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About Group A - 02-11-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

The following is a brief preview of the the men's teams in Group A of the Olympic tournament.

Note: Each player is listed with their team, league (with what country that league is based in) and statistics in previous Olympic, IIHF World Championships, World Cup and Canada Cup tournaments combined:


Russia

Previous Olympics: Sixth place - Vancouver, 2010.

Best Olympic Finish: Gold - 1992, Albertville (as Unified Team); 1988, Calgary; 1984, Sarajevo; 1976, Innsbruck; 1972, Sapporo; 1968, Grenoble; 1964, Innsbruck; 1956, Cortina d'Ampezzo (as Soviet Union).

Roster and career international statistics:

Forwards

No. Player Team (League) Games
Played
Goals-
Assists-
Points
8 Alex Ovechkin Washington Capitals (NHL) 70 35-21-56
10 Viktor Tikhonov CSKA Moscow (KHL) - -
11 Evgeni Malkin (above) Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL) 51 29-32-61
13 Pavel Datsyuk Detroit Red Wings (NHL) 61 17-28-45
15 Alexander Svitov Ak Bars Kazan (KHL - Russia) 15 1-2-3
24 Alexander Popov Avangard Omsk (KHL - Russia) 18 4-12-16
27 Alexei Tereshenko Ak Bars Kazan (KHL - Russia) 53 9-12-21
28 Alexander Semin Carolina Hurricanes (NHL) 43 15-19-34
41 Nikolai Kulemin Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL) 44 8-9-17
42 Artem Anisimov Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL) 17 1-3-4
43 Valeri Nichushkin Dallas Stars (NHL) - -
47 Alexander Radulov CSKA Moscow (KHL) 45 14-20-34
71 Ilya Kovalchuk SKA St. Petersburg (KHL - Russia) 96 39-49-88
91 Vladmir Tarasenko St. Louis Blues (NHL) 6 1-0-1

Defensemen

No. Player Team (League) Games
Played
Goals-
Assists-
Points
5 Ilya Nikulin Ak Bars Kazan (KHL - Russia) 74 10-21-31
6 Nikita Nikitin Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL) 10 0-4-4
26 Vyacheslav Voynov Los Angeles Kings (NHL) - -
51 Fedor Tyutin Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL) 35 0-8-8
74 Alexei Emelin Montreal Canadiens (NHL) 36 4-5-9
77 Anton Belov Edmonton Oilers (NHL) 8 1-3-4
79 Andrei Markov Montreal Canadiens (NHL) 49 6-22-28
82 Yevgeni Medvedev Ak Bars Kazan (KHL - Russia) 18 3-8-11

Goaltenders

No. Player Team (League) Games
Played
Record SV%
1 Semyon Varlamov Colorado Avalanche (NHL) 17 14-2 .930
30 Alexander Yeryomenko Dynamo Moscow (KHL) 12 10-1 .949
72 Sergei Bobrovsky Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL) - - -

Current or former Penguins: Malkin.

Olympic Medalists: Datsyuk (Bronze - Salt Lake City, 2002).

What we like about Russia: Skill. Arguably, no team in this tournament has a better collection of dazzling, high-end, filthy skill.

What we don't like about Russia: Pressure. Arguably, no team in the history of the Olympics has faced more pressure as the host nation. Once the most dominant hockey power on earth, Russia has not won a gold medal in the Olympics since 1992. With the tournament in Russia and being played on the larger IIHF rink, the demand for a return to glory will be intense.

EN's Prediction: Sixth place. We have doubts on how Russia will be able to defend some of the skilled forwards as well as its goaltending. Combine those issues with the pressure as mentioned above and it's a bad combination.


 Slovakia

Previous Olympics: Fourth place - Vancouver, 2010.

Best Olympic Finish: Fourth place - Vancouver, 2010.

Roster and career international statistics:

Forwards

No. Player Team (League) Games
Played
Goals-
Assists-
Points
13 Tomas Jurco Detroit Red Wings (NHL) - -
26 Michal Handzus Chicago Blackhawks (NHL) 47 11-22-33
28 Richard Panik Tampa Bay Lightning (NHL) 6 0-2-2
43 Tomas Surovy Dinamo Minsk (KHL - Russia) 49 7-10-17
61 Milan Bartovic Slovan Bratislava (KHL - Russia) 29 7-6-13
65 Tomas Marcinko HC Kosice (Tipsport - Slovakia) - -
67 Tomas Zaborsky Salavat Yulaev (KHL - Russia) 8 4-2-6
81 Marian Hossa (above) Chicago Blackhawks (NHL) 71 29-38-67
82 Tomas Kopecky Florida Panthers (NHL) 25 6-3-9
85 Peter Olvecky Slovan Bratislava (KHL) 13 1-1-2
88 Marcel Hossa Dinamo Riga (KHL - Russia) 45 7-11-18
90 Tomas Tatar Detroit Red Wings (NHL) 16 4-3-7
91 Michel Miklik Slovan Bratislava (KHL - Russia) 57 3-3-6
92 Branko Radivojevic Slovan Bratislava (KHL - Russia) 57 11-11-22

Defensemen

No. Player Team (League) Games
Played
Goals-
Assists-
Points
7 Ivan Baranka Avangard Omsk (KHL - Russia) 29 1-4-5
14 Andrej Meszaros Philadelphia Flyers (NHL) 21 0-3-3
19 Tomas Starosta Yugra Khanty-Mansiysk (KHL - Russia) 27 0-3-3
23 Rene Vydareny HK Hradec Kralov (ELH – Czech Republic) 40 3-1-4
33 Zdeno Chara Boston Bruins (NHL) 72 9-12-21
44 Andrej Sekera Carolina Hurricanes (NHL) 42 4-13-17
52 Martin Marincin Edmonton Oilers (NHL) - -
68 Milan Jurcina Gotteron (NLA - Switzerland) 41 3-7-10

Goaltender

No. Player Team (League) Games
Played
Record SV%
31 Peter Budaj Montreal Canadiens (NHL) 10 2-6 .915
41 Jaroslav Halak St. Louis Blues (NHL) 19 7-10 .903
50 Jan Laco Donbass Donetsk (KHL - Russia) 9 7-2 .924

Current or former Penguins: Marian Hossa; Surovy.

Olympic Medalists: None.

What we like about Slovakia: Experience. Slovakia will have 12 players returning from its 2010 team which pulled off a few upsets in Vancouver.

What we don't like about Russia: Experience. Slovakia is a pretty old team at an average age of 29.46 years, second only to the Czech Republic, 30.0.

EN's Prediction: Seventh place. Slovakia was able to make a surprising run in the 2010 Olympics primarily due to Halak. He's not nearly the same player he was four years ago.


Slovenia

Previous Olympics: First tournament. Previously competed as part of Yugoslavia in 1984 (Sarajevo).

Best Olympic Finish: 9th place - 1968, Grenoble (as part of Yugoslavia)

Roster and career international statistics:

Forwards

No. Player Team (League) Games
Played
Goals-
Assists-
Points
8 Ziga Jeglic ERC Ingolstadt (DEL - Germany) 13 2-3-5
9 Tomaz Razingar IF Troja-Ljungby (Allsvenskan - Sweden) 41 14-14-28
11 Anze Kopitar Los Angeles Kings (NHL) 17 7-7-14
12 David Rodman IK Oskarshamn (Allsvenskan - Sweden) 30 2-7-9
15 Ales Music Olimpija Ljubljana (EBEL - Austria) 11 0-2-2
19 Ziga Pance Bolzano Foxes (EBEL - Austria) 13 0-0-0
22 Marcel Rodman Schwenninger ERC (DEL - Germany); 42 9-12-21
24 Rok Ticar (above) Kölner Haie (DEL - Germany) 12 6-3-9
26 Jan Urbas Red Bull München (DEL - Germany) 7 2-0-2
39 Jan Mursak CSKA Moscow (KHL - Russia) - -
55 Robert Sabrolic ERC Ingolstadt (DEL - Germany) 13 3-4-7
71 Bostjan Golicic Briançon Diables Rouges
(Ligue Magnus - France)
13 2-1-3
91 Miha Verlic Olimpija Ljubljana (EBEL - Austria) - -
92 Anze Kuralt Epinal Dauphins (Ligue Magnus – France) - -

Defensemen

No. Player Team (League) Games
Played
Goals-
Assists-
Points
4 Andrelj Tavzelj Rouen Dragons (Ligue Magnus - France) 18 0-1-1
7 Klemen Pretnar VSV Villach (EBEL - Austria) 10 0-1-1
14 Matic Podlipnik Dukla Jihlava (1NHL - Czech Republic) - -
15 Blaz Gregorc HC Pardubice (EHL - Czech Republic) 13 0-5-5
17 Ziga Pavlin IF Troja-Ljungby (Allsvenskan - Sweden) 10 0-1-1
28 Ales Kranjc Kölner Haie (DEL - Germany) 30 5-4-9
51 Mitja Robar Krefeld Pinguine (DEL - Germany) 30 1-5-6
86 Sabahudin
Kovacevic
Sary-Arka Karaganda (VHL - Russia) 13 0-0-0

Goaltenders

No. Player Team (League) Games
Played
Record SV%
1 Andrej Hocevar Epinal Dauphins
(Ligue Magnus - France)
6 0-3 .869
33 Robert Kristan HK Nitra (Tipsport - Slovakia) 22 1-17 .894
40 Luka Gracnar Red Bull Salzburg (EBEL - Austria) 2 0-2 .924

Current or former Penguins: None.

Olympic Medalists: None.

What we like about Slovenia: Anze Kopitar. He's one of the best two-way forwards on the planet.

What we don't like about Slovenia: The rest of the roster. There's little resembling NHL-caliber talent beyond Kopitar.

EN's Prediction: 12th place. Just getting to the Olympics was Slovenia's gold medal.


 United States

Previous Olympics: Silver - Vancouver, 2010.

Best Olympic Finish: Gold - 1980, Lake Placid; 1960 Squaw Valley.

Roster and career international statistics:

Forwards

No. Player Team (League) Games
Played
Goals-
Assists-
Points
8 Joe Pavelski San Jose (NHL) 11 1-4-5
9 Zach Parise Minnesota Wild (NHL) 17 9-9-18
12 Derek Stepan New York Rangers (NHL) 7 2-5-7
17 Ryan Kesler Vancouver Canucks (NHL) 13 2-1-3
21 James van Riemsdyk Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL) 19 12-10-22
23 Dustin Brown Los Angeles Kings (NHL) 38 14-14-28
24 Ryan Callahan New York Rangers (NHL) 6 0-1-1
26 Paul Stastny Colorado Avalanche (NHL) 31 15-20-35
28 Blake Wheeler Winnipeg Jets (NHL) 7 2-3-5
42 David Backes St. Louis Blues (NHL) 28 1-2-3
67 Max Pacioretty Montreal Canadiens (NHL) 8 2-10-12
74 T.J. Oshie St. Louis Blues (NHL) 10 6-4-10
81 Phil Kessel Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL) 27 10-11-21
88 Patrick Kane (above) Chicago Blackhawks (NHL) 13 6-9-15

Defensemen

No. Player Team (League) Games
Played
Goals-
Assists-
Points
3 Cam Fowler Anaheim Ducks (NHL) 15 2-6-8
4 John Carlson Washington Capitals (NHL) - -
7 Paul Martin Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL) 17 1-8-9
20 Ryan Suter Minnesota Wild (NHL) 30 3-9-12
22 Kevin Shattenkirk St. Louis Blues (NHL) 7 1-2-3
44 Brooks Orpik Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL) 13 0-0-0
72 Justin Faulk Carolina Hurricanes (NHL) 18 4-10-14
77 Ryan McDonagh New York Rangers (NHL) 7 0-1-1

Goaltender

No. Player Team (League) Games
Played
Record SV%
32 Jonathan Quick Los Angeles Kings (NHL) - - -
35 Jimmy Howard Detroit Red Wings (NHL) 7 5-2 .911
39 Ryan Miller Buffalo Sabres (NHL) 14 NA .936

Current or former Penguins: Martin; Orpik; Dan Bylsma, head coach; Tony Granato, assistant coach; Ray Shero, assistant general manager.

Olympic Medalists: Backes, Brown, Callahan, Kane, Kesler, Kessel, Miller, Orpik, Parise, Paveslki, Quick, Stastny, Suter (Silver - Vancouver, 2010).

What we like about the United States: Depth. The United States has some of the best depth in this tournament at wing, defense and in net.

What we don't like about the United States: Center. The United States is a little light down the middle.

EN's Prediction: Silver. In a tournament like this, goaltending makes the difference. Assuming it's Miller or Quick in net, the United States will have a repeat performance from 2010.

(Photos:Malkin-Getty Images; Hossa-Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images; Ticar-Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images; Kane-Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

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