After the Czech Republic surprises with its roster selections, Slovakia takes the safe, smart and simple route with its Olympics roster.
Unlike its neighbors in the Czech Republic, Slovakia makes no headlines for any head-scratching admissions or curious omissions to its roster. While the Czechs decided to go with their greybeards, the Slovaks didn’t overthink their Olympic plans.
Though more than half of the players on Slovakia’s roster is 30 or older, there are no 40-year-olds on the team and the veterans are peppered with young players, like Martin Marincin, Tomas Jurco, Richard Panik and Tomas Tatar, who are all in their early 20s. Every Slovak currently in the NHL (14) made the team and the rest, save for Tomas Marcinko who plays with HC Kosice in Slovakia, all come from the Kontinental League.
Possible snubs include Marko Dano, Milan Jurcina and Miroslav Satan, all of whom played for Slovakia at the 2013 World Championship. But there are at least reasonable reasons for leaving them off. (Still looking for one as to how Petr Nedved makes the Czech Republic roster ahead of Jiri Hudler, Tomas Fleischmann and Radim Vrbata.)
Dano, despite being a highly touted first-rounder of the Columbus Blue Jackets, only just turned 19 in November. Jurcina has the hulk (6-foot-4, 253 pounds) and the NHL pedigree (430 games), but his best days are behind him. Satan is now 39 and all but done in the KHL.
Slovakia is coming off its best performance at the Olympics, narrowly missing the bronze medal at the Vancouver Games in 2010. Marian Hossa lead that tournament in scoring with 10 points.
Zdeno Chara will lead Slovakia into Sochi. But if the Slovaks have any hope of medalling, they will have to get all-world goaltending from Jaroslav Halak circa the 2010 NHL playoffs when he took the Montreal Canadiens to the Eastern Conference final.
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||St. Louis (NHL)