Belarus comes into the 2010 Olympics ranked 8th, the highest ranking this nation has ever had. Of course, they are still remembered for their miracle run in 2002 where they eventually fell to the powerful Russians in the bronze medal game after their miracle victory in the semi-finals over power house Sweden.
After that amazing finish they fell on hard times, doing as poorly as 18th just 2 years later in the World Championship tournament. The last 4 years have shown some promise as they have finished 6th, 11th, 9th & 8th just last year.
These Olympics they are going in looking to improve on the standings they have reached currently. They certainly realize another medal game isnt likely, but with 2002 still fresh in the minds of many, they will still try for another miracle run. They have a few NHLers scattered thru the line up, but they are not realistically going to be a huge threat to the top tier of teams again.
Andrei Mezin- MINSK DYNAMO (KHL)- The man behind the miracle 2002 run is still seen as the overwhelming #1 for this team.
Vitali Koval- MINSK DYNAMO (KHL)- A back up to Andrei in the KHL, Vitali will fill the same role here too.
Stepan Goryachevskikh- YUNOST MINSK (BELARUS)- Unlikely to get much if any playing time, he has been one of the better goalies in Belarus & is young enough that the experience of being here will pay off for the country down the road when Mezin retires.
Ruslan Salei- COLORADO AVALANCHE (NHL) As the sole member of his teams defense core in the NHL, Ruslan will be expected to take on big time minutes.
Vladimir Denisov- MINSK DYNAMO (KHL)- Putting up decent numbers in the KHL this year after a reasonable year in the AHL last season.. Probably will get lots of PP time.
Sergei Kolosov- GRAND RAPID GRIFFINS (AHL) His year & 1/2 of AHL play is enough to give him a notable spot on this team.
Alexander Makritsky- MINSK DYNAMO (KHL)- If healthy, he is on the team. Only 3 GP so far this year though.
Viktor Kostyuchenok- MOSCOW SPARTAK (KHL). A trade this season has slowed his offensive game, but he should still be on this team in some role.
Dmitri Korobov- UNKNOWN (last in KHL). At 20 yrs old & 6'6, he should be a lock for the team...even though I cant find where he is playing this season if anywhere. Maybe in Belarusian league? Hard finding stats from there.
Alexander Riadinski- UNKNOWN. Probably in Belarus. Was on their World Championship team last year & played the most minutes of any of their dmen. This gives me reason to believe he'll be there for 2010.
Andrei Antonov- MINSK DYNAMO (KHL) By default of being in a major pro league, he will fill out the defense core.
Mikhail Grabovski- TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (NHL) The teams top offensive weapon will be expected to get along with his countrymen the Kostitsyn brothers, there is unfriendly feelings between them.
Andrei Kostitsyn- MONTREAL CANADIENS (NHL) Having a slight downturn offensively this year, Andrei will still be expected to take top line ice time.
Sergei Kostitsyn- MONTREAL CANADIENS (NHL) Where Andrei is, Sergei will be there too. Whether its supporting Grabovski, or on their own line is still to be answered.
Konstantin Koltsov- UFA SALAVAT YUALYEV (KHL)- A very good 2 way player will be expected to be a leader for the team & probably will be out there in all situations.
Alexei Kalyuzhny- MOSCOW DYNAMO (KHL)- Will likely be on the 2nd line. Just a question of with who.
Oleg Antonenko- MINSK DYNAMO (KHL)- a trade this season has possibly hindered his chances some, but even at 38, he is still producing decent enough numbers to see a spot on the team in one of the top 3 lines.
Alexei Ugarov- BALASHIKHA MVD HC (KHL)- Will be a suitable 3rd liner who can take 2nd line minutes if needed.
Sergei Demagin- NIZHNEKAMSK NEFTEKHIMIK (KHL). An early season trade away from Minsk has lit a fire under him. Gone from 1 pt in 7 GP to 19 pts in 23 GP since the trade.
Dmitry Meleshko- MINSK DYNAMO (KHL) First full year in Minsk is showing that he can produce offensively. Defensive game will be what they will probably require of him here though.
Dmitry Dudik- MINSK DYNAMO (KHL)- Has taken his role as a 3rd liner well, and will be expected such duties on this team will be within his capabilities.
Roman Voloshenko- UNKNOWN. A once promising top NHL prospect, Roman has quite literally fallen off the major hockey map. I'm assuming hes in Belarus, but not sure. I cant find anything about him having any career ending injury. So I am assuming hes still playing. I am putting him here purely on the fact he was a capable AHL scorer only a few seasons ago. Could be off the team if is regression has actually been this severe.
Sergei Zadelenov- MINSK DYNAMO (KHL)- playing checking line role in Minsk means a good chance he'll get that call on this squad as well.
Yarloslav Chupris- MINSK DYNAMO (KHL) Top scorer on Minsk last season has TWO whole points this year. Might make team based on last seasons performance.
maybes- Ivan Usenko, Aleksandr Zhurik, Andrei Mikhalev, Sergei Drozd, Sergei Kukushkin, Evgeny Kurilin.
Switzerland comes in ranked 7th by the IIHF & will look to repeat or improve on their 6th place finish last Olympics. The best result the nation has had in a major hockey tournament since 1998 World Championships when they managed an impressive 4th place finish.
When it comes to goaltending, they have a capable team of NHLers & former NHLers. They come with a top end defenseman for their power play unit, but after that, they will rely on a variety of fringe players to provide offense. This is a team who will rely on stealing low scoring games to get anywhere.
Jonas Hiller- ANAHEIM DUCKS (NHL) Jonas had stiff competition from former NHLer Martin Gerber for the starting job, but Martin suffered a recent season ending injury, paving the way for Jonas as the uncontested starter.
Tobias Stephan- SERVETTE GENEVE (SWISS) If Jonas should stumble, another former NHLer will fill the spot. Likely Tobias Stephan.
David Aebischer- LUGANO (SWISS) Despite a so-so year in Switzerland, David is a competent back up goaltender who could fill in if asked & has loads of experience on NHL ice.
Mark Streit- NEW YORK ISLADNERS (NHL) Probably the teams only legitimate offensive weapon on defense, mark will be the QB of any PP chances the team has.
Yannick Weber- HAMILTON BULLDOGS (AHL) With a couple recent dabbles in the NHL, Yannick has cemented himself on this team as the probable #2 dman.
Roman Josi- BERN (SWISS) Roman is a 2nd round NHL pick froma couple years ago who has had a decent career in Switzerland & will be expected to put in top 4 minutes.
Julien Vauclair- LUGANO (SWISS) Julien comes in as one of Switzerlands top scoring defensemen. He will be required to do a similar role here, likely QB of the 2nd unit PP squad.
Tim Ramholt- DAVOS (SWISS) On his 10th team in 7 seasons, former 1 game NHLer Tim Ramholdt will get considerable time as a #5-6 defenseman.
Severin Blindenbacher- FARJESTADS BK KARLSBAD (SEL) After a decent career in Switzerland, Severin has taken to Sweden & done decently. Has a bit of offensive flair & could fill in top 4 minutes if called upon.
Timo Helbling- LUGANO (SWISS) A couple nibbles in the NHL wasnt enough for Timo, so he came home to Switzerland & will more than likely fill out the teams defense unit.
Andreas Ambuhl- HARTFORD WOLFPACK (AHL) Only player in North America of note has a lock on this team & probable top line minutes.
Martin Pluss- BERN (SWISS)- One of the Swiss leagues top scorers, he is going to be expected to try & fill a scoring position.
Thomas Deruns- SERVETTE GENEVE (SWISS) The top scoring Swiss player this year will be expected to perform offensive miracles here.
Ryan Gardner- ZURICH (SWISS) Swiss top scorer last season will be looked upon to recreate some of his magic.
Paul DiPietro- ZUG (SWISS) A long time member of the Swiss team, former NHLer DiPietro will be relied on to fill any spots required of him.
Ivo Ruthemann- BERN (SWISS)- Top Swiss goal scorer in Switzerland currently. May make 1st line, but likely 2nd liner.
Roman Wick- KLOTEN (SWISS) One of last years top playoff scorer will be expected to try & find that form here as well. Expect 2nd or 3rd line duties.
Reto Von Arx- DAVOS (SWISS) Former NHLer lead the playoffs in scoring last year. Has offensive touch, will probably be asked to play a 2 way game here as a 3rd liner though.
Michael Riesen- RAPPERSWIL-JONA (SWISS) A former NHL top prospect has made a decent career in Switzerland as a scorer. They will look for him to do that & more here.
Julien Sprunger- FRIBOURG GOTTERON (SWISS) Has offensive skills, but its a defensive game they will expect from him here as a checker.
Sandy Jeannin- FRIBOURG GOTTERON (SWISS) Top scorer in the Swiss league. Might get bumped to 4th line duties or even press box, but should be on team.
Thomas Ziegler- BERN (SWISS) Fomer NHLer for a week, Thomas has put together a decent career in the Swiss league & will be one of their more needed checking forwards.
Adrian Wichser- ZURICH (SWISS) Probably will sit in the press box unless a scorer benched or injured. Great passer who is still trying to repeat what he had 2 seasons ago with near an assist a game average.
maybe- Goran Bezina, Raffaele Sannitz.
Slovakia comes into 2010 ranked 9th. Just 6 years ago they were ranked 3rd. In 2002 they won the World Hockey championships and they medalled in 3 of the 4 championships from 2000 to 2003. But after that they have regressed quickly. Falling to an all time low of 13th just in 2008.
This team has a lot of NHLers & former NHLers making it up & on paper a casual hockey fan might see them as a good team still. The reality though is, they are top heavy on strong top end talent, and their bottom end talent, although having NHL fan familiar names scattered thru, arent at that level right now.
The Slovaks probably still have dreams of a medal round appearance, and truthfully, in a single knock out system, they have a narrow chance. A very narrow chance, but a chance still. Realistically though, they are probably aiming for a top 6 finish & pushing their world rankings up a bit.
Jaroslav Halak- MONTREAL CANADIENS (NHL) Possibly the best goalie the Habs have will get his chance to shine in Vancouver & will very likely give this team a chance every night to win.
Peter Budaj- COLORADO AVALANCHE (NHL) Might get a start or two against the weaker teams, Peter will be the unchallenged back up most likely.
Rastislav Stana- CHEREPOVETS SEVERSTAL (KHL) He will be there waiting eagerly to get a chance if 1 of the NHL goalies falters.
Zdeno Chara- BOSTON BRUINS (NHL) With a Norris Trophy for leagues top defenseman recently placed on his mantlepiece, Zdeno has no worries about making the team. His only worries will be about how he can carry his team to greater heights than people will expect of them.
Lubomir Visnovsky- EDMONTON OILERS (NHL) One of the NHLs top power play specialists, Lubomir will give Slovakia a powerful PP unit.
Andrej Meszaros- TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (NHL) A couple years ago Andrej looked poised to become an elite NHL defenseman. Since being traded hes settled in as an adequate defenseman. Still good enough to make this teams top 4 unit, this Olympics might be more important for Andrej whole career than just the Olympic team, as he looks to regain some of the flash he was developing early in his career.
Milan Jurcina- WASHINGTON CAPITALS (NHL) This 6'4 240 lb tough hitting dman will give the Slovaks a formidable force out there when Zdeno isnt out there.
Andrej Sekera- BUFFALO SABRES (NHL). Hes improved each season in the NHL so far. This tourney might go a long way into boosting his self confidence. Might battle Meszaros for top 4 minutes if he struggles.
Boris Valabik- ATLANTA THRASHERS (NHL). At 6'7, the Thrashers 2004 1st round pick is expected to be a Chara type player down the road. This tourney might give the Atlanta brass some insight into if hes developing that way.
Martin Strbak- BALASHIKHA MVD HC (KHL) Martin is having a decent year in Russia & is probably going to be the teams #7 dman.
Marian Hossa- CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS (NHL) Often considered the greatest forward from Slovakia, this year Marian has gotten off to a slow start because of injury, but still has a cemented place ont his team....barring more injuries.
Marian Gaborik- NEW YORK RANGERS (NHL) The often injured potential super star is finally having an injury free year so far, and is amongst the top scorers in the league. 1st line is a lock.
Marcel Hossa- RIGA DYNAMO (KHL) The leading scorer on his team, Marcel is making lots of noise to be the other top line piece for the national team.
Branko Radivojevic- MOSCOW SPARTAK (KHL) Like Marcel, top scorer on his team. branko will definitely be a 2nd line lock, if not first line.
Michal Handzus- LOS ANGELES KINGS (NHL) Michal will be expected to play a strong 2 way game on 2nd or 3rd line.
Marek Svatos- COLORADO AVALANCHE (NHL) Marek has regressed some in recent years, but is still a capable energy line type player.
Josef Vasicek- YAROSLAVL LOKOMOTIV (KHL) Having a solid year in Russia. Probable top 2 line player, at worst 3rd line.
Josef Stumpel- ASTANA BARYS (KHL). Having a solid year offensively. Should contribute decent 3rd line minutes.
Zigmund Palffy- SKALICA HK 36 (SLOVAKIA)- The leagues top scorer will make the team, but will likely pull in only 3rd line minutes. But with the talent he possesses, he could be pushed into a top line spot if needed & likely adjust quickly.
Tomas Kopecky- CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS (NHL) Is not having a very productive year in Chitown, but will still make the team
Richard Zednik- YAROSLAVL LOKOMOTIV (KHL)- 200 NHl goals, 700+ games will make him valuable for experience & will probably get in a few nights as a 3rd line or checking line player.
Stefan Ruzicka- MOSCOW SPARTAK (KHL)- Having a decent year in Russia. Will be most useful if he can play a checking game as they have far more qualified scorers.
Roman Kukumberg- TOLYATTI LADA (KHL)- Also having a decent season. Will also be more valuable for checking line status than scoring, but has scoring capabilities if called upon.
Maybes- Ivan Baranka, Peter Olvecky, Mario Bliznak, Tomas Tatar, Juraj Simek, Martin Cibak, Robert Petrovicky.
Latvia comes into the 2010 games ranked 10th by the IIHF. In the past decade they have been no higher than 9th, no lower than 11th. So, this is basically their standard ranking.
The days of a team that was carried solely on the shoulders of the diminutive Arturs Irbe are done. This team has a smattering of former, current & future NHLers. Just not enough that they are yet seen as a threat to the top tier of teams.
Edgars Masalskis- RIGA DYNAMO (KHL)- back up in Riga last season, will likely be the starter here.
Dmitrijs Zabotinskis- HK LIEPAJAS METALURGS (LATVIA). The goaltender for the Latvian champs last year seems like the probable 3rd goalie.
Sergejs Naumovs- RIGA DYNAMO (KHL)- At 40, Sergejs is a grizzled veteran & if able to go, likely will have a spot on the team.
Sandis Ozolinsh- RIGA DYNAMO (KHL)- Latvias all time leader in every major offensive category. Multi time NHL all-star & former Norris trophy finalist. He will be who the entire team looks to for guidance. There are questions about whether he wants to play for the National team however. If he does, hes here.
Karlis Skrastins- DALLAS STARS (KHL)- The only Latvian defenseman currently in the NHL. Karlis will be expected to work both defensive & offensive duties on his countries squad.
Guntis Galvins- RIGA DYNAMO (KHL)- The #2 man to Sandis on Riga, Guntis will get lots of ice time as a 2nd unit dman here, and possibly bigger minutes if hes partnered with Sandis.
Rodrigo Lavins- RIGA DYNAMO (KHL)- Adequate offensive skills & decent defense will put Rodrigo on the ice likely in various situations.
Georgijs Pujacs- NOVOSIBIRSK SIBER (KHL)- Someone that doesnt play for Riga or in the NHL? Say it isnt so. Yes Georgijs is doing it & with their top offensive dmen set, defensive dmen is giving Pujacs a spot on the team.
Arvids Rekis- WOLFSBURG GRIZZLY ADAMS (DEL)- Having a decent year in Germany, Arvids will do the unthinkable & make this mainly Latvian based team without the benefirt of playing in the top 2 leagues in the world.
Oskars Bartulis- PHILADELPHIA FLYERS (NHL)- On my original list I had him just as a "maybe" but after graduating to the big club I find it impossible to see him not on the team.
Krisjanis Redlihs- RIGA DYNAMO (KHL)- Kris will give this team adequate depth & will probably get a shot early in the tourney to show what he has. His experience in the AHL in the past might give him a chance to get more regular game action as teams look for guys who have played in a North American atmosphere.
Viktor Tikhonov- SAN ANTONIO RAMPAGE (AHL)- After a season in the NHL Viktor is back in the minors, but he will still be looked at as an offensive asset here.
Herbert Vasiljevs- KREFELD PENGUINS (DEL)- Former NHLer, Herbert has put together solid numbers in Germany for the past several seasons & will be required to show some of that offensive flair here too.
Janis Sprukts- RIGA DYNAMO (KHL)- Janis comes in with decent offensive numbers on his KHL team & will be looked at to fill that same role here in Vancouver for the Latvian National team.
Martins Karsums- NORFOLK ADMIRALS (AHL)- After a handful of NHL games last year, Martin is back in the A. But here, on the national team he will be seen as a toip 2 line forward.
Lauris Darzins- RIGA DYNAMO (KHL)- Expect a 2nd/3rd line role from this moderate scorer.
Aleksandrs Nizivijs- RIGA DYNAMO (KHL)- A decent 2nd line scoring option on his club team, he will be likely filling a similar role here.
Raitis Ivanans- LOS ANGELES KINGS (NHL)- A tough guy in the NHL, Raitis will be expected to be a defensive forward here.
Martins Cipulis- RIGA DYNAMO (KHL)- Will have the expectation of being a 2-way forward.
Mikelis Redlihs- RIGA DYNAMO (KHL)- Has picked up his offensive game this season. He will be likely looked at as a3rd liner here though.
Girts Ankipans- RIGA DYNAMO (KHL)- Will be a 2 way forward on this team.
Aigars Cipruss- RIGA DYNAMO (KHL)- not offensively skilled, but lots of experience. Will likely get checking line duties.
Armands Berzins- RIGA DYNAMO (KHL)- defensively minded forward.
Agris Saviels, Oļegs Sorokins, Kristaps Sotnieks, Alexzanders Jerofejevs,
Aleksejs Sirokovs, Viktors Blinovs, Roberts Jekimovs, Juris Stals, Guntis Dzerins.
From an irrelevant 21st in 2004 to 11th in 2009. Norway has been one of the fastest climbers in the world hockey rankings. While most rising hockey nations do it usually on the back of 1 or 2 star NHLers, Norway has not had that luck. Sure Ole Tollefsen is there, but his role is mainly fighter. Anders Myrvold dabbled in the NHL for a bit, but never really stuck. Patrick Thoresen & his career 106 NHL games is by far the teams most notable NHL player offensively still playing. The team wont have probably the most famous Norwegian hockey player, former NHL mainstay Espen Knutsen there as he has since retired from hockey.
This is the countries first voyage into the Olympics since 1994 where they finished 11th. The country has never done better than 8th. They wont be here looking to win a medal, they are looking here to simply improve on the inroads they have made in the world rankings lately & hope not to take any steps back.
Ruben Smith- STORHAMER DRAGOS (NORWAY)- The difference between Smith & Grotness is quite minimal when you look at their stats in their homeland of Norway. In international play Grotnes has generally had the edge as the starter. This might still be the case this Olympics, but these two are likely going to split the duties somewhat.
Pal Grotnes- STJERNEN HOCKEY (NORWAY)- For the past few years he has been Norways #1 goalie at international tournies. He may still be that these Olympics. At worst, he'll be the back up as the challenge for the 3rd spot is minimal.
Lars Haugen- LøRENSKOG IK (NORWAY)- With recent international 3rd stringer Lysenstoen, seeming to have taken a step back by going to a 2nd tier Finnish league, Haugen steps into the spot by almost default. There are a few Norse goalies in the Norwegian league, but Lars statistically is probably the best & has the most games played this season of them. Lysenstoen might get this spot if the team values his 2nd tier Finnish play over their own countries league.
Mats Trygg- COLOGNE SHARKS (DEL) Despite the NHLaccomplishments of Myrvold & Tollefsen, Mats is by many back home, considered Norways top defenseman.
Anders Myrvold- STJERNEN HOCKEY (NORWAY)- With Mats off in Germany, Anders Myrvold, a former NHLer for a bit, is generally considered the top Norwegian defeseman in Norway. Although offensively hes having an average year, he is still a lock to be in the top 4 on this team.
Ole Kristian Tollefsen- COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS (NHL)- By default of being in the NHL, despite his role not being an Olympic asset, Ole is a lock to make the team. This tournament could help him develop his game somewhat as he will be depended on to do other things beside be tough.
Jonas Holos- FARJESTADS BK KARLSBAD (SEL)- Having a decent year in a league that is above the Norwegian league makes Jonas nearly a lock for this team.
Tommy Jakobsen- LORENSKOG IK (NORWAY)- At 39 this is Tommys last run at international play. He has the most international games played for Norway. He has had a long & relatively successful career around Europe, mostly in Germany, but has finally come to Norway to play in the Norwegian league.
Alexander Bonsaksen- MODO (SEL)- After some time in Norway, Alex has moved up to the Swedish league & will probably get more of a chance as a number 6 dman than the others purely based on his higher league level of play.
Lars Erik Lund- VALERENGA ISHOCKEY (NORWAY)- One of the top scoring defensemen in Norway, Lars Erik is going to likely make the team, but his defensive stats might keep him off the permanant roster.
Lars L Ostli- STORHAMER DRAGONS (NORWAY)- The top scoring Norwegian defenseman this season. Offensively talented. Unsure about defensive game.
Patrick Thoresen- UFA SALAVAT UFAYEV (KHL)- The only Norwegian forward with any NHL experience currently, Patrick has been tearing up the KHL this season, with a more than a pt per game pace, he is becoming Norways most lethal weapon. Expect some offensive flair from this former NHLer.
Tore Vikingstad- HANNOVER SCORPIONS (DEL). Former German league scoring champion Tore Vikingstad is still doing it in the DEL. Leading his team in pts so far this season, Tore is an uncontested lock to be 1st line winger, whether its left or right.
Per-Age Skroder- MODO HOCKEY ORNSKOLDSVIK (SEL). Last years goals & points leader in the SEL, Per will be expected to contribute big offensive minutes with his season linemate & countryman Mats Zuccarello Aasen.
Mats Zuccarello Aasen- MODO HOCKEY ORNSKOLDSVIK (SEL)- With Swede Nik Sundstrom out of the line up on Modo right now, Mats has shone. Taking the teams lead in points over from his countryman & linemate Per Age Skroder. These two will be expected to perform the same magic for their country in Vancouver.
Morten Ask- NUEREMBERG THOMAS SABO ICE TIGERS (DEL). With a bit of an offensive flair & a tough streak, Morten will be likely expected to play hard on both ends of the ice & likely will be able to do it.
Eirik Skadsdammen- STORHAMAR DRAGONS (NORWAY). Last season Eirik started showing an offensive touch. This year he has continued that upward climb, making his way into the top 10 scorers in the Norwegian league. Peaking at the right time.
Mads Hansen- BRYNAS IF GAVLE (SEL). Mads will get a fair bit of checking line time. Has some offensive flair as well, but he wont be getting a lot of ice time to show it.
Lars Erik Spets- VALERENGA ISHOCKEY (NORWAY)- The Spets brothers might be offensive stars in the Norwegian league, but they will get on the Olympic team if they can play defensively as well. Their +16 & +25 this season suggest they can.
Knut Henrik Spets- VALERENGA ISHOCKEY (NORWAY)- He will be along for the ride with Lars.
Mathis Olimb- VASTRA FROLUNDA HC GOTENBORG (SEL). Having a good year in Sweden. Has improved each season since leaving North Americas junior hockey circiut.
Pal Johnsen- STORHAMAR DRAGONS (NORWAY). League leader in assists, 2nd in pts. Pal has done everything he can to get noticed for the team. With lots of offense from players playing abroad he might have some challenges getting quality minutes, but he'll be there.
Martin Roymark- VASTRA FROLUNDA HC GOTENBORG (SEL)- Will be expected to contribute defensively.
Anders Bastiansen- FARJESTADS BK KARLSBAD (SEL)- Likely wont see a lot of minutes, but will be expected to play a sound defensive game when he is in.
maybes- Andre Lysenstoen, Christopher Henriksen, Jonas Solberg Andersen, Marius Holtet, Anders Fredriksen, Peter Lorentzen, Kristian Forsberg, Joakim Eidsæther.
This is the first roster I put together.
Let me just say, lots of hours of studying were put into these.
I encountered several problems over the course of this, mainly, trying to find stats & news on a couple smaller european leauges. One countries league I never even found an English translation for, so I might be thrown a curve ball or two for them, since they could have a player or two lighting up the league I dont know about.
Another problem was with the upper echelon teams, theres just too many to choose from. Narrowing a potential list of 25 forwards down to 13-14 is harder than it seems.
In any case, here is the first of 12 prospective rosters I have compiled.
The German 2010 Olympic team.
Germany comes into the 2010 Winter Olympics as the lowest ranked team in the tournament by the International Ice Hockey Federation. 12th ranked in the world.
Personally, I take them more seriously than that. I think top 10, maybe even if they have a great tournament, top 8. I mean they have no less than 12 players on the potential roster that have played in the NHL in the past few years.
They certainly arent a power house, but they have more NHL quality players than a few teams ahead of them. That has to make the German team & head coach Uwe Krupp feel they have a chance to upset a bit & make inroads into getting back into the top 10 ranked nations. They arent likely going in thinking medals, but they might be thinking of knocking off the lower ranked countries & show they arent an after thought.
So I give you, my first crack at trying to predict the Olympic rosters of the 2010 competing nations in mens hockey.
Thomas Greiss- SAN JOSE SHARKS (NHL). Thomas might be a back up to one of the NHLs top goalies, but dont be fooled. he is still a capable NHL goalie. Hes no Kolzig, but he is certainly the best of the batch. He will give them a fighting chance to compete every game.
Dmitrij Kotschnew- MOSCOW SPARTAK (KHL). The KHL has quickly become known as the 2nd best league in the world & Dkitrij has put up respectable numbers there. He could contend for the starting job if Thomas stumbles.
Dimitri Patzold- INGOLSTADT ISC (DEL). Just 2 seasons ago Dimitri was actually fighting with Thomas for the back up job for the Sharks. He clearly didnt get it. But it shows his ability level isnt terrible. He will likely be the 3rd goalie.
Christian Ehrhoff- VANCOUVER CANUCKS (NHL). Christian is without debate, the top defenseman the German team has. As an NHL team PP qb he has cemented himself as this teams top d-man unit uncontested.
Dennis Seidenberg- FLORIDA PANTHERS (NHL). Dennis has taken a few years to develop into a top end defenseman in the NHL, and now that he has he will be unquestionably expected to take top minutes for the national team.
Sven Buetenschon- MANNHEIM EAGLES (DEL). Sven was ain the NHL only a few seasons ago. Since then he has gone back home & has done quite well there as well. On his house team he is seen as a defensive defenseman, but his 15 goals in the AHL 3 seasons ago says he can play an offensive game too.
Christoph Schubert- ATLANTA THRASHERS (NHL). Since 25 pts just 3 seasons ago he has regressed offensively each season. Defensively his game has gotten moderately better. A capable 2nd unit defender for this team, he will still likely get lots of time on the ice in all situations.
Alexander Sulzer- MILWAUKEE ADMIRALS (AHL). Alexander has showed enough promise in the Nashville Predators system to have garnered a few games this season with the big club. That experience, along with his strong AHL play gives him the edge for the #5 spot.
Sascha Goc- HANNOVER SCORPIONS (DEL). Sasha hasnt been in the NHL in quite a few years, but his 24 goals last season in the DEL was far & away the leagues msot by a dman. He'll get plenty of minutes probably lots of PP time thanks to his penchant for shooting the puck.
Korbinian Holzer- DEG METRO STARS (DEL). Korbinian has really come on in the past season. Last year he was barely noticed as an Olympic hopeful, this year however...he is now 2nd to Sasha in the DEL in pts by a German defenseman.
Andy Reiss- HANNOVER SCORPIONS (DEL). At 5'11 & 169 lbs he certainly isnt going to intimidate a lot of the NHL level players of this tourney. But he has managed to find a way to make his playing style work for him. A moderate offensive touch & decent defensive skills makes him a probable to take the last spot on the roster.
Marco Sturm- BOSTON BRUINS (NHL). Germanys top offensive weapon, Sturm will be looked at to carry a large chunk of the offensive load. With 6, 20 goal seasons in the NHL on his resume, his offensive touch will be vitally needed for them to have any success.
Jochen Hecht- BUFFALO SABRES (NHL). After Marco, Jochen will be looked at to fill the net. Only 2 seasons ago he scored 20 goals, and has had 50+ pts 3 times in his NHL career. This year he is struggling, but with few options available, they will rely on him to do whatever he can.
Marcel Goc- NASHVILLE PREDATORS (NHL). An NHL regular, Goc has had limited success with his offensive game. But he has managed to stick in the NHL with a keen defensive style that has compensated for his struggles offensively. He will likely still get pushed into an offensive role here at times, but his overall game will be his strongpoint.
Philipp Gogulla- PORTLAND PIRATES (AHL). In his first year of North American hockey, Philipp has put up adequate numbers. His limited time in N.A. gives him an inside edge on getting top 6 minutes on the team. Dont expect a lot offensively from him.
Thomas Greilinger- INGOLSTADT ERC (DEL). This seasons current leading scorer in the DEL is a lock for the team. His league leading 19 goals will be looked upon to prop up the teams offense past the NHL playrers.
Robert Hock- ISERLOHN ROOSTERS (DEL). Probably the oldest guy on the team, Robert has had a strong season this year, 4th in the entire league in pts, and 1st in assists by a German player. Despite being 37 yrs old by the time the Olympics start.
Michael Wolf- ISERLOHN ROOSTERS (DEL). Hock sets them up, Wolf buries them. Currently 4th in the league in goals, and 1st in PP goals, Wolf will be looked at to compliment Robert Hock, especially on the PP.
Marcel Müller- COLOGNE SHARKS (DEL). At only 21, Marcel is pushing his way into the team quickly. He might lose his spot if they opt to go with more experience, or if the currently injured teammate Christoph Ullmann comes back. But for now, I think he has a shot to be here.
Dusan Frosch- COLOGNE SHARKS (DEL). Putting up respectable stats offensively, the short speedy Frosch will be expected to use his speed to generate offense for the team.
Eduard Lewandowski- MOSCOW SPARTAK (KHL). Has shown some offensive flair in the KHL. Shouldnt have too much trouble making this team.
John Tripp- HAMBURG FREEZERS (DEL). Former 2 time drafted NHLer John Tripp now calls Germany his home & is eligible for their team. His deep experience & still respectable stats at his age make him a near lock for the team.
Daniel Kreutzer- DEG METRO STARS (DEL). Solid offensive numbers & his strong playoffs last season make Daniel a likely candidate for the team.
Manuel Klinge- KASSEL HUSKIES (DEL), As one of the few German snipers there are out there, he probably has a fair shot at this team. Only thing that could hold him back is his mediocre defensive play depending how defensive minded they want their forward unit to be. For now, hes making my roster.
maybes- Stefan Ustorf, Andre Rankel, Yannic Seidenberg Thomas Holzmann, Christoph Ullmann, Robert Dietrich, Denis Reul, Alexander Barta, Florian Busch. Felix Schutz.
Since the arrival of Joe Thornton a few years ago, this team has often had a miserable signing team stigma to it. Even with great signers liek Jeremy Roenick on the team, less willing signers like Thornton, Cheechoo & others has made them a team we often begrudged having come here.
This year, its a new attitude. Even Joe Thornton was great. We came to the conclussion, maybe its Jonathan Cheechoo that brought the bad vibes?
In any case, long live the new Sharks attitude.
EVGENI NABOKOV- 1 autograph. I missed the practice they had the day before, where he signed considerably more. But even the game day skate he was a willing signer of 1 each.
THOMAS GREISS- 0 autographs. I had no items, but I did watch him sign several per person for those who had items.
DAN BOYLE- 1 autograph. Coulda got more, but to have gotten him the first time would have meant missing Heatley.
ROB BLAKE- 2 autographs. Doing multiple items again. This was something he had refrained from doing the past couple seasons. Good to see the old Blake back.
MARC EDOUARD VLASIC- 3 autographs. Willing signer of multiples.
DEREK JOSLIN- 0 autographs. had no items, Watched him sign whatever was asked of him.
JASON DEMERS, KENT HUSKINS, DOUGLAS MURRAY- no reports
JOE THORNTON- 2 autographs. Since early on his his days as a Bruin I dont think I have ever looped Joe Thornton....thill this trip. I was so stunned it happened I kept talking about it for the next hour or so. It was a shocker for a guy who over his time in SJ has signed less autographs at the rink than there are fingers on your hand...aka, less than 1 total autograph per trip.
DANY HEATLEY- 2 autographs. Willingly did 1 per, was hesitant to sign jersey numbers after the first few were presented to him though.
PATRICK MARLEAU- 2 autographs. Still one of the teams best signers.
RYANE CLOWE- 2 autographs. Still does multiples.
JOE PAVELSKI- 1 autograph. Formerly a less enthusiastic signer, Joe didnt seem put out to be doing it this time. New Sharks mentality?
DEVIN SETOGUCHI- 3 autographs. Did multiples, but his autograph has gotten even worse than the "D St" it was last year.
TORREY MITCHELL- 1 autograph. I got the raw end of the stick on him. He did multiples for everyone else, then was called away just as he got to me...so I only got 1.
BRAD STAUBITZ- 2 autographs. Did 2 without hesitation.
MANNY MALHOTRA, JED ORTMEYER, RYAN VESCE, JAMIE MCGINN, BEN FERRIERO, SCOTT NICHOL, JODY SHELLEY, FRAZER MCLAREN- no autograph reports.
Total autographs from San Jose- 22.
Canadagraphs Hockey Blogs
From time to time I have something to say on hockey. Whether its the Vancouver Canucks, NHL in general, Womens Hockey or International Hockey...if I have something to post, it will be in here.