The NHL, the Players’ Association and the International Ice Hockey Federation have reached an agreement to allow the players to represent their countries in the up coming Winter Games. It will be the fifth Olympics featuring NHL players since they were first allowed to represent their countries in 1998. The NHL will interrupt its season from Feb. 9-26 for the tournament, which will take place from Feb. 12-23 in Sochi, Russia.

This will be one killer tournament for the gold in Russia. Unlike the NBA the NHL has a huge international make up so there won’t be a “Dream Team” to run over everyone. Canada may be the closest to a ‘Dream Team’ but the United States, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Russia and Finland are also full of NHL players and have won Olympic medals for their countries. I don’t think that any of these guys will lay down and let Canada just take home the gold.

Some NHL Stars, including Alex Ovechkin, have said they would go to Sochi regardless of NHL permission. Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis even said he would allow Ovechkin to go with or without the league's blessing. That is why this tournament is so bad ass it really means a lot to the players. These are highly competitive men that are the best in the world and will put on one killer show at the 2013 Winter Olympics in Russia.

Group B is made up of Canada, Austria, Finland and Norway.
Group A is made up of the United States, Russia, Slovakia and Slovenia,
Group C is made up of the Czech Republic, Sweden, Switzerland and Latvia.