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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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) /

2014: Sochi, Russia

After the Montreal Canadiens skaters came home without a medal in 2010, it was hoped 2014 in Sochi, Russia would end with a better fate. They had players playing for Canada, the United States, Russia, Czech Republic and Slovakia, so chances were good someone would grab a medal.

Peter Budaj

Budaj played very sparingly for the Slovakians. He played half a game against the Americans, coming on in relief of Halak who was chased when the score was 5-1. It quickly became 7-1 and both NHL goaltenders sat for most of the rest of the tournament as Jan Laco took the reins, shutting out Russia before losing to Czech Republic in the Qualification Round.

Alexei Emelin

Emelin was brought to Sochi to play a sound defensive game with his physical style, so it should come as no surprise that he was held scoreless at the event. He did help Russia play a better defensive game than they were traditionally known for, as the team only allowed eight goals in five games.

Andrei Markov

Markov was partnered with Emelin but was expected to provide a bit more offence. He didn’t, as the team struggled to score, and Markov finished with just two assists in five games. Russia played well in the preliminary round on home ice, with their only loss coming in a long shootout to the United States. They would defeat Norway 4-0 in the Qualification Round before being knocked out by Finland in the Quarterfinals.

Max Pacioretty

Pacioretty made the American team after proving to be one of the most dangerous goal scorers in the NHL. He wasn’t given a huge opportunity with USA, playing mostly on the fourth line and had just one assist in five games, even sitting as a scratch in one game.

The Americans had a great tournament, going undefeated until losing 1-0 to Canada in the semifinals. They then lost to Finland in the bronze medal game and would just miss the podium.

Tomas Plekanec

The Czech Republic roster was getting older and older as they seemed to bring a lot of the same players to four or five straight tournaments. It finally caught up to them in Sochi as the only team’s they could beat were Latvia in the preliminary round and Slovakia in the Qualification Round. A 5-2 loss to USA in the Quarterfinals put an end to their tournament.

Plekanec had a goal and three assists in five games.

Carey Price

Price was, in a word, phenomenal at the Sochi Games. This was before he won everything at the NHL Awards in 2015, so there were no guarantees he would even be the starting goaltender in this event. Price played the opening game and beat Norway 6-1, then Roberto Luongo came in and shutout Austria.

Canada’s first real test came against Finland in the final preliminary game and they turned to Price who came up with a 2-1 overtime win. Canada’s coaching staff wisely stuck with Price who rewarded them with a 2-1 Quarterfinals victory over Latvia, a 1-0 win over the United States in the semifinals and another shutout win over Sweden in the gold medal game.

His 0.59 goals against average and .972 save percentage earned him the Best Goaltender Award and should have given him the MVP but Teemu Selanne finishing 7th in the tournament in scoring got him the award somehow.

P.K. Subban

While everything went right for Price in Sochi, Subban was relegated to cheerleading duties. He played just one game and was the 7th defender that night.

While the results have been up and down over the years, it will be exciting to watch Habs players on the biggest stage again. Watching Koivu light it up with Finland in 1998 and 2006 was incredible. Seeing Carey Price literally stop everything in the semifinals and gold medal game in 2014 was amazing. Hopefully, and it sounds close to a reality, we get to see NHL players in Beijing in 2022.