Montreal Canadiens: Looking Back at How Habs Performed at Previous Winter Olympics

SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 23: Carey Price #31. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 23: Carey Price #31. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /
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Turin, ITALY: Saku Koivu of Finland. AFP PHOTO/DON EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP via Getty Images)
Turin, ITALY: Saku Koivu of Finland. AFP PHOTO/DON EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP via Getty Images) /

2006: Turin, Italy

Yes, we did skip the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City altogether and that is because not a single Montreal Canadiens player was in the tournament. Jose Theodore was in the midst of a Hart Trophy winning season, but Canada went with Martin Brodeur, Curtis Joseph and Ed Belfour instead.

In 2006, the Habs were suddenly one of the most represented NHL teams at the Olympic Games. They had six players suiting up for five different countries. Though they didn’t have anyone playing for Canada or the United States, who played either other in the gold medal game in 2002, their Russian and Finnish representatives had a shot at winning a medal, and Hasek was around to try and steal another gold for Jan Bulis and the Czech Republic.

Jan Bulis

Unfortunately for Bulis, Hasek was injured in the opening game of the tournament. They went 2-3-0 in the preliminary round before taking out Slovakia in the quarterfinals. They were demolished by Sweden in the semifinals but rebounded quickly to take home a bronze medal. Bulis was scoreless in eight games in the tournament but would be one of just two Habs to earn a medal at the event.

Saku Koivu

After leading the 1998 Olympic Games in scoring, Koivu missed the 2002 tournament while undergoing cancer treatment. In 2006, with Selanne as his winger once again, Koivu would lead the Olympic Games in scoring for a second time. He had three goals and 11 points in eight games, tying him once again with Selanne for the lead.

Koivu served at the team’s captain and came up big when he had a goal and an assist in the semifinals, helping Finland defeat a stacked Russian team that shutout Canada in the quarters. This propelled Finland into the gold medal game where it was tied at two after two periods. Unfortunately, Koivu broke his stick off the opening draw of the third period and as he headed to the bench to retrieve a new one, Mats Sundin scored the game winning goal for Sweden.

Alex Kovalev

Kovalev enjoyed a comeback season in 2005-06 with the Habs. The new rules that clamped down on hooking and holding following the 2004-05 lockout really benefited a big, skilled winger like Kovalev. He was not only chosen to represent Russia in Turin, but he also was named their captain.

Kovalev joined an offensive powerhouse that also had skilled forwards like Pavel Datsyuk, Evgeni Malkin, Ilya Kovalchuk and Alex Ovechkin. The Habs winger would score four goals and six points in eight games, but Russia was shutout by Koivu’s Finnish squad in the semifinals. Russia would be shutout again in the bronze medal game and leave Turin without a medal.

Andrei Markov

Markov was a teammate of Kovalev’s at the event so he also finished in fourth place. Though he was just starting to blossom into one of the best offensive defensemen in the NHL, he didn’t have huge numbers at the Olympics.

Markov had one goal and three assists in eight games, including an assist on Kovalev’s late goal in the quarterfinals that ended Canada’s hopes of a comeback, and moved Russia into the semifinals.

Mark Streit

Mark Streit was an unknown quantity at the NHL level when the 2006 Olympic Games arrived. He was drafted in the 9th round by the Habs two years earlier, but was 27 years old when the Habs selected him. He was in the midst of his rookie NHL season in 2005-06 where he would score two goals and 11 points.

Still, he had played well for Switzerland at previous World Championships and would shoulder a heavy load for his country on the blue line. The Swiss would have an odd, but successful preliminary round where they started out be being blasted by Finland 5-0, but following it up with wins over Canada and the Czech Republic before tying Germany and Italy.

How do you shutout Canada 2-0 and then in the next three days fail to beat Germany and Italy? Streit played a huge role in their ability to shutdown the high powered Canadian attack, and their 2-1-2 record was good enough to finish second in the Pool. Unfortunately for Switzerland, instead of being rewarded with an easier matchup in the quarterfinal, Sweden threw their final game and finished third in the other Pool so they could face Switzerland instead of Canada.

Streit scored the game winning goal against Czech Republic in the preliminary round and scored early against Sweden in the quarterfinal, but the powerhouse Sweden team stormed back to win 6-2. However, Streit showed he could handle a tough assignment against better competition and also showed off his bomb of a point shot on the power play that would lead to some future opportunity with the Canadiens.

Richard Zednik

Slovakia was in a very difficult pool at the 2006 Olympics, with games against Sweden, Russia and the United States. Surprisingly, they beat all three of those teams en route to a perfect 5-0-0 record in the preliminary round. They ended up with a tough draw in the quarterfinals against rival nation Czech Republic and lost 3-1.

Zednik scored one goal in the tournament, finishing with a single point in six games.