Despite leading the race for the first overall pick, the Buffalo Sabres will be sending five of their own to the 2014 Sochi Olympics this coming February. Here's the rundown of the players, and the three countries they'll be playing for.
Leading the way, of course, is American Hero Ryan Miller, who will battle with Jonathan Quick for the starting job on the American squad over the next few weeks. Miller has been sensational all season, but even more so in December, where he posted a sparkling .948 save percentage and a 1.82 GAA. What you got, Quick?
The Sabres will be sending two representatives to play for the Swedes: defenseman Henrik Tallinder and goalie Jhonas Enroth. Both will likely be backups, as Henrik Lundqvist is the sure-starter for Sweden, while their defensive corps features names like Karlsson, Kronwall, Ekman-Larsson, Edler, Hjalmarsson, and Odouya, making it very tough to find a spot for the reliable-but-aging Tallinder.
My new second-favorite team in the tournament features exactly one current NHL player: Zemgus Girgensons. Latvia will, however, have an NHL coach behind the bench, as Sabres interim coach Ted Nolan has been leading the Latvians since the summer, and will do so in Sochi. Latvia also leads the tournament in fantastically silly names, with players like Ervins Mustukovs and Herberts Vasiljevs on the roster.
The games will take place from Feb. 7-23 in Sochi, Russia.