Men's Olympic Hockey Preview - Slovakia

December 29, 2009


Olympic Appearances: 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006
Best Finish: 5th (2006)
Total Medals Won: 0
Pool: Russia, Czech Republic, Latvia

Slovakia is an interesting study. Considered one of the '7 Hockey Powers', there is no denying that the Slovaks are a talented team. However, they have to still be considered to be well back of the 'elite' teams such as Canada, Russia and Sweden. Could the Slovaks surprise and win a medal? Sure...but its far more likely they'll play the role of a middle of the pack team, and bow out in the quarterfinals.

Historically, Slovakia has ranged from 5th to 13th place over their four Olympic Apperances. I'd expect them to come closer to the upper end of that range this time around. Their pool game against the Czech Republic should be a good one for two reasons. First, obviously given the two countries united histories, and secondly, as it will probably determine who finishes behind Russia in their pool. Finishing 2nd in the pool might fetch you an easier qualification game (Norway, Latvia), whereas if you drop to 3rd, you're going to have to earn it against someone tougher (Finland, USA).

Jaroslav Halák (Montreal Canadiens/NHL)
Peter Budaj (Colorado Avalanche/NHL)
Rastislav Staňa (Severstaľ Čerepovec/KHL)

Zdeno Chara (Boston Bruins/NHL)
Milan Jurcina (Columbus Blue Jackets/NHL)
Richard Lintner (Dinamo Minsk/KHL)
Andrej Meszaros (Tampa Bay Lightning/NHL)
Andrej Sekera (Buffalo Sabres/NHL)
Lubomir Visnovsky (Edmonton Oilers/NHL)
Martin Strbak (HK MVD/KHL)


Lubos Bartecko (Bern/Svajc)
Branko Radivojevic (Spartak Moskva/KHL)
Martin Cibak (Spartak Moskva/KHL)
Pavol Demitra (Vancouver Canucks/NHL)
Marian Gaborik (New York Rangers/NHL)
Michal Handzus (Los Angeles Kings/NHL)
Marian Hossa (Chicago Blackhawks/NHL)
Marcel Hossa (Dinamo Riga/KHL)
Tomas Kopecky (Chicago Blackhawks/NHL)
Zigmund Palffy (HK 36 Skalica/SR)
Jozef Stumpel (Barys Astana/KHL)
Miroslav Satan (UFA)
Richard Zedník (Lokomotiv Jaroslavľ/KHL)

The first thing I notice when looking at the Slovak roster is the elite talent. Chara is probably the best defenceman on the planet today...Halak is one of the hottest goalies in the NHL...and Gaborik/Hossa are two elite snipers. This is a team that if it gets on a run, can be very dangerous.

The issue for the Slovaks is that, while they have the elite talent of other teams, they just don't have the depth of talent that a Canada or Russia has. Chara/Hossa can't play the whole game, and when they're off the ice, look for the elite teams to have the edge over the Slovak's 2nd/3rd/4th lines.

Also, love the 'nostalgia' picks of Palffy and Satan. What is this, 1999?

Linkback: Other Rosters


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This blog is the online chronicle of our adventures leading up to, and including, the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. We hope to give you a little insight into what went into planning our trip and a first hand look at the Games from the ground in Vancouver.

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