2010 Winter Olympics: Capitals Hopefuls

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With the Olympics barely two months away, let's take a look at which Caps can expect - and hope - to hear their names called when rosters are announced later this month:

Pack Your Bags

Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin (Russia)

Ovechkin has represented Russia in at least 80 international matches (including eight in the 2006 Turin Olympics), and Semin brings another 50 games of international experience to the table. The two were instrumental in Russia's gold medal win on Canadian soil in the 2008 IIHF World Championship, both finishing in the top six in the tourney in scoring. The only thing that can keep the pair from hunting for a loonie to dig out of the ice in Vancouver is injury.

Nicklas Backstrom (Sweden)

Only three Swedish NHLers have more points than Backstrom since the Caps pivot made his NHL debut, and he'll play an important role in Sweden's bid to repeat as Olympic champs.

Fairly Safe Bets

Milan Jurcina (Slovakia)

Jurcina's size and durability should make him an Olympian for the second time.

On the Bubble

Mike Green (Canada)

It doesn't get much more bubblicious than Green, whose defensive lapses may prove too much for Steve Yzerman to handle in a single elimination tournament, especially given other, safer puck-moving Canadian blueliners. Is a high-risk/high-reward pick a guy the Canadians are willing to put out on the ice before the home crowd?

Tomas Fleischmann (Czech Republic)

Flash was looking a lot better a few weeks ago and may be a bit one-dimensional for this type of team, but he's still got a shot at making the Czech squad - he's actually eighth among Czech NHL goal scorers over the past two seasons. Ales Hemsky's injury couldn't have hurt his chances either.

Semyon Varlamov (Russia)

Vladislav Tretiak said recently that "It will be difficult for Varlamov because Bryzgalov is playing unbelievable, Nabokov is playing unbelievable, it's a big competition. I told him today he has a chance, because three goalies will come to the Olympic Games." Tretiak also said that he expects his team to be a 50/50 mix of NHLers and KHLers. But if Russia was smart and looking ahead to Sochi in 2014 (as we know they are), they'd bring Varly along for the ride.

Long Shots

Michael Nylander (Sweden)

If Nylander were over in Russia right now lighting up the KHL, he'd have a chance to represent his country in Vancouver in February. Add one more regret to his 2009-10 season.

Oskar Osala (Finland)

Picking Osala would be a surprise pick, to be sure, but as far as long-term investments go, this could be one worth making for the Finns.

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