2010 Olympic Men's Hockey: The Top Five Players of the Final Four

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2010 Olympic Men's Hockey: The Top Five Players of the Final Four

And just like that, eight national teams have been sent packing to their respective homelands.

If anyone tells you that they would have guessed that Slovakia, USA, Canada, and Finland would constitute the final four teams heading into the medal round of the 2010 Winter Olympics, slap them, because that's just what you do to liars.

Though Canada was destined for a top four finish (just ask them, they'll tell you), the other three teams' presence in the medal round is a bit of a surprise.

Slovakia has impressed with not one, but two huge upset (Russia and Sweden) victories.

Team USA is the improbable number one seed going into the medal round and is the only undefeated team in the final four.

And, Finland has used not only sticks and skates, but smoke and mirrors to make their return to the medal round, the only 2006 finalists to do so.

With just three medals available to four teams, each squad is going to need a big performance from each player in order to earn a podium spot.

However, there are five players that have proved to be essential to their team's success.

Call them game-breakers, call them clutch-performers, you can certainly call them MVP candidates—these five players represent the cream of the crop heading into Friday's medal round.

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