Any Of Nine NHL Teams Could Have An Olympic Medalist Of Every Mint

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As hockey fan's gazes are firmly set on tonight's semi-final games at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, it is curious to note that eight different NHL teams have representation from at least three finalist countries.

Paring down the tableau of NHL team player representation by country from this nhl.com link, one can see that eight NHL clubs have a shot at having a gold, silver and bronze medalist within their ranks come Sunday night's gold medal game.

As it stands, the rosters of Team Canada, Finland, Slovakia and USA comprise a total of 77 NHL players.

The Anaheim Ducks, Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Los Angeles Kings, New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning all have players on three country's rosters. The worse case scenario for all seven of these teams is that they will have no less than two each.

It surely must be Vancouver Canucks' year, as there is no such mystery in terms of their medals chances. The Canucks have representation on all four surviving Olympics teams and three of those are destined to have medals hung from their necks come Sunday. Oddly, none will be named Sedin.

The Canucks are represented by Roberto Luongo (Canada), Ryan Kesler (USA), Sami Salo (Finland) and Pavol Demitra (Slovakia). Come the Canucks next home game, one of these four will be a spectator to an ice ceremony honouring the team's Olympic medalists. As luck, both good and bad, would have it, Vancouver are on an NHL record length road trip (14 games) thanks to the city hosting the Olympic games. With six road games left to play out, that Canuck ceremony isn't slated until March 14, against the Calgary Flames.

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Rather than listing countries in order of potential gold, silver and bronze finishes, let's take an odd man out approach.

If Finland finishes fourth:

Boston, Los Angeles and Chicago will have a medalist of every mint.

Boston are represented by Patrice Bergeron (Canada), Zdeno Chara and Miroslav Satan (Slovakia) and Tim Thomas (USA)

Los Angeles are represented by Drew Doughty (Canada), Michal Handzus (Slovakia), Jack Johnson, Jonathan Quick and Dustin Brown (USA)

Chicago are represented by Marian Hossa and Tomas Kopecky (Slovakia), Patrick Kane (USA) and Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Jonathan Toews (Canada)

If Slovakia finishes fourth:

Anaheim and Carolina will have a medalist of every mint.

Anaheim are represented by Saku Koivu and Teemu Selanne (Finland), Scott Niedermayer, Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf (Canada), Bobby Ryan and Ryan Whitney (USA)

Carolina are represented by Tim Gleason (USA), Joni Pitkanen and Tuomo Ruutu (Finland) and Eric Staal (Canada)

If Canada finishes fourth:

Buffalo, Tampa Bay and the Rangers will have a medalist of every mint.

Buffalo are represented by Toni Lydman (Finland), Ryan Miller (USA) and Andrej Sekera (Slovakia)

Tampa Bay are represented by Ryan Malone (USA), Andrej Meszaros (Slovakia) and Antero Niittymaki (Finland)

The Rangers are respresented by Chris Drury and Ryan Callahan (USA), Ollie Jokinen (Finland) and Marian Gaborik (Slovakia)

If the United States finishes fourth:

Only the Canucks (Oh, the irony!) will have a medalist of every mint.

In other Canadian hockey cities, only the Calgary Flames are guaranteed a medalist among Jarome Iginla (Canada) and Miikka Kiprusoff and Niklas Hagman (Finland)

Edmonton Oliers hopes rest with Lubomir Visnovsky (Slovakia), Ottawa Senators have Jarkko Ruutu (Finland) and Toronto Maple Leafs have Phil Kessel (USA).

In Montreal, Canadiens fans are Canadian hockey fans, and although Habs faithful wish nothing but the best for Slovakian goaltender Jaroslav Halak, the cheering will almost entirely for the Canada side.

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