For previous medal winners, history, Olympic rules, and more, see the Olympic Hockey Guide.
Most observers expect that NHL players will represent their countries at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. So who will be called on to turn 2010 silver into 2014 gold for the United States?
* indicates a player returning from Team USA 2010.
*Zach Parise, Minnesota Wild
*Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks
*Dustin Brown, Los Angeles Kings
*Joe Pavelski, San Jose Sharks
*David Backes, St. Louis Blues
*Ryan Kesler, Vancouver Canucks
*Bobby Ryan, Anaheim Ducks
*Ryan Callahan, New York Rangers
T.J. Oshie, St. Louis Blues
Jason Pominville, Buffalo Sabres
Max Pacioretty, Montreal Canadiens
*Phil Kessel, Toronto Maple Leafs
Brandon Dubinsky, Columbus Blue Jackets
Most of these spots look secure at the moment. Pacioretty has to prove last season wasn't a one-off, and Dubinsky is not a lock.
Kessel's recent cold streak is alarming. But you can't leave a sniper of his quality off the team in a tournament where so much can ride on one shot.
Derek Stepan (Rangers), James van Riemsdyk (Leafs), and Paul Stastny (Avalanche, and a member of the 2010 team) could push for roster spots in the months to come.
Brian Gionta (Canadiens) and Ryan Malone (Lightning) are available if management wants more of a veteran presence.
*Ryan Suter, Minnesota Wild
Kevin Shattenkirk, St. Louis Blues
Keith Yandle, Phoenix Coyotes
Dustin Byfuglien, Winnipeg Jets
*Brooks Orpik, Pittsburgh Penguins
Matt Carle, Tampa Bay Lightning
*Jack Johnson, Columbus Blue Jackets
Plenty of turnover from four years ago. If the 2014 Games were held in a North American city, this unit might need more size and toughness. But the mobility of guys like Carle is a great asset on the larger European ice.
Another man who fits the speed-and-skill model is Washington's John Carlson. Let's see how he develops between now and December.
Erik Johnson (Avalanche), Paul Martin (Penguins), and Zach Bogosian (Jets) would be next in line.
Tom Gilbert (Oilers), Nick Leddy (Blackhawks), Tim Gleason (Hurricanes), James Wisniewski (Blue Jackets), and Andy Greene (Devils), are at least on the radar. Competition for spots could get very interesting.
Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings
Ryan Miller, Buffalo Sabres
Jimmy Howard, Detroit Red Wings
A big strength position. If either Quick or Miller shows up at the top of his game, the USA is a gold medal contender. The Americans very nearly rode Miller's stellar performance to gold in 2010.
Cory Schneider (Canucks) gets plenty of attention as the man who stole Roberto Luongo's job. But as of this writing he's still trying to establish himself as Vancouver's number-one. Let's see him handle a steady schedule of NHL games before throwing him onto the Olympic stage.
The most likely challenger to the trio is Ottawa's Craig Anderson, who has looked very good since joining the Senators in 2011.