the Wings for years I know what Jimmy can do,” said USA GM David Poile, who is also the GM of the Nashville Predators. “I know he would say the same thing, I think this has not been his best year but his body of work has been fabulous. I mean, 35 wins in three consecutive seasons and the playoff record the Wings have with him in goal. The big games that he has won for the Wings, especially on the road and behind in series, or what have you, I mean, I know what Jimmy Howard can do but I think the rest of our committee knows what he can do and he got a spot on the Olympic team based on his body of work.”
The ten players from the Wings ties the St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks for most Olympians.
The games will begin February 12.
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