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Olympic Hockey

Super Mario wants a gold for Canada.
Super Mario
Markus Naslund will be playing for Sweden.
Markus Naslund

Will Mario and Cujo be able to get by the tough Czechs of Jaromir and Dominik? Or will Peter the Great lead Sweden to the gold? Here's a look at who'll be shooting and scoring at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

The Tournament
The mens' tournament will have 14 teams who will play in three rounds: a preliminary round, a final round and the medal round. Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, Sweden and the USA have already qualified for the eight-team final round.

Rules
Olympic hockey has a few different rules from the NHL. The rink in Olympic hockey is about 13 feet wider so the games are more wide open. There's more end-to-end action but less hitting. Fighting in the Olympics gets a player kicked out of the game - not just a five minute penalty.

The Superstars
The hockey at the Olympics will be the best hockey you'll ever see. Each team is stacked with NHL superstars so you won't see any of those third line bums who can barely skate and have hands of stone. Here's a look at some of the stars that will be playing for the top teams:

Canada: Mario Lemieux, Paul Kariya, Joe Sakic, Eric Lindros, Curtis Joseph.
USA: Brett Hull, Mike Richter, Brian Leetch.
Czech Republic: Jaromir Jagr, Dominik Hasek, Patrik Elias.
Russia: Pavel Bure, Sergei Fedorov, Alexei Kovalev.
Sweden: Peter Forsberg, Mats Sundin, Markus Naslund.

Who's Gonna Win?
Each of the top teams have so many stars that it's tough to pick a favorite. Canada, the USA, Sweden and the Czech Republic should make up the final four. The Czechs are the defending champs and have the best forward and best goalie with Jaromir Jagr and Dominik Hasek. But Canada has the most depth and they're desperate to win a gold medal in hockey which they haven't done since 1952. Look for Canada to outcheck the Czechs and come out on top.

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    Who's Gonna Win Hockey Gold?

    • Canada.
    • USA.
    • The Czech Republic.
    • Sweden.

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