For the next week, Sean Wu previews the world’s top seven mens teams as they prepare their rosters for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Mock depth charts and past tourney records are among the features you’ll find these posts. In this edition: Team Slovakia.
As we draw closer to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi the dates draw closer, the topic of wherever the NHL will be sending their players to the Games will only intensify.
Like most people, I’ve always been a fan of watching the world’s top players face off in one of the biggest stages you’ll ever see. The Men’s Hockey Tourney in 2014 just is not the same if NHL-ers aren’t participating.
I’ll post one article about each team every day, until the 28th (3rd anniversary of Crosby’s golden goal), where you’ll find an extended report on Team Canada.
These posts assume that the NHL has already agreed to send its players to Sochi in 2014. Hope you enjoy them!
It’s hard to really pinpoint the potential of team Slovakia. They are a team this too talented to be considered a dark horse, but lack the depth of a serious contender.
The Slovaks have opened some eyes recently, such as winning a silver medal in last year’s IIHF World Tourney and even giving Canada a scare in the 2010 Olympics, finishing a record 4th place at the end.
If Slovakia wants to continue its success this season, they will have to rely on their no-nonsense defense. Andrej Meszaros and Milan Jurcina have plenty of NHL experience in shutting down the world’s top forwards.
But of course, Zdeno Chara will be the core of the defense corps, as he makes things happen on both ends of the ice. Jennings Trophy winner Jaroslav Halak will have to keep his winning form in order to keep Team Slovakia competitive.
On offense Marián Gáborík and Marián Hossa can inflict some serious damage, but after these two snipers it’ll be hard to find more goals. Slovakia will find strength in their power play as long as Luby Visnovsky stays healthy.
|Marian Hossa||Tomas Kopecky||Marian Gaborik|
|Mario Bliznak||Michal Handzus||Miroslav Satan|
|Martin Cibak||Tomas Tatar||Richard Panik|
|Stefan Ruzicka||Jozef Stumpel||Branko Radivojevic|
|Zdeno Chara||Lubomir Visnovsky||Jaroslav Halak|
|Andrej Sekera||Andrej Meszaros||Peter Budaj|
|Milan Jurcina||Ivan Baranka||Jaroslav Janus|
Martin Strbak, D; Marek Viedensky, D; Richard Panik, R; Jan Laco, G