Olympic Hockey 2014: Predicting the All-Tournament Team

Steve MacfarlaneFeatured ColumnistFebruary 9, 2014

Olympic Hockey 2014: Predicting the All-Tournament Team

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    On their way to Sochi, Russia, for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games are the best of the best in the world.

    When the men's hockey tournament is over on Feb. 23, six players will be able to claim the title of the best of the best of the best in the world.

    It's a ridiculous mouthful, but the all-tournament team at the Winter Games is a special honor given to just a half-dozen players.

    If predicting the medalists is tough, picking through the possible standouts for a collection of three forwards, two defensemen and a goaltender who stand out above all others is next to impossible.

    Here's our attempt at predicting the 2014 Olympic Hockey all-tournament team.

Goaltender: Henrik Lundqvist (Sweden)

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    Projected stats

    Six games, five wins, 1.50 goals-against average, .933 save percentage, two shutouts.

     

    What gives him the edge

    He's the undisputed No. 1 goaltender for one of the top teams in the tourney and has a history of playing at his best in international competition. After a rough start, the New York Rangers netminder turned his game around and was one of the hottest goalies heading into the Olympic break, winning 12 of his last 16 games.

     

    The competition

    Ryan Miller was dominant four years ago in Vancouver for the U.S. team. Russians Sergei Bobrovsky and Semyon Varlamov will have to be dynamite to help the home side medal, and Finland will rely on spectacular play from Tuukka Rask to get them into the later stages.

Defenseman: Duncan Keith (Canada)

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    Projected stats

    Six games, two goals, four assists, six points.

     

    What gives him the edge

    He covers a lot of ice very quickly and has incredible vision to make quality first passes or lead a rush.

    The competition

    His blue-line partner Shea Weber is one of the most dynamic two-way defensemen in hockey, while Russia's Andrei Markov could be a key player in the tournament.

Defenseman: Erik Karlsson (Sweden)

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    Projected stats

    Six games, two goals, five assists, seven points.

     

    What gives him the edge

    His skating ability on the big ice and the way he controls the puck on the power play will offer him an advantage over some of the North American players who don't have the same kind of experience on the larger surface.

     

    The competition

    American Ryan Suter of the Minnesota Wild is a threat to snatch the title of best defenseman in the tournament, and Sweden's Oliver Ekman-Larsson has been a treat to watch with the Phoenix Coyotes this season.

Forward: Patrick Kane (United States)

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    Projected stats

    Six games, five goals, three assists, eight points.

     

    What gives him the edge

    The Americans have solid scoring depth up front, and the Chicago Blackhawks playmaker has improved his overall game to the point where he makes everyone around him better. There's a level of seriousness to his play now that comes with an obvious maturing on and off the ice.

     

    The competition

    Fellow American Phil Kessel didn't have the greatest Winter Games performance in 2010, but is one of the top scorers in the NHL this season. Zach Parise was the best U.S. player four years ago. 

Forward: Sidney Crosby (Canada)

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    Projected stats

    Six games, three goals, five assists, eight points

     

    What gives him the edge

    Crosby is having one of his best NHL seasons so far and will carry that momentum into Sochi. With his Pittsburgh Penguins teammate Chris Kunitz on his wing to pull the trigger and Martin St. Louis possibly on the other side, the gifted playmaker will have plenty of options and put up big points.

     

    The competition

    On his own team, Jonathan Toews made this squad in 2010 and could again be Canada's best forward. Others competitors from teams that are in contention for the gold medal include Sweden's Henrik Zetterberg, Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Steen.

Forward: Evgeni Malkin (Russia)

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    Projected stats

    Six games, four goals, five assists, nine points.

     

    What gives him the edge

    Motivation might be the only thing keeping the Pittsburgh Penguins superstar from being the best in the league. Playing in his home country for Olympic gold might just be the kind of edge he needs to be the best in the Sochi Games men's hockey tournament.

     

    The competition

    Countrymen Alex Ovechkin and Pavel Datsyuk are no slouches and could get some consideration if the Russians get to the final. Their stats could all be similar.