Men's hockey at Winter Olympics brings familiar stars despite no NHL players

Posted at 6:12 AM, Feb 02, 2022

Stanley Cup winners

While the NHL didn't allow its season to be disrupted by letting players participate in the Winter Olympics, several big names who've claimed the league's top honors will suit up for the men's hockey tournament, and there are plenty of intriguing storylines ahead of the quest for gold.

Eric Staal looks to add to the Olympic gold he claimed with Team Canada at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. With over 1,000 points during his NHL career, including a Stanley Cup in 2016 with the Carolina Hurricanes, the 37-year-old Staal will captain the team.

Czech Republic forward David Krejci's Stanley Cup came in 2011 with the Boston Bruins and he's looking to win an Olympic medal for the first time. The Stanley Cup Playoffs standout twice led the NHL in plus/minus.

Like Staal, Finland winger Valteri Filppula has a medal from Vancouver 2010. The bronze joins his 2008 Stanley Cup Final triumph with the Detroit Red Wings.

Jieke Kailiaosi comes from hockey royalty

Jake Chelios has a very familiar name to hockey fans, but the Chicago-born son of NHL legend Chris Chelios is on the Team China roster as name Jieke Kailiaosi.

The American plays on the North American-heavy Team China roster, a group that's been playing together with HC Kunlun Red Star in Russia's KHL.

While the pandemic has brought on a bevy of challenges for the group, Chelios -- er, Kailiaosi -- doesn't consider it to be an arduous task.

"I’d call it more of an experience than a grind,” he said. “Now that I’m here, I don’t want to take it for granted and I’m very appreciative of the chance I’m given.”

Also on the team are former Colorado Avalanche hot shot Brandon Yip, NCAA product Spencer Foo (Union College), and goaltender Jeremy Smith, who started for Team USA at the 2008 World Junior Championships.

Admired coach, former Sabres star Craig Ramsay leads Slovakia

No, not a player, but he's one of the game's ultimate competitors and ambassadors.

While there are a number of recent Buffalo Sabres on the list, one of the team's all-time heroes is coaching Slovakia at the Winter Olympics.

Craig Ramsay, 70, was a one-team man during his playing days for the Buffalo Sabres in 1,070 games where he compiled 672 points.

Less than 400 players have played 1,000 or more games in the NHL and Ramsay won the Selke Trophy as the league's best defensive forward in 1985.

Incredibly, Ramsay played two seasons in which he didn't take a single penalty (1971-72 and 1973-74).

As a head coach he led the Philadelphia Flyers to the 1997-98 Eastern Conference finals and won the 2014 Stanley Cup as an assistant with the Tampa Bay Lightning.