It’s finally here. With the Olympics getting under way and the hockey starting soon, it’s time to roll out our preview of each team between now and puck drop. May the best team win.
The Slovenian national hockey team is currently ranked 17th overall by the IIHF. They have a single NHLer on their roster, they’re coached by Matjaž Kopitar (pff, of COURSE the coach’s son* made the team), and they did not qualify for the 2010 Winter Olympics. (*Note: I did specify coach’s son. Not sons. Sorry Gaspars.)
A, with Russia, Slovakia, and the United States of America.
|Anze Kopitar||Los Angeles Kings|
Anze Kopitar. Jan Mursak used to play in the NHL too. Oh, and also “Sabahudin Kovacevic,” if we stretch the definition of “biggest” to include “most characters.” (While we’re talking names, there’s two Rodmans. There’s a Prince. There’s a Music. There’s even a Rok Ticar, which sounds like a heart attack from partying too much. Awesome.)
Noooooo. No-ho-ho-ho. Not so much.
The majority of the players that pushed Slovenia into the Olympics aren’t NHLers. They aren’t KHLers. They aren’t even the type of players you’d find in the best Swiss or Swedish Leagues. They’re 2nd and 3rd division players who are now going to be tasked with reining in the Russians, Americans and Slovakians. Also…
There’s a goalie on Slovenia’s Olympic roster whose hockeydb page stops in 2010-11 in Italy’s second division.
— mc79hockey (@mc79hockey) February 4, 2014
It could be an unfun tournament for them, though just being there and being a part of it all is sort of the point. Here’s to hoping they don’t get embarrassed.
Route to the Olympics
Slovenia was not one of the top 9 countries in the IIHF rankings, so they needed to win theirqualifying group to book their ticket to Sochi. Their group included Belarus, Denmark and Ukraine. Slovenia qualified without their only marquee player, Anze Kopitar (he was playing in the NHL at the time), in emphatic fashion. They won all three games in regulation time en route to winning the group.
My prediction is predictable: 12th of 12. Hey, somebody’s gotta finish in that spot.
Times are GMT+4, (MSK – Moscow Standard Time)