The 2018 Winter Olympics are just around the corner in Pyeongchang and for us hockey fans, there's not much to look forward to. The NHL decided not to send any players this year so some would-be first-time Olympians like Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews, and Jack Eichel will have to wait four more years to represent their country. As a kid, I always loved watching the Olympics with my family and staying glued to every Team Canada game there was. No matter where the Olympics were being held, I'd wake up early or stay up late to watch some of my all-time favourite players like Joe Sakic, Roberto Luongo, Marty St. Louis, and Ed Jovanovski (weird mix, I know) square off against the stars of competing nations.


It's upsetting that we aren't going to see some pretty spectacular talent have to sit out the Olympics this year so I've decided to create a dream line-up for each of the top countries competing at this year's Olympics using one player from the last 6 Olympics (2014, 2010, 2006, 2002,1998, & 1994) to fill each spot.

Here are the rules: 


  • Each player must play in their natural position (no putting a C on the wing)
  • Each position must be filled with one player who played in at least one of the last 6 Olympics


*Note: This list isn't based on anything other than my own opinion of players and is highly biased and almost completely disregards statistics*



TEAM FINLAND

LW - Jussi Jokinen (2014)

C - Saku Koivu (1994)

RW - Teemu Selanne (1998)

D - Sami Salo (2002)

D - Kimmo Timonen (2006)

G - Mikka Kiprusoff (2010)



Finland's forwards are Jokinen, Koivu, and Selanne, a line that will terrorize defencemen and goaltenders alike. On defence, Sami Salo, and Kimmo Timonen team up to form a remarkable pairing that won't let much get past them. In net is Kiprusoff from the 2010 roster, meaning Tuuka Rask is sitting in the stands. Patrik Laine misses out due to the fact that he's never been to the Olympics which is a sizeable blow for this team.







TEAM RUSSIA

LW - Alex Ovechkin (2010)

C - Andrei Nikolishin (1994)

RW - Pavel Bure (1998)

D - Andrei Markov (2014)

D - Sergei Gonchar (2002)

G - Evgeni Nabokov (2006)


Russia has had some great talent over the years, but unfortunately, I'm too young to remember some of the guys from the earlier years but hopefully, I did ok here. Having Bure and Ovechkin on the same line would be ridiculously fun to watch, Nikolishin was one of the only names I recognized off of the 1994 Russian roster so he gets to center them. Markov and Gonchar were solid defencemen throughout their NHL careers and are guys that I like so they get paired together for a solid defence. Lastly, Nabokov suits up in net since he was always one of my favourite goalies to watch growing up. 



TEAM SWEDEN

LW - Daniel Sedin (2010)

C - Peter Forsberg (1994)

RW - Daniel Alfredsson (2006)

D - Mattias Ohlund (1998)

D - Niklas Lidstrom (2002)

G - Henrik Lundqvist (2014)



Sweden has some pretty "Swede" talent if you ask me. As a Canucks fan, I had to include by guys Sedin and Ohlund. Forsberg was always a guy I loved to watch on the Avs so he centers Sedin and Alfredsson. Lidstrom is one of the best defencemen to ever come out of Sweden so he was an easy choice and none other than the King get to stand between the pipes with another easy choice. As there were with the Russian team, there's a lot of notable players not on the line-up so guys like Zetterberg, Sundin, Karlsson aren't suiting up. I'm surprised I didn't just make this team all Canucks.



TEAM USA

LW - Brian Rolston (1994)

C - Mike Modano (2002)

RW - Brett Hull (1996)

D - Chris Chelios (2006)

D - Ryan Suter (2010)

G - Jonathan Quick (2014)

 


The States put out quite an impressive line-up with their only weakness being the left wing. Modano and Hull would be an incredible one-two punch on offense and leave goalies praying for miracles. Chelios and Suter get the D-pairing and ease Quick's nerves knowing he has a great line in front of him. Quick earns the spot between the pipes over other incredible American goaltenders like Richter, Vanbiesbrouck, and Miller to name a few. A number of highly-skilled current American NHLers also have to sit out due to the one player per year rule. Young stars like Eichel and Matthews miss the cut on account of having never represented the US at an Olympic level.



TEAM CANADA

LW - Paul Kariya (1994)

C - Wayne Gretzky (1998)

RW - Martin St. Louis (2006)

D -  Adam Foote (2002)

D - Drew Doughty (2014)

G - Roberto Luongo (2010)



Team Canada has the most well-rounded roster out of any of these countries with a solid line up. St. Louis, Gretzky, and Kariya create a phenomenal offense that would create some of the most jaw-dropping plays of all time. The same thing on defence, Foote, and Doughty make a perfect pairing that will keep Bobby Lu's pads looking pristine. Luongo gets the heavily biased nod in net over guys like Brodeur, Price, and CuJo since he's my favourite player and ex-Canuck. Canada also misses out on having Lemieux, Crosby, McDavid, and a myriad of stars due to this being a one player per position line-up and/or lack of Olympic experience.


And there you have it, my highly biased, highly uninformed line-ups for five different hockey nations. What do your dream line-ups look like using the same rules as myself? Tweet them to me through @CoolHockey1 or @Marc Mazzulli on Twitter!