Predicting Slovakia’s Olympic roster
Although Slovakia has never earned an Olympic medal in hockey since becoming an independent nation in 1993, the country’s national team has been building positive momentum in recent years.
This year’s team could be their best yet, with a number of NHL superstars mixed with some exciting young prospects. It comes at a price though, as many of the stars on this team will be years past their prime come 2018.
The Slovaks finished fourth in 2010, led by the likes of Marian Gaborik and Marian Hossa up front, Zdeno Chara on defense and Jaroslav Halak in goal. But Gaborik is 31, Hossa is 34 and Chara is 36, so this could be their last go-round in Olympic play.
The future looks bright at forward for Slovakia, with young, skilled guys Marko Dano, Tomas Jurco and Tomas Tatar. They could all see minutes for Slovakia during the games.
Slovakia’s players would love to earn a medal in memory of long-time national team star Pavol Demitra, who passed away in September of 2011, while a member of the KHL’s Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, when the team plane crashed shortly after takeoff. Demitra led all scorers with 10 points in the 2010 Olympics, his third appearance in the Olympics for Slovakia.
Slovakia won’t have the depth of Canada, Russia or Sweden, but they could surprise if the stars play their absolute best hockey and get some secondary scoring from the young guys.
Dano, Gaborik, Michael Handzus, Marcel Hossa, Marian Hossa, Jurco, Tomas Kopecky, Michel Miklil, Juraj Mikus, Richard Panik, Branko Radivojevic, Stefan Ruzcika, Miroslav Satan, Tatar
Chara, Dominik Granak, Milan Jurcina, Andrej Meszaros, Andrej Sekera, Martin Stajnoch, Jan Tabacek, Lubomir Visnovsky
Peter Budaj, Halak, Jaroslav Janus