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.
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