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PENGUINS IN THE OLYMPICS

Penguins in the Olympics
By Adam Williams & Tyler Rosten

The Pittsburgh Penguins have produced countless international superstars in their 45 years in the NHL.  These dynamic players show off their talents in numerous world tournaments, but none bigger than the Winter Olympics.  While the Summer Olympics in London continue on, we focus on the spectacle of the Winter Games and at some memorable Penguins moments throughout the past four Olympics…
 
1998 Games (Nagano)
           
Jaromir Jagr, Martin Straka, and Robert Lang would lead the Czech Republic to their first Gold Medal in only their second appearance at the Winter Olympics.  Jagr scored five points (1g-4a) in six contests, while Straka contributed a goal and two assists.  Lang would also add three assists in six games.  The Czech Republic would eliminate Team USA in the Quarterfinals, upset the heavily favored Team Canada in the Semifinals in a dramatic 2-1 shootout victory, and would go on to defeat Team Russia in a thrilling 1-0 contest, with the game winning goal scored by Petr Svoboda.
           
Alexei Morozov steered Team Russia into a Silver Medal finish with two goals and two assists in six games.  Fellow Penguins teammate Darius Kasparaitis added two assists from the blueline, as did Sergei Gonchar.  Russia had defeated the Czech Republic in the group stage 2-1 before meeting up again in the Finals.  The Russians would dominate throughout the final rounds, defeating Belarus 4-1, crushing Finland 7-4 in the Semifinals before being derailed in the Gold Medal game.
           
2002 Games (Salt Lake City)
 
After a disappointing 1998 fourth place finish, Team Canada was determined to reclaim their spot as the top team in the world.  Being led by the Penguins’ all-time leader in scoring, Mario Lemieux, the red and white would go on to take the Gold at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games.  Lemieux would score two goals and add four assists, tying Steve Yzerman for second in team scoring.  Team Canada would start off slow in the qualification round, losing to Sweden 5-2 and tying with the Czech Republic at three.  In the Quarterfinals, Canada would push past Finland 2-1 and dominate Belarus 7-1 in the Semifinals.  Canada would defeat Team USA 5-2, with Sakic and Jarome Iginla scoring two goals each to win the Gold Medal.

Penguins’ teammates Darius Kasparaitis and Alexei Kovalev would compete for Russia, who finished with the Bronze medal, defeating Belarus 7-2, a team that featured Konstantin Koltsov, the first Wilkes-Barre/Scranton alumni to appear in the Olympic Games.  Kovalev scored three goals and added an assist in six games.  Kasparaitis contributed two helpers.  Robert Lang appeared in his third Olympics, scoring a goal and two assists for the Czech Republic as they finished in the seventh position after winning the Gold the previous year.  
2006 Games (Torino)

The 2006 Games saw some different faces atop the podium.  The United States and Canada were both eliminated in the Quarterfinals.  The Czech Republic and Russia were taken out in the Semifinals.  This left Sweden and Finland to do battle for the Gold, where Team Sweden would prevail 3-2.  Penguins’ tough guy Jarkko Ruutu was a part of the Silver Medal winning Finnish national team, competing in all eight contests.  Team Finland defeated Team USA in the Quarterfinals 4-3 and shutout Russia in the Semifinals, 4-0.  Sweden dominated throughout, scoring 13 goals in their Quarterfinal and Semifinal games (6-2 vs. Switzerland, 7-3 vs. Czech Republic).  
 
As the Czech Republic and Russia faced off for the bronze medal, many familiar faces returned.  Jaromir Jagr appeared in his second Olympic tournament, putting up seven points (2g-5a) in eight games.  Robert Lang suited up in his fourth Olympic run, compiling four assists.  Martin Straka also came back with Jagr, posting two goals and six assists.  Alexei Kovalev notched six points (4g-2a) and Darius Kasparaitis came back for his third stint with the Russian national team, acting as an alternate captain. 
 
2010 Games (Vancouver)
           
In his Olympic debut, the script could not have been written any better by the hockey gods themselves as Sidney Crosby delivered what is known as “The Golden Goal” in a 3-2 OT victory over Team USA.  Crosby would have seven points (4g-3a) in seven games, but none bigger than that game-winning tally.  Marc-Andre Fleury would also pick up a Gold Medal, acting as the third goaltender for a loaded Team Canada.  Canada would cruise to the semifinals before going up against a tough Slovakia team, pushing them to their limits in a 3-2 victory before the deciding Gold Medal game.  Statistically, Marian Hossa enjoyed one of the best stretches of any player in the tournament, tallying nine points in seven games (3g-6a), but Slovakia would not find a spot on the podium after falling to Finland in the deciding contest for the Bronze.
 
Ryan Malone registered five points (3g-2a) in six games for Team USA while   Penguins’ teammates and Team Russia members Evgeni Malkin and Sergei Gonchar would get bounced early on in the tournament by a 7-3 drubbing from Canada.  Malkin put up six points (3g-3a) in only four games.  Brooks Orpik picked up the Silver Medal along with fellow Team USA blueliner Ryan Whitney.  Fleury, Malone, Orpik and Whitney became the first former Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins to earn a medal at the Olympics.
 
Here is a complete list of all-time Penguins players that have appeared in the Olympics and how they have fared: 
 
Player Team Years  GP-G-A-PTS
Sidney Crosby Canada 2010 7-4-3-7
Sergei Gonchar Russia 2010 4-1-0-1
Marian Hossa Slovakia 2010 7-3-6-9
Jaromir Jagr Russia 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010 23-7-13-20
Darius Kasparitis Russia 1998, 2002, 2006 20-0-4-4
Konstantin Koltsov Belarus 2002, 2010 6-0-2-2
Alexei Kovalev Russia 2002, 2006 14-7-3-10
Robert Lang Czech 1992, 1998, 2002, 2006 26-6-17-23
Mario Lemieux Canada 2002 5-2-4-6
Evgeni Malkin Russia 2010 4-3-3-6
Ryan Malone USA 2010 6-3-2-5
Zbynek Michael Czech 2010 5-0-0-0
Brooks Orpik USA 2010 6-0-0-0
Jarkko Ruutu Finland 2010 8-0-0-0
Miroslav Satan Slovakia 2010 6-1-1-2
Martin Straka Czech 1998, 2006 14-3-8-11
Ryan Whitney USA 2010 6-0-0-0
Goalie Team Year(s) GP-W-L-GAA
Marc-Andre Fleury Canada 2010 DNP
Tomas Vokoun Czech 2010 DNP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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