The Sochi Olympics hockey tournament saw the rise and fall of many players stocks and value. At the end of the tournament those players who best stood out, were selected by the media and directorate (click here) for the All-Star team. The Winter Olympics are a unique event, held every four years, and it advocates world unity, love for sports and emphasizes the "Olympic Spirit". Below you find our own Sochi Olympics All-Star Team selection.
Goaltender: Jakub Kovar (CZE)
Kovar lets another one in. Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Kovar plays in the KHL and holds an impressive 93.2 SVS% in 46 games played. However, his Olympic totals resulted to 20 minutes played, a 70 SVS% and 8.63 GAA, making him the statistically worst goaltender at the Sochi Olympics.
At Sochi Olympics, Kovar played the opening hockey game for the Czech Republic against Sweden. Despite his strong play during the season, he decided to demonstrate great sportsmanship in throwing the game in favor of Sweden, allowing the Swede’s to score three goals in the first period giving them a better chance of finishing first in the group stage and going for gold.
Defenseman: Alexander Bonsaksen (NOR)
Bonsaksen about to help Finland. Photo: Martin Rose/Getty Images.
The Norwegian defender plays for Vålerenga in the GET league and has had a great solid season with a +23 rating in 36 games played.
Bonsaksen has represented Norway since the 2004 season, providing veteran poise and leadership. The Norwegians are known to be helpful and considerate and Alexander demonstrated this by leading by example at Sochi Olympics. Norway were a long-shot from a medal at Sochi Olympics hockey, so in the spirit of the Olympics, he turned the puck over on multiple occasions to opposition players, giving them plenty of chances to score goals. If this was not enough, he also offered take silly penalties, which would give other teams a player advantage to score more goals. As a result of his efforts, Bonsaksen was the tournament leader in both penalty minutes and accumulated the worst rating at -8, but all for the greater good of world hockey.
Forward: Alexander Ovechkin (RUS)
Ovechkin congratulates Parise on win. Photo: Brian Snyder / Reuters
The Russian hockey superstar was the poster boy of the entire Sochi Olympics and Russia. He is a superstar by many standards and also leads the NHL in scoring with 32 goals.
However, despite his elite scoring ability (and demonstrating it in already 77 seconds into their first game), Alexander ‘The Great’ decided to, in the spirit of friendship and fair competition, show mercy to other teams by restraining himself and not to score any more goals for the rest of the tournament, giving other teams a fair chance to beat Russia.
Ovechkin demonstrated oft-cited Pierre de Coubertin’s statement that “The important thing is not to win, but to take part, epitomising the Olympic spirit”.
Honoroable mention: Vitalijs Pavlovs
Pavlovs on the ice. Photo: Screenshot / Getty Images.
The relatively unknown 24 year old Latvian forward plays in the KHL for Dinamo Riga, and is not considered a star player by any standard, but he grabbed the headlines due to his actions during Sochi Olympics.
Using the substance methylhexaneamine to boost his energy, he provided his underdog team with endless sacrifice, willpower and unimaginable work ethic in advancing all the way to the quarter finals, before just barely being beaten by Canada. In 5 games, Pavlovs assisted on one goal.
He showed that despite lacking in scoring skills or many other talent areas, an athlete could compete at the world’s highest level by taking shortcuts, demonstrating honesty and transparency, but most importantly adhere to 'fair play'. An ideal shared widely by the Russian Olympic organizers as they fulfilled Putin’s Olympics (link).
Writer: Thomas Koponen
Who do you think deserved* to be on our list?