Top Olympic hockey debates

Insider's hockey experts discuss snubs, medal picks, top players and more

Updated: February 5, 2014, 2:37 PM ET
By Neil Greenberg and Frank Provenzano |
ESPN Insider

Alex Ovechkin and Sidney CrosbyAP Photo/Bruce BennettRussia's Alex Ovechkin and Canada's Sidney Crosby may have another epic clash in Sochi.

With the first puck set to drop on Feb. 12 in the Olympic hockey tournament, we asked two of our writers -- Frank Provenzano, a former assistant GM in the NHL, and advanced hockey analytics expert Neil Greenberg -- to offer their thoughts on a variety of topics, such as the biggest Olympic snub, the teams that will benefit (or be damaged) the most from the Olympic break, and their picks for the medals and all-tournament team.

Which player is the biggest Olympic snub?

Frank Provenzano: Jiri Hudler, Calgary Flames

The native of Olomouc, Czech Republic leads the Flames with 42 points and has managed to be even in plus/minus thus far, no small feat on that club. The people in charge of constructing the Czech entry in the Sochi tournament opted to leave the forward in Calgary, instead opting for 42-year-old Petr Nedved, who is producing at the same offensive rate this season as Hudler.

The difference is that Nedved is putting up his offensive numbers for Liberec of the Czech League, which is to the NHL as a Kia is to a Mercedes. If Nedved had been named to the Czech team during his last season in the NHL (2006-07), he would have been unable to use his iPhone to announce the news on social media, because Apple didn't introduce iPhones to the world until the following June. In any event, Nedved wouldn't have had much of a case that season, as he managed only two goals and 12 points and was a minus-25 in stints with Philadelphia and Edmonton.

Neil Greenberg: Dustin Byfuglien, Winnipeg Jets

Neil Greenberg is ESPN Insider's NHL analytics expert. His columns have appeared on the Washington Post website, and he is a regular guest on Sirius XM NHL Radio.